Honoring My Past Trauma as An Adult
I feel like my depression was something I talked a lot about when I was younger. Especially in my late teens and early 20s, back when I thought that I’d actually healed from all my trauma. Because I talked about it so much back then, I stop talking about it as I got older. This was partially out of feeling like I was annoying everyone around me by talking about it, but also because I didn't want to be "the depression girl" forever. It just became this thing that I knew about myself that I had “conquered“. Ironically enough I have been really struggling with depression over the last year, as I’m sure a lot of people have. Because of this I have been thinking about it a lot more, but it’s not really something that I’ve written about… Until today. I have followed To Write Love On Her Arms for a while now, I saw them at a concert that I was at a couple years ago and loved their messaging. You see even though I haven’t really been talking about my depression it’s never been something that I've forgotten. It’s always been a part of my story, and because it’s always been a part of my story it’s something that I always look out for; activism on teen depression, resources, knowledge, all that stuff has always been really important to me. It's part of the reason I started this blog! I actually applied to an internship at TWLOHA last month, I unfortunately didn't make it to the interview process but there was a question that they asked during the application process that really got me thinking about my story. They asked, who inspires you? So my dear readers, I'm going to give you this answer the same way I gave it to them.
I've never really liked to be asked who inspires me, or who I look up to. As a kid I never reaaally looked up to anyone. I had celebrities that I liked but I never looked up to them because I always knew that I didn't actually know them. And that's what people expect right? They expect you to say someone like, Princess Diana or Angelina Jolie. As a kid I used to just cop out and say my sister because it was easiest, but the truth was the only person that inspired me was myself. That sounds super conceited right? It's not! At least not really. When I was in the depths of my depression the only thing that kept me from ending it all was the idea of the person that I could be. Whether that was in the sense of, the person that I could be once I left the Bay Area, or the person that I could be in love, or the person that I could be not living under my parents roof. Whatever thing that was feeding my depression I would think about the person that I could be without that burden on me and that is what kept me going.
Now I'm an adult, I've been through things that 16 year old me couldn't even imagine I would go through and, ironically enough, the 16 year old version of myself if the person that inspires me today. I think about the young girl who wrote multiple suicide notes and still chose not to go through with it, the girl who was constantly taking on trauma and didn't even know it but was still strong enough to keep going everyday, the girl who just wanted to live. That little girl inspires me today, it's the reason I do all that I do, because I owe it to that version of myself, the version that just wanted to get the opportunities I do now.
I think it's important for me to take these moments to acknowledge that little girl because it's easy to forget about her. It's easy for me to not want to delve in to my past, to not think about our rehash my depression, but I know that I need to. I need to for 2 real reasons. One, the trauma that I endured as a teen still manifests itself to this day, I'm constantly learning about new habits or new reasons why I am the way I am and how it relates back to the trauma I experienced. Two, I can't help other teens if I forget about what I went through.
One of the things I remember thinking as a teen was that I never wanted to be an adult who belittled the feelings of other teenagers and I feel myself doing that sometimes. I feel myself brushing off the heartache of teens because they're just teens and what could they know about heartbreak and love. But what I think or feel shouldn't matter, and that's why I like to remind myself of the little 16 year old version of myself. Because to her, those feelings were very real, despite what other people said.
There's this weird thing about pain and grief and growth. Everyone wants to heal from pain, they want to grow from it and become this better version of themselves, and they don't want to think about that pain again. But remembering that pain, every now and then, is an important part of the growth cycle. I have gone to many therapists and everytime I go to a new one a therapist asks me to tell them my whole life story and I'll hit the bullet points and try and gloss over points that I think I've already healed from, and my therapists never let me gloss over them, and somehow I always end up learning something new about trauma that I had already healed from.
I want to thank To Write Love Her Arms for all the work they do to give hope and find help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. If you would like to help you can donate here and/or join me on their Run For It 5k on May 29th.