Self Image, The Journey of Depression and The Snapping Point

So, What started this journey?

In terms of getting and seeking help, this journey started a year ago. 

From a personal growth spectrum, this has been an ongoing journey. To better understand where I am coming from, let me fill you in about myself.

From an early age, I thirsted for knowledge like a vagabond on the desert seeking water. This thirst for knowledge has been fueled by this pursuit of being the best person I can be. 

Starting from a young age, I had a very negative self-image of myself. This negative self-image always had me questioning myself; 

  • Why won’t the other kids play with me?
  • Why do they make fun of me?
  • Why do some of them want to cause me harm and enjoy it?
  • Why don’t my peers like me?

If all the above questions are caused by being me, then why am I not good enough?

That last question; Why am I not good enough, was enough to propel myself to try and enhance every spectrum of my being. To be the best person I can be. So my line of thinking changed;

  • Well, maybe if I get good grades, I’ll be good enough.
  • Maybe if I stay on honor roll, I’ll be good enough.
  • Maybe if I stay on high honor roll, I’ll be good enough.
  • Maybe if I hone my piano skills and musical abilities, I’ll be good enough.
  • Maybe if I wear the right clothes, I’ll be good enough.

You see where this is going? My line of thought was to seek approval from others to validate that I was good enough. When the validation never came, then it was to move on to the next item, the next enhancement because if I don’t have xyz, I must not be good enough. If I am not good enough, I am doing something wrong. 

Well, my friends, let me tell you now… to continue down that path of peer affirmation to validate your self-image, you are going to have a miserable time.

I’d like to say I grew out of it in my teen years, heck, I’d love to tell you that I grew out of it in college or in my professional career.

Now, over years the line of thinking did change, I wanted to learn to improve myself, because I really wanted to have a skill or gain the knowledge just for me and nobody else. There however was still this need to be validated.

What changed?

Last Year. Last year felt like an earthquake-tsunami-tornado packaged in a sushi Dynamite roll. 

I lost one of my biggest cheerleaders and support systems; my dad.

A couple of months after that, my boyfriend broke up with me.

After that, my best friend moved to a different state.

I quit the rowing club I was part of and moved back in with my mom.

There are many aspects that we can explore in relation to each item, but for the intent of this blog post I will explain the self-image and depression portion.

With each person, I had attached a part of my self-image, a way to validate who I am.

By losing each person, I felt that I lost a part of myself and the positive self-image that they instilled in me. 

With my best friend; I was a great friend, someone who was easy going, great to hang around, always there giving 110%.

For the boyfriend; I was smart, beautiful and funny. Any quality time spent together was treasured.

For my dad; I was an amazing daughter who accomplished so many things in life and honorable represented his ideals and thoughts. I made him proud, and he was so happy to be called my dad.

Now, my best friend is still my best friend and she did not move to a 3rd world country or an area that only gets cell phone signals if you hold your phone at a certain awkward angle at a certain time in the weirdest coldest place of your dwelling. I did feel the impact of knowing I simply could not just go over to her place if I was having a bad day.

In regards to the other two, I felt the most lost. In fact, I felt that I had lost each one of those pieces that I had come to represent to them and with that loss, the opposing statement to then would be true. 

I was no longer smart, beautiful or funny. I was no longer the amazing daughter who accomplished so many things in life.

I became depressed.  

Something, that for a long time I never understood and judged others on. I had linked depression to a light switch. People would tell me they were depressed and I would respond with something along the lines;

  • Did you try turning it on and off again? 
  • Have you tried, like, not being depressed?
  • Just be happy, fake it till you make it.

Man oh man, did the tables turn. In these depressive states I would be so down and ugly to myself, and people would see and recognize it, and would give me some of those lines. 

I wanted to high five them, in the face, with a chair, faster than they could say those lines. In those moments, I wanted to apologize to every single person I had every said those lines to.

For me, those lines and words were -10 points effective. It made my question myself again, why can’t I just get over it? Why can’t I just be happy? Why am I not good enough?

My depression became worse.

I no longer enjoyed the everyday things that had made me happy, especially when they related to any of the people I had attached myself to. The list of items that I no longer wanted to do, enjoy, watch, make, grew exponentially. 

