That’s a weird anology, isn’t it? Comparing depression to a flower? Well, think of it this way: flowers grow from dirt. If there’s not enough dirt, or enough water to nourish it, the seed can’t grow.
When I was very young, I saw how my sister and older cousin were turning out. They were both beautiful girls, older than me by 6 and 3 years respectively. I saw, very easily, that they were becoming vain– and I was terrified that I would turn out the same way. They were consumed with their budding sexuality and their impressive bodies– and I was a child who was afraid that I would turn out to be like them– a slave to vanity.
My solution: stand in front of my mirror every day and insult myself. I told myself I sang poorly, that my drawings were crude, that my stories were garbled, and that my body was ugly. At first, I recognized myself as smart– it was a good solution, to keep the problem at bay. However, over time, I came to take those insults that once were not meant to be true. I began to gain weight, give up on drawing, and I kept my stories and singing relatively to myself. In later years, I would refuse to show anyone my stories, unless they had similar interests or open minds– because my mother told me to quit writing, because my story was too dark for a girl to write. That I shouldn’t write about demons and swords and fighting and hatred… and purgatory and hell. She thought that I actually believed in what I wrote– so I quit talking to her about the stories altogether. Even later on, I lost confidence entirely in my voice and got to where I wouldn’t sing for days– which, for anyone who knows me, is insane. I would sing constantly, or hum. Even without knowing I was.
In other words, I carefully tended my flower of depression, and let others do the same.
I quit letting myself be a human being, and drowned myself in self-pity. I became a pathetic creature. I come from a family where on my mother’s side, everyone judges you first (I really do love my family, but I am being honest here) and if they don’t like you, God help you. Especially if you like Harry Potter or Pokemon, or anything else that comes under fire for witchcraft or “anti-religious brainwashing of children” (Vlad likes both. A lot). My dad’s side of the family is more forgiving. However, for all of my family, I feel a HUGE amount of stress to do good. I graduated high school (my sister did not, but she got her GED later on), and I want to go to college and graduate (my aforementioned cousin hasn’t of yet, that I know of), and I want to wait at least 7 years to have kids– when I am financially stable. I feel like if I make the slightest blunder, everyone in my family would label me as a failure, falling for the same traps everyone else did– even though I promised I would learn from them and not have to go through the same things. The pressure is a bit much, sometimes.
In high school, I tried to lessen my depression by seeking a boyfriend. I felt good for once in my life, but it didn’t last. All I found in the end was someone worse off than me– a hypochondriac obsessive who spread lies about me. I cried tears of joy when he dumped me. My second boyfriend, although I still remain in contact with him, and consider him one of my best friends, left me with questions that angered me to the point that I’m sometimes surprised that I ever talked to him again. I don’t want to ask those questions for fear of becoming enraged. Also, what is in the past has obviously gone. I can’t bring it back, or change it. And it would be pointless to. After all, had I not dated him, what came next might not have played out the same.
I realized that I shouldn’t change myself. I decided that I wouldn’t do that anymore. I became fascinated with the song The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars, which says “I tried to be someone else, but nothing seemed to change. I know now: this is who I really am inside. I finally found myself, fighting for a chance. I know now: this is who I really am!” And though I loved the song and wanted wholeheartedly to sing it until my lungs burst, it was around that time, really, that I stopped singing. This was mostly because I was living with my father, who worked swing-shifts, and I was constantly afraid I’d wake him up. Also, the constant singing annoyed my step mom to the point she didn’t really wanna hear it. I became embarrassed to sing at all. To this day, I still am, really.
But, back to the point, I refused to change myself anymore. I told myself that if I ever dated again, I would walk into it without secrets, without faking, and without changing who I was. I would not lie so I would seem more appealing. I would not change how I dress, act, or talk. I would be who I am. At that time, that wasn’t really saying much– but that is hindsight.
Eventually, I ended up with Vlad, of course, and as you may know, we’ve been together for what will be 4 years in March, 2014. This is what I was getting to. I am not purposely rehashing everything that was already in my “About Nina” page. This is where things get a bit more interesting.
