In light of recent events following the death of one of the world's favourite individuals Robin Williams, and following a journal entry written by my partner, Lyricanna
A time to talkAeirmid has started a conversation surrounding depression, suicide and mental health here .
I urge anyone who wants to answer the questions in that journal to do so. I urge anyone who has the time to at least read the journal and some of the responses.
The thing I value most out of all of human interaction is the stories that we share with one another; good, bad, happy, sad, scary, disturbing, relatable, unrelatable, sharing experiences is something that helps to bring people together. Conversation is a powerful tool. I am always thankful for the stories that people share with me. And now I want to share with you.
Before I do share my experiences, I also want to say that if any of you need someone to listen, hit me up in a note. I may not reply quickly, I may not have advice but I can at least be there to hear you. I want to be a member of team you for all of you that have come to watch me over the years. I ma
I feel that maybe my own experiences can contribute to a better, and brighter tomorrow.
Before I do begin, I would like to state that if anyone you know, or you are suffering from depression know that there is help in all forms. I am willing to lend an ear (or eye as it were) to anyone who needs someone to talk to. I am available by note, and after what I have said I hope in the end this helps an individual out there realize that they are not alone and they don't have to be alone. While I don't say much in my own journals, or I tend to rant here and there know that I will always make time for those who need it. This journal contains thoughts of suicide, depression, self-harm and sexual abuse. Please read at your own discretion.
So, here is how things came to be.
At age 3 my parents were on the brink of divorce. My father was abusive towards my mother, my brother (from a previous marriage) and then later on myself. He would physically abuse my mother, verbally and physically abuse my brother and then emotionally, mentally and verbally abuse me. There were cases where he would beat the family dog, and at that time Bandit (my king sheppard, doberman, wolf cross partner in crime, who I taught to 'skeap' instead of 'speak') would lash back for my own protection. The abuse would become so bad that at one point my brother threatened to end his own life. I remember watching and recording my parents' argument with a tape recorder - I was still this little 3 yr old kid who lived out in the boonies.
Things took a bit of a nose-dive when my mom remarried and we moved across town. I was 6 then, and in my head I couldn't comprehend divorce and why my parents hated each other. I never understood why my own father would get angry at me because I didn't have the perfect grades as a kid. I was not a bright kid, but my artistic side started to develop which would later become my coping method. The neighbourhood kids didn't like me because I was the youngest and always wanted to fit in. At school I made friends, but in the later years things would really hit the ground... My only solace would be seeing my grandmother (my dad's mom), and we would do everything together.
Little 6 year old me with my grandmother (and baby cousin)
At age 8 I was a victim of sexual abuse by two different girls. I didn't know kissing, or what any part of my body except for the basics. Sexual Education begins in grade 5, and I was only a little second grader. I remember one girl cornering me and start to press herself against me, and me not knowing what anything was went with it. The second girl was over at my house, and at some point in her visit she stripped herself of her clothes in my bedroom and gave herself a boy's name. She climbed on top of me in my bed and started what I could later describe as making out. I still had no knowledge of what was going on, I was suffering from horrible nightmares and my crippling fear of thunderstorms.
Age 9 I had completely cut off my hair, and puberty started to take off - which meant I was the only third grader girl with a chest at the time. My dad would mocking me by saying "My little boy", which wasn't good for a young girl's self image. I had problems keeping friends, and it was around this time (age 10) that I had became close friends with a girl named Cayla. That friend was what kept me going for the years to come, and I wish it would have stayed that way, but...
By age 13 I was a mess. My mental health had declined, my grades were terrible and I barely had any reason to keep going. "You have to" was the only response. I couldn't connect with anyone, friends were diminishing and I became too clingy to the remaining ones I had. I started using a belt to try to stop my breathing, overdose on sleeping pills and then began cutting. What I had discovered with cutting was that I could control this, only I had the power to know when to stop or continue. I was at the back of a classroom by the sink holding an exacto knife to my arms when a girl from a similar walk of life stopped me. That girl would later become my soul mate and the CV of Fanart on deviantART, her name is Rhys. From then on we were thick as thieves, and having her living right across the street from me helped. It didn't stop the pain completely, but I was distracted.
It was also at age 13 my grandmother (pictured above) died from breast and ovarian cancer. I stopped believing in religion, myself and in others. Her death really took a toll on me. I went through a full month of mourning; crying myself to sleep, wanting to join her and giving up. A connection of mine was severed. I had applied to the city's only integrated art school and in the end was rejected. My grades were shit, the teacher hated me for all the wrong reasons (my sister was a bad kid and because of this I was automatically labelled) and majority of the students thought I was a slut (having breasts makes it this, for some reason) and hated me. My only friend was the girl who stopped me.
