What’s wrong with me?

I remember being thirteen and laying on the floor of my room, crying, screaming out for someone to help me. No one came. No one understood. When these fits came over me, the little calm and happy girl I was, would transform into a volatile “monster.” Looking back, this used to happen at least once a week. I would bottle up all my emotions in order to be normal and keep going and then I would explode. That was the first real instance in which I woke up with my head spinning, lying on the floor with blood leaking down my arms from my wrists. That was the first real instance the bruising showed on my face from the way I had beaten it against the wall so I could sleep, so I didn’t have to deal with the pain I was feeling, so that I didn’t have to deal with the “monster” my family said I was. So that I didn’t have to deal with the fears which were the center of it all. Instead I knocked myself out, and woke up alone, still bleeding. The carpet was rough and scratched against my face. That was the first real instance in which I knew something had to be wrong with me.

My sisters never acted out like I did. My mother and father couldn’t understand how a seemingly happy, calm, sweet-hearted girl could suddenly transform into what they described as a “screaming, angry, selfish, monster.” My sisters made jokes about it and would do monster signs behind my back when I wasn’t looking, and all I felt was shame. My mom told me, “Emma, just try to control your anger.” But she didn’t understand, I wasn’t angry, I was afraid.

What’s wrong with me, I thought. I am a “screaming, angry, selfish, monster.” Things are hard enough in my family, I didn’t want to give them me to worry about, so I continued to deny my fears, and deny the moods that left me so depleted of hope or the ability to connect with someone, I was filled with so much shame for the person I knew I was becoming. The person I didn’t understand. The only thing I thought I could do was cut myself. Because it made the worries about death, and my families death, and being raped, about disappointing my father, get a little smaller, and the pain–it made the emotional pain something I could understand. It was just a cut on my arm. The tears made sense then.

Every night I would lay in bed praying to God, crying out, “What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with me! Please, God, What’s wrong with me?” I grew up with the mentality that if I couldn’t hold the emotion and the “bad part of me” inside, I should kill myself.

Looking back now, I can see myself for what I really was. I wasn’t an “angry, selfish, monster.” I was a girl with so many fears and emotions, that I didn’t know how  to deal with. I was drowning in the pain and fears and the loneliness of feeling like I was different than everyone else, and that if anyone saw me like I truly was, my friends or my parents friends, or my dad, they would know I was a monster, and hate me. I deserved their hate.

Now I know that is NOT TRUE!

So what was wrong with me? Nothing! I am not an angry person. I am not a selfish person. I am not a monster!

I am a girl who is still struggling with her fears and anxieties. A girl who battles with depression. I am not alone.

When your young and figuring out who you are, the main thing is you want to fit in. I tried my best, but I couldn’t, so instead of asking, why don’t I fit in? Why do I scream and get angry? And therefore coming to the conclusion I now know is true. Instead I asked myself the terrible question: What’s wrong with me? Like it was my fault. Like it was something I had done wrong.

I wish I could go back and give myself a hug at that age and tell my thirteen year old self that it’s okay. That I understand  She is just frightened. Instead of hating myself and punishing myself for showing emotion, I wish I would have figured out how to tell people how I felt. Written it all out, as I have now, and have someone say to me, “It’s okay. I understand. Everyone gets fearful, everyone gets sad. ”

So to anyone who is asking themselves that question right now. “What is wrong with me?”  “What is wrong with me?”

The answer is nothing. Nothing is wrong with you! There is no shame in fears, there is no shame in acting out, there is no shame in depression. The biggest part of the fight is realizing it’s okay that you feel the way you feel. Tell everybody. Don’t hide it. It doesn’t make you weird or abnormal. People won’t love you less. They will love you more because they will know the real you!

Please don’t listen to the lies, that you are “shameful and selfish and a monster.” You’re not! You’re beautiful and complicated and just want to be loved and understood. Don’t be afraid to show who you really are. That’s the person everyone wants to know! I know this because that’s my story. I was so afraid to tell anyone about my depression and anxiety for so long, and now, I have true friends who love me for who I am, not for the few days of the week I can hold myself together. But for the sad times, and the fearful times too.

You’re brave and I believe in you. What’s wrong with you?

Nothing.

You are hurting. But you will get better, and feel better. Just show the world who you are. Don’t hide it. You’re a work of art.

Love, Emma

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20 thoughts on “What’s wrong with me?

  1. You know you are amazing sharing your experiences. I am sure someone will come across your blog who is also going through depression and reading your blog will make them feel less alien.

  2. Wow! Thank you for sharing this. Even now, when I am almost 40, I wonder what is wrong with me. And when I tell myself that there is nothing wrong with me…I’m perfectly imperfect, I feel like I am too full of myself. It’s hard to find that middle ground where I’m happy being me. Don’t get me wrong, I am getting better. However, hearing others who have experienced the same things as me….makes it easier. You made a difference when you wrote this. 🙂

  3. Right on! I love the way you figure things out and then share it with others. Let me encourage you with some words from a King long ago. “I sought the Lord and read His Word, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. I look to Him and my face radiates. My face shall never blush for shame or be confusied.” Psalm 34. I paraphrased it to personalize it to you; but it’s good stuff. Dealing with your fears is one of the best things you can do for yourself. God bless you. Keep sharing.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story about suffering and healing. I too have been pondering healing as I’ve written a song for this purpose – a version of “Ave Maria.” http://wp.me/p3mOze-R. I thought you may find it relevant to give it a listen. Thank you,

    Rae

  5. Thanks for your post. I too went through some horrible times starting at about 13. Today I’ve been struggling with depression all day and your post helped make me feel better. It’s o.k. to feel the way I feel.