Vlad is from a very constructive place. His family adores him, and he was raised right. He has never been poor, and has never contemplated suicide. However, he does have a condition known as Manic Depression, which makes him swing between “Hyper-Happy to the point of insanity” and “crycrycrycry”. However, the rate at which he swings is not intolerable. It also helps that he is on medication to keep him at a comfortable in-between. His family is supportive of him, and are the kindest people I have ever met. In fact, all of his family that I’ve met have treated me with utmost kindness– to the point that it shocked me.
Slowly, my flower of depression began to wilt. Vlad dug it up. However, I will admit that I didn’t fully trust him until about six months ago. I loved him, but I have always been afraid that I will become annoying, and that he will no longer want to be around me. The thought of the person that had finally ripped apart the bloom of self-hatred in me and washed away a good deal of the soil… the thought that I might drive him away. It stung so badly. I was afraid of being hurt– so much so, in fact, that I would constantly attempt to drive him away. I would hurt him, and not even really mean to do it. I was terrified that he’d leave, even though, were he in his right mind, he would have. I came to terms with the reason that I was so abusive to him– and I hate myself for ever having done it– and I apologize to him as often as I can. I still wonder how it is he could love me, despite how cruel I’ve been to him in the past, and I’ve asked him. He told me that he worries about me, that he loves me. And that if there’s a chance that he can make me happy, he’ll do everything in his power to make sure I can smile.
He has stuck with me for so long, and walked me through so many things. He strengthened my belief in God, and has kept me calm when I wanted to seriously hurt someone. I won’t say that we’ve been without fights (although for the first two and a half years we were), though. Something he told me recently was that, before we started dating, he’d never been angry before. I couldn’t really comprehend that at first. A life without anger? I felt terrible, and told him that I was sorry. He told me not to be. He said that it was a part of his life that he needed to experience for something that might happen later. Although most people can’t take him seriously, he is actually not as dumb as people originally think. Not just book-smart, but wise in a way.
The strangest thing, I think, is our difference in background. Neither of us can ever imagine living a day in each others’ shoes (concerning our childhood). We are as different as night and day. And although I worry about that a lot (for more than one reason), he always tells me that it is not a bad thing. It is good that we are different and complement each other. That way, when we go to raise children, we will know what to do and what not to do, as well as scenarios to avoid.
Due to my upbringing, I am terrified to ask for help now that I am on my own. I want to do everything myself, and it has led me into trouble more than once. I also don’t want to let Vlad be the main earner of the house when we are married. I want to have my own very successful job– because I don’t want to end up like my mom (which is a touchy subject. She always told me as a child to never rely on a man when it comes to your life. Because, they’ll be gone and you’ll be broke) who ended up giving up on college to marry my dad. This also brings up my next point (don’t worry, this will be over soon enough, I promise. I have other things to do).
I remember when I was working at McDonalds and people I graduated with would come through. A lot of them looked like they were no longer so high and mighty as they had portrayed themselves. I prided myself that I hadn’t done as badly. And then I realized that I was doing absolutely nothing with my life. I was working in fast food, barely making ends meet, unable to go to college. On top of that, I hated my job, and felt unappreciated by the managers and only ever stayed because I had come to love the regulars. I realized on top of that that if I continued to work there and not try to better myself in some way, I would be stuck in that rut forever– and then even the people who were no longer so high and mighty would eventually pass me by.
This is mostly why I am so gung-ho on going to college and graduating in the next 3 or 4 years. I don’t want to wait and put my life on hold for anyone or anything, because I know that if I don’t become successful, I’ll never be able to face myself. I want to do better than those people who thought they were so above me. And I want to do better purely because I am doing something I love to do– and do it for myself. I didn’t choose computer programming just because it pays good money– I have the mind for it, and I know I can do it– fairly sure I could enjoy it, at that!
I can’t let that flower sprout back– especially if the soil and water that nourishes it are that I didn’t go to college, that I didn’t get that job I wanted, or that I’ve failed at achieving even one of my dreams! I am going to defeat my depression at any cost! By God, if I have to work two jobs and do college work instead of sleep, I guess I’ll just have to stock up on Mountain Dew and Folgers. I will stop gaming, singing, writing, and sleeping if I can/have to if it means I can achieve that!
And that… long and arduous rant/whatever that was… is the Stem of my Flower of Depression