“It was only when I was ready to give up every story I ever believed about myself that I remembered that I am, and have always been, here as a whole, no matter what my mind or body may be experiencing. It is as if stories of being broken make us feel special for being broken, simply because they give an appearance of definition in a world where defining ourselves is critical, or so we are told.” – Jen Peer Rich
Whether we like it or not we are all shaped by our own story, they make us who we are, they contribute to our personality, our attitude, confidence, and self-esteem. Our story also influences our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Some of our stories have been greatly influenced by our parents, siblings, other relatives, our school environment, work life, and our day to day lifestyle. While as adults we are in a position to shape our story and choose in what direction our story will go, ultimately how we define our story as a whole is dependent on the way we were brought up and those elements of our lives that had a considerable influence on what path we headed down, who we met on the way, and the impacts our journey has played on our whole being.
Rather than writing all about my past and how my childhood and teenage years have shaped who I am and what has contributed to my mental illnesses I will simply refer you to the following posts that talk about what is my story and how it has had a major bearing on my life.
‘When my Black Dog started to appear…..’ is the start of my story growing up in the catholic school system and talks about how I became to have so many demons from bullying, family, self-hatred, and loneliness.
‘The first time the ‘D’ word was mentioned…’ talks about entering into adulthood, the workforce, and marriage all of which were major contributors to my story. It goes onto talk about the first time depression was mentioned to me many years after all this began.
‘When depression doesn’t exist….’ is an account of how growing up in a household that didn’t speak about your problems, and where mental illness doesn’t exist or is never talked about influenced my adult years because for many years I grew up depressed, as a cutter, and with anorexia – were all left untreated.
‘A mask to hide the pain…’ is how for many years, and still to this day, I have managed to separate my depressive self from my work self, my work life from my personal life, and my Mum life from my non-Mum days. An unhealthy approach to dealing with depression, which became my life due to bullying, judgment, discrimination, and in a society where stigma attached to mental illness takes your story down a path where you hide the ‘real’ you from the people around you.
‘Being a single Mummy with depression….’ tells how being a single Mum with depression has considerably influenced my story of motherhood, who I have become, and the impact depression has had on me in my ability to raise my little boy.
‘My time as a Cutter….’ was a very dark place in my past which had considerable bearing upon my story, depression, and the demons that impact me daily.
‘The family unit…’ articulates the variables of a family unit, it tells of what my family was like and how it shaped my story growing up and into adulthood.
Finally ‘Growing up in Emotional Poverty’ is how living in a family who doesn’t talk about their problems and feelings, shows no affection, and where abuse is common leaves you in emotional poverty. This poverty leaves you with no confidence, self-esteem, and the inability to express your problems to loved ones, friends, or counselors.
I have reflected before that I think I may be broken (Maybe I am just broken…..) but I don’t believe that it has made me special, it has however shaped who I am. Even if I am broken as I write about my experience, continue to learn more about my mental illnesses, and as my road to recovery continues I am left to reflect upon the past, but my endeavor is to move beyond my past, to heal, and to live on as best I can. I say live on because I don’t believe that anyone truly moves on (Moving on….), it is very hard, and for most the past you are moving on from is always there in the back of your mind influencing your thoughts, feelings, actions, and behaviors. We can live on by accepting our past for what it is and focusing on what our future can be.
Warning: Parts of my story are very confronting and some may find upsetting, if you find yourself upset and depressed I encourage you to ring Lifeline 13 11 14 or BeyondBlue on 1300 224636