Running Up That Hill
Life should be running smooth for me right now. Truth is, I'm struggling. I should be excited about a new year with new doors to open and new possibilities, but I always dread it. From the very beginning when my anxiety and depression hit me hard, it would always hit in January and for 11 years now, I've hated the dawn of a new year.
Sauntering around throughout the winter months always gave me a gloomy feeling even before I even understood anything about depression. There was just always something, like a fierce feeling of impending doom that rolled in when the temperature dropped in the winter months. Every winter back in McDowell, I would stand on Paw Paw's porch and look at how frozen everything was. The wind was so sharp that it could have sliced your cheek open. The tree branches always looked like they were trapped in a solid shell once all of the leaves fell off of them. It was actually pretty fucking eerie. It would be day time, but you could never see the sun shine because it was clearly covered with clouds that could have been waiting to bring down rain, sleet, hail, or snow.
The dull appearance during the winter time always left me feeling like I was surrounded in darkness. Back then, I could only see it as darkness because the sun wasn't blaring down to blind you. The darkness was obviously my enemy, but the feeling of peace that came with it is what led to my love for dark rooms.
I hated being home most of the time unless it was night time. I would curl up in the dark with my little laptop and sit there on it for hours. That was my gate way to staying up all night on Fridays when I would get out of school. I would sleep all day long just so I could be able to stay up all night long because the darkness had become my happy place. Everyone else in the house would fall asleep sometimes by nine and I'd crawl out of my bed as soon as the sun went down just so I could enjoy some alone time.
Eventually, I made it to the point of finally being able to hate the darkness that came along with the winter months. I couldn't control that kind of darkness. My preference was being able to escape the day time issues I had and throughout the night, I was exactly where I wanted to be. That kind of darkness that usually came along with freezing temperatures made me feel lonely. I was surprised when I stopped wanting to isolate myself from everyone. That kind of darkness eventually threw me into depression simply because I couldn't shake the feeling of being surrounded by darkness and not being able to get away from it once the loneliness.
Shitty things had happened along the way that usually occurred in January and then, I just hated the season all together. Winter time was when Christmas and New Years would take place where you'd be surrounded by friends or loved ones and you should never feel lonely.
January 21st, 2009, as Barack Obama was being inaugurated, I swallowed over 30 Benadryl tablets and I was waiting to meet death and I didn't and I was sorely disappointed. January 20th, 2010, after strengthening the bond I had with my father and finally opening up to him about my suicidal thoughts, I left cheer practice with a voicemail from him explaining that he was taking off. I felt lonely again. That same day and year, a peer of mine from Sandy River in Bradshaw, dropped dead in the middle of a basketball game that I was supposed to cheer at that night. A week or so later, for the very first time, I saw a teenager lying in a casket and I was shook.
One of my all time favorite songs is Running Up That Hill by Placebo. If I had to describe some of
my earliest and darkest days with a song, this one would be my choice. I stumbled upon it back
in late 2009. The movie Daybreakers was in theaters and the song can be heard throughout the
Just thinking about it makes me have a flashback to Thanksgiving break. I was 13 years old
and I had been hit with a horrible bout of Mono (mononucleosis a.k.a. the Kissing Disease, don't
worry, I'm not going into nurse mode in this post). It was awful. My tonsils were swollen and my
throat stayed sore and dry. I was constantly running a fever. My spleen was swollen and I was
too fatigued to even lift my head. I can remember at the beginning of the illness where I was so
exhausted that in gym class, all I wanted to do was lay on the big blue tumbling mat and sleep.
Eventually we found out that other people were catching it from the water fountains just like I
did and I passed it on to my boyfriend at the time. To put it simply, I wouldn't wish Mono on my
2009 and 2010 held a lot of firsts for me. First boyfriend. First heartbreak. First piercings.
Everything felt so brand new. During the summer between 7th and 8th grade, I saw some huge
changes in my mind and body. My face became a little less round, my breasts went from nothing
at all to a whole bunch of something, and I got those curves in my hips that people noticed were
a lot different than they were last year.
It was the first time in my life that I actually took a step back to examine everything around me. I
felt so much brand new pain at that point in my life. I began to see that there was so much more
in life. That was also the summer where I got the courage to speak up and tell someone about
my desire to take my own life. It was painful to think about and it was even more painful to say it
When I gave up on all of that and decided to live a less depressed life, it turned into feeling good
about myself for the very first time. That's when I gained my confidence and got boy crazy.
Having a boyfriend for the very first time was so bittersweet now that I'm old enough to see the
reality behind it. It makes you feel shiny and new and with me being who I was (the Vampire Girl)
back then, I was shocked to find that someone could even stand the sight of me. Thinking that I
was worth something was so foreign to me. But we were only 13 and I see now that everything I
wanted back then was beyond ridiculous to want at 13.
But the relationship broke me and made me insecure. Things grew a lot darker for me during
that time. I loved a boy that wanted to love and want two people at once (no matter how many
times he tried to make me see it his way, there was no way in hell that you could love two people
without someone getting hurt and ending up scarred). It wasn't just that situation that tore
me down. I felt incredibly distant from my family when all of us had been pretty close. They all
floated away from me and I didn't think I was ever going to be able to pull them back to me.
The distance made me feel alone and worthless. I thought that people wouldn't leave me or
ignore me if I was important. I honestly think that my first breakup wouldn't have been as rough if
I had had someone around talk to.
There were so many nights that I would curl up in bed with my headphones, crying my eyes out with that song roaring in my ears. I begged God over and over again to take the pain. I always
tried to bargain with him to either fix me or let me die because I was never going to get rid of it.
Here we are, after so much time and I was able to let it all go and it seemed like such a blur.
It was a blur and I felt like I had conquered that demon and locked it away for good. But, back in December, my Draven, my sweet little baby boy that I always wanted to keep close to me and protect him from the life and pain that I lived through, was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and separation anxiety, something that he had obviously gotten from me.
I've got to be 100% honest. I hate myself for it. I feel like I spent all this time gaining my strength to keep this demon locked away when in all reality, it was never locked away. It feels like it was stepping away from me to get me to think that I had won and gotten rid of it when it was actually waiting in the shadows, waiting to attack my child. And it did.
Draven is me made over and while I'm still trying to process everything, I'm terrified of losing my strength to keep him from feeling the things that I felt. Age 13 was when things hit me as hard as they possibly could and I don't know if I should gear up to protect him now before things get to him the same way that things got to me. For now, I'm trying to remain calm and remember all of the hard work that I put in to get better. I know that I can't wave my hand and make his mental health perfect, but I feel confident that things will be better because I've been there and now I know what to do to correct the same kind of issues that he might run into.
This has been the ultimate test of my strength. I wanted to withdraw and regress like I was used to doing before I had kids, but they're the reason why I haven't crumbled. I have to take care of my babies no matter what. That will never change. This will not break me. Nothing will ever be able to break me again because I am a mother. I will never be that same person that let their depression and anxiety get to them to the point where they just want to lay in bed all day and take depression naps. I'm remaining hopeful that things will go in the right direction and for now, I'm ready to give it all that I've got to be there to keep Draven from feeling what I felt.