A Eulogy to The Life I Grew Out Of (TW)

by Steph   May 24, 2020

My first memory of depression
Takes me back to ten-years-old,
Attempting to write depressing poetry
In a pink composition notebook.
My father found it,
Concerned that his child was having
Such dark thoughts.
I was so angry at him.

The only time I attempted suicide
I was thirteen.
I overdosed on sleeping pills
Mixed with antipsychotics.
Samples given to my ill father.
It was an impulse decision.
I woke in the emergency room,
Half dreaming.
I had tried to hurt myself with a kitchen knife
But didn't even break skin.
This fact alone allowed my parents to take me home.

I saw a psychiatrist
who put me on Zoloft.
It made the depression worse-
Made the looming darkness stronger.

Later that year,
A friend explained to me how she self-harmed.
I went home and practically attacked my left arm.
I was addicted instantly.
I did it 97 times,
Fascinated by the rush.
This is a coping mechanism
That still lingers over 11 years later.

At fourteen I smoked my first cigarette,
Laying on my aunt's basement floor
Buzzing from the nicotine.
A child of two heavy smokers,
I poisoned myself for over ten years.

At fifteen I googled how to purge,
Spiraling myself into an eating disorder
I struggled with through high school,
where I spent a half hour after lunch
In the bathroom.

My first time in a psychiatric ward was the same year.
My family practitioner discovered the words
"fat" and "ugly" carved in large letters
On my abdomen.
I can still see the utter disgust
On my mother's face in my memory.
She kicked me out two weeks later.

By this point, I was seeing my
Sixth therapist.
I started at four-years-old.
I saw this therapist for over three years.

At seventeen I listened to my best friend
Explain to me how badly she wanted to die.
She set a date for that year, August 1st.
I still think about that night,
In the dark,
Trying to convince her of the world
And the life stretched out before her,
Despite my own previous haunting desires.
Today, she's married to the love of her life
With two children she adores.
I'm so grateful for what we've overcome since.

After highschool,
I followed my boyfriend to a college
I didn't want to go to.
I was too afraid of losing
Someone I was so dependant on.
I grew so miserable with him
And myself.
I was admitted to a state psychiatric ward
For suicidal intent on April 29th.
After stopping all classes in January,
Spending three months in bed.

While I was in the hospital,
My boyfriend, whom I'd grown to despise,
Told me "you being in the hospital is the
Happiest I've been. I dread when you call every day."
I didn't even mention him in my suicide note,
Which I never told him.
I begged him to stay with me still.
We lasted three more months.
I felt like the world had crumbled around me.

Two months later, at nineteen,
I began a long line of casual sex.
I lost count quickly.
This lead me to a man
Twelve years my senior,
Who broke up with me after 8 months;
More in love with his blackberry brandy
Than me.
I spiraled again.
And again.
And again.

I was twenty when I was finally diagnosed
With Bipolar Affective Disorder.
After the antidepressants weren't working
And I'd slept with too many men to count
And racked up thousands in debt
Like it was nothing.
I drove erratically,
Acted impulsively.
The feelings of mania
Soon watered down by the
Medication that likely has kept me alive.

Seven months after my diagnosis,
I was sexually assaulted.
This triggered the darkest period.
I thought I did everything after
"the right way".
The way they teach in highschool health class.
I went to the emergency room.
I pressed charges later that week.
I immediately started therapy.
Every day felt so much harder than the last.
I stayed alive to prove I could.
To avoid allowing that man to physically
Kill me.

Over a year after my assault,
I attended the (plea deal) sentencing
With only a victims advocate by my side.
He told the judge "Well, I guess I'm just sorry we all have to be here today."

He spent three months in country jail,
And fifteen years on the registry.
I don't regret it.
But I still hate him.
And I still fear him.
And I still experience PTSD
four years later.
I wonder when if it will every
Go away permanently.

At twenty-two
I received my nursing license
And met my future husband.
He took every ounce of my past
In understanding strides.
He's held me,
Picked up my medications,
Memorized the mood cycles
And potential triggers
Better than I ever could.

I was twenty-four before I finally
Lost the urge to die.
It took a terrifying car crash
To finally teach me
How much I had to live for.

This isn't meant to be a tale of pity,
Or sadness.
This is overcoming.
This is being able to depend on somebody
In a healthy relationship.
This is hurdling
Over hundreds of dark abysses
To land in a life I never knew I wanted-
I needed.

I lay in bed,
Where I still spend too much time,
Laying next to my two dogs,
My husband in the next room

He loves me for every aspect
Of this haunting, debilitating disorder
Never questions my behaviors beyond a
"did you take your medication today"
Which is typically a "no" if he asks.

I will never find the words
To tell him how grateful I am
For his love
His support.

The beautiful life
He's gifted me with
Without ever once
Questioning my past.

The darkness feels impossible
To swim through,
Unless you can finally pinpoint
The light worth swimming towards.


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Latest Comments

  • 3 years ago

    by Mr. Darcy

    Keep swimming, you have the strength and support to realise your dreams.

    • 3 years ago

      by Steph

      Thank you. I forgot I wrote this poem. I'm so glad you provided me the opportunity to remember the hurdles that shaped my life into the wonderful thing it is.
      Happy holidays!

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