Moving On: diary entries through the years

Why is it so tough to move on from the people who hurt us the most?

This Summer Sucked, August 2012

If you have been following my life from an older post, you’ll know I transferred to Westfield State in a horrid, fragile state.

That was after the summer that I tried to commit suicide, after an already failed attempt the prior fall at my old school.

Twice. Because once wasn’t good enough. Once did not satisfy the urge.

What did I hope to accomplish at my new school?

Friends.

 

New Beginnings, September 2012

I wanted friends.

I needed friends.

Why did everyone else have so many?

Why was such a simple task becoming so immensely difficult?

In high school, I had a ton of friends.

I always had a boyfriend, or someone interested in filling that position.

I was in five music ensembles and an AP course by senior year.

I was by no means popular but I was queen of the musical-eat-your-lunch-in-the- hallway misfits.

I wasn’t the prettiest girl in school, but I was happy.

I was comfortable.

Maybe that was my first problem.

I made some really great friends at Westfield. I always have to preface that.

But what about the people that didn’t want me?

Why didn’t you want me?

 

End of My First Semester, December 2012

You welcomed me into your group reluctantly; I was your random transfer roommate that you had to learn to deal with.

It is amazing how small a double room in Lammers can become.

But I thought we were friends. I mean, I really thought we were cool…

 

Sophomore Spring, March 2013

…We used to bond over stupid shit, smelly boys, drunken nights.

What happened to the group of girls that once called me a “Westie Bestie?”

Why did I so quickly become the outsider?

The crazy one?

The only one that is still affected, still hurt?

Still putting the pieces back together of what even happened…

 

Spring Weekend, May 2013

Sometimes you girls were mean to each other.

People were divided. Differences in personalities were beginning to emerge.

I didn’t realize that mine was so terrible.

I wasn’t the one that shamed anyone for being different, yet I was constantly being made fun of behind my back.

That should have been my first red flag.

 

Halloween, October 2013

Maybe it was junior year, when boyfriends came into the picture, when friendships were more divided.

Maybe it was the fact that I devoted my friendship to the person that I trusted the most, because she also needed me the most.

Best friend: I stuck by you through so much. I watched you destroy other people. I watched it all.

How is it that present day you is back with all of them, and I am the outsider? I was just doing a duty as a friend.

Why is it like this?

 

Easter Weekend, April 2014

Maybe it was the girl who invited me to her house for a weekend, and then realized an hour into it she wanted nothing to do with me.

I was bullied horrendously through text messages.

You told me I didn’t know how to dress myself.

You told me you would rather be homeless than live with me.

Why is it that she was cool with everyone senior year and I wasn’t?

This should have been the second red flag. Or fourth. Or sixtieth.

Why was this happening to me???

 

Move-In Day, September 2014

I gave up my pride senior year to make my other two roommates happy. At that point, I felt like I could make no one happy.

I lived with two strangers. I did what I had to do to graduate and get by.

I was immersed with a cappella and dance and my other friends that made me so happy.

I avoided my broken home as much as I could.

But at the end of the day, I was lonely.

 

Graduation Day, May 2015

It is graduation day! Is anyone excited to see me?

Why doesn’t anyone want a photo with me?

…Can’t you see me?

 

June 7th, 2017

Especially now, knowing that all of you moved on, I realized the one in that group I was closest to had no actual value for my feelings; it was all a selfish act.

And here I am, still affected, still hurt, still picking up my pieces and wondering what I could have done differently to be better.

Everyone else has moved on now.

Mainly because the situation has no affect them on at all…

…And that should be the biggest red flag of all.

 

 

This piece comes from Stacy Wacks, a community member who has always written about her struggles honestly; this submission is no different. You can read Stacy’s Coping: This Is Who We Are piece, and you can also find her on Instagram. Give some love to Stacy in the comments.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

Sandra

Want to submit to this site and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

Follow us for more posts, inspiration and art on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

 

Creative Pieces dear hope

An Unbreakable Cycle

 

It can sometimes feel like my mind never switches off. I’m constantly jumping from one thought to another in a frenzied stream of consciousness that can make me restless at best and panicked at worst. It’s very hard to distinguish them from each other sometimes. I saw this picture of a fern and it looks like it is in motion even though it’s still, and that really conveyed this feeling for me.