In high school things did perk up. A fresh start and the ability to completely forget the past helped. I became the best of friends with a very talented artist who I still talk to, and see as an inspiration. All because of me drawing in class - "You like anime?" "Yeah?" "Me too!"
My grades were lifting a bit, but at the same time I was also struggling with my sexual identity. Rhys was one of my best friends, and the usual platonic love I felt was different. I was in love with her, and grew jealous whenever she was with someone else. I was 15 when we started dating. When I graduated from high school, I received an award for achieving marks over 80% in 5 of my classes. I was honour role. I was a graduate. I succeeded. But even throughout high school I would find myself in my own flooded with my own depression. My father stopped talking to me when I was 16, which broke my heart. I wanted my father in my life, but it seemed like he didn't want me.
I didn't go to college until I was about 21 and for the first time in my life I made the bold move to another city. I enrolled in Sheridan's Art Fundamentals program and lived with a very interesting
older woman. I was illegally living in her condo-apartment, paying for rent and my food would occasionally get stolen by either her or one of my room-mates. I couldn't make any calls that were long distance, and my depression and anxiety hit due to homesickness. I made friends, I was doing okay - nothing wrong, right? Wrong. I would never leave my bedroom unless it was for classes or the occasional get-together. Rhys would visit here and there, and sometimes I would go home. I graduated nonetheless, and moved to Haliburton to earn my diploma in Visual and Creative Arts.
By age 23 my depression was going un-treated. I was barely getting out of bed, hardly making myself food when Rhys was at work. I didn't want to interact with the sexist and prejudiced hick in the house. I didn't want to do anything. I threatened to jump off a bridge, I tried cutting myself, starving myself and became violent with the medication switches. I was admitted into the psychiatric ward at my hospital for a total of three days. I was diagnosed with severe depression, chronic anxiety and borderline personality disorder. Desperate for any kind of help and under the recommendation of my childhood friend, I joined her in a few sessions at a place called the Healing House. I became obsessed and constantly argued with Rhys with how it was changing me. We broke off/took a break from each other for at least a week because of it.
Things really took a hit when I bought a book called "The Dictionary of Demons". I expressed an interest in Demonology which was something that was always a part of my interest in the paranormal even as a little 8 yr old watching "Scariest Places on Earth" with my mom. My friend knew this, and decided to consult the head of the Healing House. At the same time I had begun questioning my beliefs and found the Christian religion to be too overwhelming for a place that "specialized" in "Celtic Healing", "Native American Healing" (this set me off now looking back, as I come from an Aboriginal background and take it rather seriously and with pride) and so on. I expressed my concerns to my friend in confidence that nothing would be relayed. I was wrong. Dead wrong. They freaked out on me, stating that I was no longer allowed back and had to pay a fee of $220. One woman even said that I was "toxic" and "not worth the help". Rhys and I were talking, but taking the relationship very slow and I was living with my mom for a while.
I was terrified. I didn't know what to do, and felt that my only way out was to end it all. I had nowhere to run, I felt cornered and the support I had from my then best friend was completely destroyed. My only way out way out in my mind was to completely annihilate myself from the world - after all, it would have been what they wanted, right? I had no experience with cults and without any other method I ran to my mother - which is apparently a huge taboo, I didn't know this. She helped me, thankfully. But it came with a price - I lost a best friend who I used to call a "sister". 14 years destroyed by a cult. I will only hope she finds herself again, because I know the girl I left behind wasn't her.
In May I moved to Kingston and started my internship at Fort Henry, which ended up being one of the best experiences of my life. I may not have gotten a job out of it, but it earned me a new skill set. Since September 2013, I have been receiving psychiatric care and to be honest it is the best move I have made. I know it can be hard to ask for help, especially when one might be ashamed to do so. I grew up thinking crying was a sign of weakness, now I see it as an emotional outlet. I still get depressed and anxious, I know I'll never be 100% cured. But it isn't about being completely "cured", it's about becoming a stronger person and knowing your support networks. We all have our bad days, I'm guilty of them. But what matters the most, or what can really save a life is talking. Communication helps. It can be hard, but it can start with just a "Hey, can we talk?" to "I really need your help". A text, a phone-call, a letter, a dA note. Anything. I know I'm not alone, and neither are you.
Mom and I during my graduation in Haliburton.