Friday, November 8, 2013

An apology

For that majority of you who aren't aware of this, I have always struggled with the state on my mental health, and I've done so consistently since my early teens years without any kind of professional or pharmaceutical support. Sparing the boring details, I've not had an especially emotionally fulfilling and positive life. I've struggled with self-harm and suicide, and come dangerously close to falling over the edge many times.

I've done my best to improve this. I removed myself from as many negative situations as I could. I withdrew socially, I threw myself into my academics, and I stopped caring much for my personal health or well-being. I got myself so involved that I didn't have an opportunity to feel stressed and broken.

Yesterday, I went and saw a therapist for the first time. It was the single hardest thing I've ever been pushed to do. I fought the concept every step of the way. I ignored my need to get help. In a stupid twist of illogical thinking, I was resigned to this idea of personal strength and stoicism which precluded me from seeking help. It was an issue of pride and vanity.

There is a voice of reason though, who fought tooth and nail (so to speak) to get me to stop being such a fucking idiot. She told me that I was being a coward, and that I essentially needed to knuckle up and act like an adult. She gave me the courage and motivation and reality check I needed to take that first super hard step. She also stood by me while I emotionally raged at the concept of being told I needed a psychiatrist more than a therapist, and that I needed to see a medical professional as I most likely am suffering from severe clinical depression.*

And so this title may seem misleading. Why am I apologizing for taking this step?

I'm fucking not.

I'm apologizing for the mess I've been lately. To the people I've been short with, or snippy. To every person the last 4 months who I have ignored, shrugged off, or been remotely rude or dismissive to.

I'm apologizing to myself, for being too stubborn and vain and proud to do anything to take care of myself because the suffering was easier than being seen as this broken, damaged thing.

I'm not broken. I don't need to be fixed, and having taken these steps hasn't changed those facts. I am a person, struggling against a social and cultural stigma I was raised into where mental health doesn't matter. We just "tough it out" and move on with our lives. We resort to self-destructive behaviors because we were never taught otherwise, and never learned how to constructively handle pain or loss.

If you struggle with your mental health, please, I beg of you, remember that you are not alone. If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or others, please, call someone. We care. We want to help. You are not alone, and we know what you're feeling. I've had the gun to my head and pulled the trigger (not a metaphor), and I know the hopelessness that leads you there.

You are not alone.

You are loved. 

It gets better. I promise.

Don't ever feel ashamed of how you feel, or what you think. This is not a flaw in you. This is not you overreacting, or being too sensitive. You don't need to "get over it" or "move on."

You need to know that this is something you can get through. Depression is a flaw of chemistry, not character.

I love you, for having the strength to fight this battle, and the courage to try to do it alone. 

As you can guess, that was a struggle for me to write on a public forum. I'll admit, I had an ulterior motive in posting this. It wasn't entirely about full disclosure of my story, or about mental health advocacy. It was about the fact that I have lately been a horrendous cunt to people I care for very much. I know the above things are no excuse for any kind of untoward behavior towards anyone.

So this apology is meant those who took so much time and effort to stand beside me, and be patient with me, and just try to help me get through this.

I've been inconsiderate, and insensitive. I've been angry and argumentative and insulting. I've been needy and greedy and jealous and juvenile. I've been spiteful and bitter and lashing out, and in your compassion you've borne the brunt of this, simply as a result of caring about me enough to be here.

I can't give you any words that will take back what I said or did to you, and so I won't try to cheapen my sincere apologies with that. I will say only this:

You helped me get here, and stood with me against a challenge I couldn't have faced alone, and you stood up for me, against myself, when I kept tearing myself down. You took a lot of emotional abuse from me and still managed to keep your head in the game. I was selfish, and all you ever gave me was love. I know I hurt you, and I know that I can't change that, but I want to try to make it better.

I wouldn't blame you if, after all the shit you've dealt with from my stupid self, gave up on me and walked away. There would be no hard feelings, only a strong appreciation for what you've done for me, and a sense of loss that only I am accountable for.

I can't guarantee you it will be great. I'm not a very good person, or a good friend... but I want to be better, and I'm trying to be better. I won't try to sell you any hope, only this:

I think it's worth it, and I'll do my best to make it worth it. I care about you.

Forgiveness isn't mine to ask, nor demand. I'm not asking to be forgiven, and there is no expectation for it. I know what I did, and I'm living up to it. I may not be able to make amends, but I will suffer the consequences of my actions, with some dignity. I don't need to be forgiven, I need to apologize.

I can only hang my head in humility and tell you that, all pride and stubborn arrogance aside, I was in the wrong, and I know I was wrong.

I love you.