Scan0297.jpg

 

A Lens Into Our World dear hope

“My Confession: Depression, Faith & Isolation” – Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 20

I was never one to thrive off of isolation. “A spry little spurt who’s never met a stranger” is a succinct summary of many an individual’s perception of me as a child. I lived and breathed on the social interaction that I could find. Old people were fun to joke with, adults were cool to talk to, and kids my age were naïve enough to be my friend.

I grew up in a pastor’s home. Social interaction kind of came with the territory but I was perfectly fine with it. I found outlets to express my inner nerd, girls to chase around the church parking lot, and reasons to tag along on youth group events, even though I was only eight.

I played baseball. Well, tried to play baseball. Little league was the thing to do in my town and both my father and I signed up. He coached, I played. A power duo, I suppose you could call it. I wanted nothing more than to make my dad proud. He had played baseball in his high school years and turned out to be pretty good. I thought that if I could only catch the ball better, hit the ball harder, or run the bases faster, he would tell me those five words: I’m proud of you, son.

I developed a propensity, in my younger years, towards the pursuit of perfection. I didn’t want to disappoint those around me, I didn’t want to make my dad upset with me, and I didn’t want to fail at anything I did. Unfortunately, there were times that I disappointed those around me, made my father upset with me, and failed at the things I did. In fact, those occurrences of failure became more consistent the older I got and the harder I tried.

1506399_1541965799448201_4324757743553416514_n.jpg

“God” was the thing to do; believing in Him, that is. I mean, I was a pastor’s kid. I pretty much had to. I also felt the need to be perfect in this area as well. The moment you step through the door’s of God’s church it seemed as if every pair of eyes were on you. Some of them were loving, some of them speculative, and others were simply mean. One slip up in the church world and you created a mess for daddy to clean up. I felt that any mistake on my part would make my dad look bad. Be good. Keep your mouth shut. Smile and wave.

That’s what I did. I believed in God, tried to be good, tried to keep my mouth shut, and I tried to blend in. I was a free spirit when I was with my friends but I never felt like I fit in. The kids around me were all older and weren’t appreciative of my attempts to “be cool”. Skateboarding and long hair were the cool things to do but I couldn’t do either of them. Making jokes that had the entire group rolling on the floor wasn’t my forte. What was I left with? Star Wars action figures and muddled hopes and dreams of being accepted.

Fast forward through my teenage years. Ages 11-16 were pretty much the same story. Go to church, be a pastor’s kid, learn to preach, and try to have friends. In the midst of all of this my family had decided to be missionaries to Australia. Deciding this meant that we had to raise monthly support. We spent two years on the road travelling from church to church with very limited success. I lost a lot of the major contact I had with my closest friends because I was constantly in the back of a mini van. 25 states and two years later my mom and dad felt that the Lord was calling them to instead move to Georgia to be a youth pastor.

I didn’t blame them. I didn’t hate them. At this point moving was normal and home was relative to the place I laid my head down at night. Just another day in the Malin family.

218092_5284352621_2991_n.jpg

We moved to Georgia right at the start of my Freshman year of high school. I was roughly 14-15 years old, 6 feet tall, looked like Harry Potter (glasses and all), and about a hundred pounds wet. Why do these things matter? I got picked on mercilessly at my new high school. Verbally abused. It came to a point where my dad even told me he might let me fight these kids. I was ready. I had never been in a fight but I was dying to prove my worth.

I tried my hand at baseball but sat the bench the entire year. I started working out but could barely lift the bar. Kids at church all thought I was obnoxious and tried to avoid me. Pretty lonely life to begin with but now it was setting in: I didn’t measure up.

