Thursday, September 4, 2014

Silent All These Years - My Story

When I first heard the lyrics, "Sometimes I hear my voice and it's been here, silent all these years", it really sparked something in me.  Yes, I DO have a voice, and yes, it has been silent far too long.

Let me explain.  I grew up the daughter of a schizophrenic father and a mother who made it very clear to me that I was never wanted and should be seen and not heard.  When I was about nine, my family was in a restaurant having dinner when my ears started buzzing, I couldn't breathe, and my chest hurt.  I was having my first panic attack.  I was never a happy child, except when I was in the woods around our house.  As I grew, the panic attacks became more frequent and severe, the depression deepened.

My father recognized the symptoms of depression and anxiety, but I always said no.  I wasn't crazy, I didn't have anything wrong with me.  I wasn't my father.  I refused treatment.  I struggled through life never being able to really accomplish anything.  I finally came to the place where I was housebound and suicidal.  My life was an utter misery, and I wanted out.

That's when I picked up a copy of Spin Magazine and read an interview with Tori.  She was discussing Boys For Pele, and her love of faeries.  I have always been more than a little obsessed with the faery folk, and I thought I really needed to give this girl a listen.  Somehow I picked up a copy of Little Earthquakes.  That's when I heard those lyrics.  I also heard "Me and a Gun" and looked Tori up online, found that she had, in fact, been the victim of a sexual assault that she had not only survived, but had the courage to write about and put it out there for the whole world.

I looked back over some of the pieces I had written myself and knew I would never have the courage to share with anyone, pieces about the utter despair I lived in every day.  I did indeed have a voice, it had been sneaking out in all those musings.  I knew, despite my earlier protests that there was something very wrong here.  I thought that if Tori had the courage to go public, so could I.  I got diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder and started medication for them.

It was a long road.  It took ten years or more to find a combination of medications that worked.  The ones that did put over one hundred pounds of extra weight on me.  But for the first time in my life, I didn't want to die.  The extra hundred pounds is not a fair trade off, but you can't imagine what it's like to be symptom free after forty years.

I am now in college, something I was unable to do right out of high school, and have a 3.64 GPA.  I was accepted to every university I applied to.  What am I studying?  Psychology.  My goal is to help children like myself, who have problems and don't know what the fuck is wrong with them or where to turn.

I hope that sharing my story, as deeply personal as it is, will inspire some to share their own stories, or maybe just realize that we all have problems, and maybe, if we try, we can solve them.

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