Stray Bullets

Somewhere in the boxes of detritus from my past, I have the only letter my father ever wrote to me. Typed out in bold, 14-point font with magazine-style 3″ margins, he apologizes for shouting at me that morning, tells me that he’s been dealing with more than he can handle lately, that he loves the three of us (his children) more than anything, and that he’s going back to therapy.

I’ve never thought much about how brave it was of him to do that — to say “I screwed up, I have problems that I need to manage, and I am going to deal with them for your sake as well as my own” rather than deflecting blame on to someone or something else. Few people in my life had done that before (or since) and it set a good example.

We live under this illusion that major depressive disorder is a private matter and that how we deal with it only affects us. Depression feels like a slow poison (targeted and singular) but deploys like a splatter of buck shot, striking you and anyone else who might happen to be nearby. Processing trauma, picking out and assessing various triggers, dealing with unresolved emotional conflicts in a healthy, productive manner, all of this takes a while. No one handles it perfectly — we all start out screaming into the wind, unmoored and frustrated, either unable to name what’s hurting us or fixating on the source of our hurt.

But, eventually, we have to stop screaming.

Most of the time, I knit instead of scream. Knit, sew, cross stitch, crochet some plushies, make some jewelry, watch a few movies, go to therapy, write about it, start over. So far, it seems to work.

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~ by blackmoodcraft on April 8, 2015.

3 Responses to “Stray Bullets”

  1. Over the years, I have battled depression. When I was much younger and in my teens I went to my doctor and told him I was sad all the time and I couldn’t feel happy and he told me that I was okay and it was just normal teenage hormones. A few years went by and I kept going back saying the same thing over and over and over and I was told that I was fine, there was nothing wrong, I had nothing to be depressed about, I was young, healthy, had a job and friends, I just need to pick myself up. Then a few more years went by and I was told by a different doctor the exact same thing, you have nothing to be sad about.
    After having my baby, I went back to the doctor and he told me I had post-natal. I agreed because I had no fight in me. It made me angry because it was OK to be depressed because I had a baby but every other time before it it wasn’t OK and I had nothing to be sad about. Even now, typing this I remember feeling to miss understood, lonely and scared.
    It’s awful that mental health is so underestimated, like you have to belong in a specific age range or have a really bad thing going on to even be believed! It’s horrible.

    I’m glad you have that letter from your dad, that’s something you’ll have forever and that’s amazing, it’s also great that you’ve found your own coping mechanism too 🙂

    • Thank you 🙂 It’s difficult to find a mode of therapy that works. Most of the people I talk to who have worked with therapists have had mixed experiences particularly with people that are supposed to specialize in adolescent psychology. Bad experiences can prevent a lot of people from going back and it can lock a lot of good people into bad cycles where they think they can process things on their own, yet the way in which they process trauma *actively traumatizes* the people around them. It’s sad.

      • It can be sad. The best thing I ever did was Life Coaching. It was fantastic and truly helped me overcome. I find a lot of people say that counselling/therapy opens up old wounds but doesn’t help to solve them, which is sad xx

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