This is draft of a little fiction project I am working on. Allthough some events are inspired by my own life they have been altered and are not excatly as experienced by me and some not at all. It is therefore purely fiction, written by me, all rights owned by me.
The previously on…
My name is Beth, although my legal name is Elisabeth Leigh Ryder used only by Mr. and Mrs. Ryder themselves. I had always done what was expected of me, I did everything right and from the outside looking in one could see I had a bright future ahead of me. Now, whether this was because I had strict overprotective parents or just high ambitions I don’t know anymore as it is not of any importance today. No matter the reason, I was raised in a world were getting a good education meant everything as it led to a good paying job, the big house and spoiled kids. I still believe that an education is important but for the same reasons. Since I never was a very social kid with twenty one friends I had a lot of time to work for those things. I spent my weekends studying for the next pop quiz, I spent my lunch break taking notes and getting a C on a paper would ruin my day. Now even though getting a semi good grade would upset me, I was not the smart girl. I was just the girl who worked a lot to achieve academically. That was off course until I met the great world of major depression.
At the time I didn’t realize I was depressed, it is something I have come to realize later in therapy which by the way has to be one of the most overused sentences of the decade. Now what we know is that most people who suffer from depression never seek help, and I was no different. I did what I did best, which was stay in school, my one ticket out. Isolation became big part of my day. My social life went from rare to nothing and every day became a test on how long I could stay smiling in a room before I had to leave. It was only a matter of time before it affected my school work. My attendance was perfect and my performance over average. However as the weeks went by I slowly lost interest for school, suddenly everything that had been important to me didn’t matter anymore. Study session turned into a big hollow numbness. I would lie down on the floor just staring up in the air for hours loosing track off all time. Off course I would always snap out of it, that’s when the anxiety came as I used my last hours cramping in what I had time for. Eventually I stopped showing up for school at all. Every morning was an ongoing struggle to get out of bed, and once I skipped one day I skipped two days. By the second quarter of my senior year I was a high school dropout. My parents never looked at me the same way again.
Elisabeth Wurtzel once said "Hemingway has his classic moment in "The Sun Also Rises" when someone asks Mike Campbell how he went bankrupt. All he can say is, "Gradually, then suddenly." That's how depression hits. You wake up one morning, afraid that you're gonna live."
That’s how it was for me every single day. The nights were the worst. I would stay up every night afraid to fall asleep. Spending hours awake. Because every time I closed my eyes it was decided. I had to wake up to another day.
After Christmas my mother set up an appointment with the family practitioner. After that it was pretty much up to me. After a ten minute conversation and some blood work he sent my case over to the district psychiatric center. After that I was sent home to wait for further notice.
Weeks passed and when nothing happened I was forced to move on with my life. I was no longer in school so that pressure was off. I got a job and took it all day by day. My little depression was never talked about at home as it was a more don’t ask don’t tell subject. And my mother’s belief was that I had imagined the whole thing in a plot to punish them for being so great to me. After a while I became really good at suppressing my problems, and as far as everybody else knew it had only been a phase. It became a new plan to go back to school in the fall and try it over again, except this time I would graduate.
It wasn’t until Christmas break I hit rock bottom. I was behind on school again and the depression had hit me harder than ever before. I slept right through Christmas and family dinners, but it wasn’t until new years after another meaningless fight with my mother I crashed down. To be honest it wasn’t just the fight, her words were really just the straw that broke the camel’s back. I spent three days in bed without food, barely drinking water. I had lost all touch with reality and any desire I had to live. Every day was filled with screams and cries, and threats. I had never seen so much hate in my entire life, and I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. My self-worth had never been lower.
On the third day I woke up as my brother carried me out and in to the living room. I wanted to stay; but I was to week to put up a fight. It was almost midnight and my mother had fallen asleep, so my brother and father used the opportunity to try and get some food in me. I didn’t even realize that we were three days in to a new year; id had started off so great. It wasn’t until I saw the turkey leftovers I started to wonder what day it was. Christmas morning? New years? It was like a vague dream that started to vaporize the more I thought about it. I was dehydrated and weak. After a few bites of food and many glasses of water I was finally allowed back in bed. I closed my eyes and fell back to sleep a Sunday night in January of 2010.
My mood didn’t fully recover and as the new semester was starting I was forced to turn to home schooling. We never talked about my incident just like we never talked about anything in my family. After a few weeks I finally got the courage to see my practitioner again, it had been a year since I was first in and I had relapsed. I had started to believe that I was supposed to be like this, and maybe my mother was right. I didn’t have depression, I was just lazy, someone who needed to grow up. If I really had a problem, wouldn’t anyone have noticed? Would I really have stayed a year waiting for something to happen?
I didn’t take long before I found out that I would have been waiting forever as I was never on any waiting list. They called it a technicality, my case has simply disappeared in the system. Pretty similar to what my life had been like so far. I was never going anywhere, because nobody even knew I existed. At that point all we could do was put me back on the waiting list, back at the bottom. I never did try to find out what happened there, I had already given up and my expectations were even lower this time than they were the year before. They say history repeats itself, for me that was almost true. I was simply relieving the previous year.
Things took a different turn when I received my first letter from the public psychiatric center. I was officially in the system. And I had been called in for a session with Doctor Eva Magnusen. The following weeks I saw Dr. Magnusen every Monday she had allot to say about me, in a way I had never heard anyone talk before. It didn’t take long before she diagnosed me with depression, general anxiety disorder and possibly suicidal. I wasn’t sure how I felt about being labeled by a mental health professional. I just never looked at myself that way just like the people around me didn’t. For the first time in my life, there was someone else trying to understand me more than I ever could by myself. Still, I felt this wall covering everything I wanted to say, and everything I needed to say. After going through 19 years of suppressed emotions I didn’t exactly pour my heart out on the first meeting. I felt like a big fake every time I entered that office and my biggest fear was that one day someone would pull me out and call me on it. That someone would expose me as a liar and an impostor. So I bit my teeth and stayed shut, not knowing how I could open up and move on. If only someone could really see me.