I no longer wanted to bake, row, watch soccer, go out to eat, or go to the movies. I became a hermit in my apartment watching Chinese/Japanese drama shows, eating ramen and nutella, and ugly crying until I got sick. I started going through the motions, showing up to work, meekly smiling and nodding, working hard, and going straight back to my apartment. Some days, I just didn’t eat. 

For months, that’s how I lived. My best friend was planning her wedding reception and I couldn’t find it within myself to be happy for her. When my cousins grandmother passed away, I couldn’t find the strength to just be supportive and strong for them. 

I was even told, just be strong for them Angelica in their time of need. And for what felt like the first time, I said No, I can’t.

I felt like a horrible human being and I didn’t see the point anymore.

I started calling out of work and rowing. I would say I need a mental health day. 

What I am about to say, for those of you that know me and care about me that are reading this, I am really sorry. 

On those mental health days, I was trying to commit suicide.

I had it all planned out. Allocation of items, funds, how I would be able to help after I was gone, etc. 

The thing that I had come to internalize was that I am not good enough, I no longer serve a purpose in the grand structure of life, the people that I had come to rely on are no longer there. I was oblivious to any support systems, family, friends and/or help and only saw the negativity of my situation as I continued to relive the negative moments of my past.

Something would always stop me. Either it was text of someone checking in on me, or the voice of my father, with a disappointment in my decision. Guilt, was the factor that stopped me. 

I would go back to work, and a comment would be made along the lines of “Man, wish I could just take off for a mental health day!” ^snicker. It made me feel worse. 

It became a cycle I lived in until mid August.

I had spent a better part of the work morning ugly crying and I had enough. I left work, mental health day. My boss recommended I reach out to help. I heard her, but I wasn’t really listening. I had a plan and I was going to execute it. 

I went to my apartment, and started packing. After I had packed, I was sitting on the kitchen floor with a butcher knife.  I cried and cried, reliving and reminiscing. Living through my dads death, my break up, every mistake or bad decision I had made over the course of my life, validating the comments the voice in my head stating I was a horrible person.  

I kept crying and responded to the voice in my head, which was telling me, you’re not serious in doing this, if you really meant this you would do it by now, you’re a coward and your actions mean nothing. I moved knife. Once the knife was close enough to my chest, I stopped.

Something snapped within me.

I can’t keep doing this. What is this proving or doing?

I got up and shoved the knife back into the drawer.

I want to live, I deserve better than this.

And that’s when things really changed.

I unpacked and packed again, only this time with the intent to stay with my mom. 

I called and made an appointment with a therapist.

And thus, began my path on the recovery road.

After the last couple of statements, I do want to let you guys know, mentally I am in a much better place and my depression and suicidal thoughts have decreased dramatically. I still have moments, but they are definitely not as frequent. 

Now, I don’t plan on making such lengthy post, but I thought it would be valuable to the reader to understand where my journey began. 

Going forward, I may have to revisit some memories and explain how my mindset was in the past versus how it is today. My intent is to go over specific topics, challenges I am dealing with and go over the tools and advice that have and haven’t worked for me. After each blog post, I will end with a section called; The Golden Gelly Nuggets. 

You might be wondering, what the heck, Golden Gelly Nugget? My nickname is Gelly, a universal consensus that I happily agree to. Golden Nugget, my way of summarizing the point of the blog post and the nugget of information/advice/tool I really want to emphasize on. If you find any parts of what I said helpful and or want me to explore more on a topic, please let me know in the comments! 

Here are the following topics I plan on going over; 

  • Grieving
  • Living in the Past
  • Break Ups
  • Perfectionism
  • Forgiveness
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Negative Self Image

Again, feel free to comment and suggest any topics you may wish to explore, or would like me to further expand upon. 

The Golden Gelly Nuggets

  • Everybody has their own Journey, but there is nothing wrong with getting help along the way
  • A topic I want to expand upon; How to self validate and reduce the need to have peer affirmation
  • If you feel suicidal; reach out to someone, family, friend, maybe even a coworker. They might be able to help you more than you think 
  • There are other great resources out there;

Join 57 other subscribers

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.