  6. I recognise every word. This post just reminded me – regarding your wish to go back and hug the 13-year old – of an image that cropped up in my sub-conscious even though In was wide awake; a despairing figure that wants to give up and not have anything to do with anything any longer. I was so concerned for her I hugged her close and told her I love her. I haven’t thought of this for a while, and shall consciously bring her to mind and hug her again and again until I feel better. In dealings with a family member recently, I’ve had occasion to remind myself that I’m actually quite a good person, obviously imperfectly so, but I don’t have to feel less than them. Even if they think I should. I’m going to go and deal with the lump in my throat. Thanks for posting.

  7. Thanks for the encouraging words.

    I am a fellow blogger with a mental illness and I’m currently working on a spiritual memoir entitled “Delight in Disorder: Meditations from a Bipolar Mind”. Currently, I’m working on “The Study” chapter where I reflect on books that have impacted my understanding of mental illness as well as list other works of art (books,movies,visual arts, music) worth exploring.

    I’d love for you to visit my site and share what you’ve found helpful. The post is here –

    http://writingforfoodinindy.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/madness-in-media/

    Hope to see you around.

  8. Dear Emma,

    Thank you for sharing your story!! The truth is when we are powerless to help others that we care about and live in fear for our safety day after day; eventually we are going to start to react to it. We all process our pain differently though. Acting out is a sign that you are not one who will be silent about what is happening. Even if you tried to remain silent and not “cause more trouble” or “harm” the very nature of your spirit rebelled against that and would not settle for the injustice of having no support or healthy outlet to deal with the stress of living with a parent who struggles with an imbalance of temperament. And isn’t it true that if we are not taught productive ways to call out for help, we may resort to using destructive ways?

    I can totally relate to this experience as I grew up with a volatile stepmother who abused us daily. From the experience of my trauma as a young pre-teen, I acted out as well. I chose to abuse my body with drugs, sex, alcohol, and vilent acts. I started getting in trouble with the law. By the age of thirteen, I had left the state of California, because they did not know what to do with me. I was tossed like hot potatoes. In addition, my sister disowned me and did not speak to me, not only because I was a menace, but also because it put her in jeopardy with my parents. I was told that I was a monster too.

    Each individual in the family plays a role in the dysfunction. If helpful coping skills had been taught to you during this time, I can imagine things would have looked much different. However, each one of you developed your own ways to get through the stress and uncertainty of living with the unpredictability of uncontrolled anger. What else do we do? Father forgive them, for they know not what they do…And neither did I.

    While our parents were trying to deal with their own problems, our needs were placed on hold. And, the more you try to deny yourself, the more you find yourself acting in violent out bursts. I clearly recall the chaos during this phase in my life as well.

    The beauty that comes from this experience is that you are now acting out in a positive way by reaching out to others and sharing your trials!! I feel that you are well on your way to making a change in not only you, but your family lineage as well. It is the sense that by the Grace of God you are a pioneer of some sort! I know that if you seek God’s wisdom and ask if Him what He would like for you to learn from this situation, He will bless you with amazing insight and continued healing. You are surely being used as a beacon of light for many other young women who struggle with similar trials. 🙂

    I’ll be praying for you, Emma! Keep on shining that light!

    May God’s Mercy and Grace be forever with us,
    Trail Blazer

  9. Reading the first part of your post, I was going to tell you that nothing is wrong with you. So reading the second half, where you arrived there on your own, made me smile.

  10. Awesome Emma! Thank you so much for sharing this…I started about the age of 15 to hurt myself and sit and cry and cry while life went on around me and I too wondered what was wrong with me, still do some days…but you are so right, we are just different and complicated. I will keep saying to myself there is nothing wrong with me and maybe I will believe it some day 🙂 Love Patti

  11. I can relate to your thirteen year old self. I too struggled with depression beginning in puberty. My family was always asking me what was wrong with me, why I was always so angry. I’ve only realized recently that being depressed was not my fault. It was not something I chose to be, I am finally almost free of depression (after 40 years), though still on antidepressants.

  12. Ah, Emma – I am one of you. I know this pain of which you speak well, too well. I also know that working through the pain brings relief – not instant, but a slow and steady healing. I also know that there will be an end to the pain one day – but until then, I have a job to do – to help usher others through that awful and lonely tunnel toward healing. Keep writing – I know that there will be some of us who will need your strength and consolation!

  13. I started with bipolar depression and fibromyalgia when I was 14. Overwhelming. I couldn’t tell my parents because I didn’t understand it. And we were a very stoic family. So I coped with isolation and anorexia. I struggle daily with the What-If’s that would have changed my life. But that is useless. In any case, I understand this post, only I didn’t scream out loud. I just didn’t eat.

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