Want to know what changed people’s perception and ability to accept me? Getting rid of my glasses. Yeah, that’s right. The culture of that town was so shallow that a simple addition of contacts to the daily life opened up a plethora of doors to friendships. At the time I didn’t care. I was finally accepted. People were my friends again!

Then we moved.

This time to Michigan and this time a little more painful than the last. Halfway through my sophomore year I found myself sitting in a new classroom with new opportunities and new fears. Instead of having to fight for my relationships, the relationships fought for me. It was a small town with a small school and I instantly became the hit attraction. New kid on the block meant lots of attention. Yay me!

We spent two years there and I grew immensely. I travelled to South Korea on a mission’s trip where my view of God was radically changed. I started dating girls and learned that my heart could be broken beyond what I already knew. I started playing the guitar, drums, piano, and began to sing. I wanted to excel. I wanted to conquer. I wanted to finish my high school years on top of the world.

Then we moved.

Halfway through my senior year I’m back in the town I was born in and lived in before we moved to Georgia. This time all of my childhood friends were gone. The church wasn’t the same. I had walked into a radically different place. I was pissed. I had six months of my high school career left and here I am going on to school number three.

I was fed up. I was tired of having to be on the receiving end of pain from my parent’s decisions. I didn’t hate them. I didn’t blame them. I simply didn’t like them. My heart was ready to be on my own and to make my own decisions.

I had a grand total of three friends my last six months of high school. I was miserable. I went to a small bible college in the fall and immediately started dating a girl who tore my heart inside out within a month of our being together. It was here that I saw people’s true colors. It was here that my depression began.

Malin-74 (1).jpg

I spent six months at that school and made a lot of bad decisions. I turned my back on God and I turned my back on the people who had hurt me. I hated what I was going through and I couldn’t even process it. I left the school after six months. I came home and started working for a temp agency…Fired after two months.

Fired? I’m a pastor’s kid.

I don’t get fired.

I don’t get fired.

I spiraled down into isolation and hatred. I burned any bridge that stood to be burned. I made the ashes my home. Day after day I slipped deeper into depression and I didn’t even realize it. I justified my anger. I thought that it was a good thing. Meanwhile, my father, the very man I wished to never disappoint, was always at my throat. We couldn’t stand each other. My mom stood in the kitchen bawling one day. She begged me to fix my relationship with my dad. Whatever love I had left in my heart tried but I believed it was too far gone.

I gave up.

Suicide came to mind. I struggled with the apathy towards dying. I didn’t care if I woke up the next day. There was no one to help. Everyone had turned their back on me. The very thing I placed all of my hope in had crushed me. I couldn’t trust anyone anymore, not even God.

I laid in bed one night and entertained the thought of death. I could’ve swore that there was something in my room. A presence…Whatever it was, I can tell you that it wasn’t Jesus.

Matty Feature

Soon enough, the grace of God came flooding into my heart and opened my eyes to the hell that I was living in. Something inside of me awoke and began to scream for help. I can’t tell you how, nor why, nor for what reason. All I know is that my eyes were opened and I was scared. I was scared because I knew who I had become and I knew just how far I had run from God. I had nowhere else to turn but to my dad.

After a hard, long conversation with him I learned that he had been going through the same things. I couldn’t believe that after all of that time thinking that I was alone, there was someone within arm’s reach of me thinking the very same things. Funny how the devil blinds you to the help you need. From that day on, my relationships with all of my family members have been restored and healed.

To make a very long story shorter, fast forward 3 years and I’m learning. Some days I’m learning how to thrive, some days I’m learning how to cope, and other days I’m simply just surviving.
But that’s ok. God has brought me to my knees on more than one occasion with reminders of His immaculate love and forgiveness for me. In fact, not but a month ago I sat on my couch weeping over my losses, my hatred for myself, and then I finally let it all go.

I became a free man.

I learned that it’s one thing to forgive others and it’s another thing to be forgiven by God. Those things are a must in this life. People are going to hurt you. You’re going to hurt people. It’s a fact. There’s no escaping it. You can’t change it. Do their attacks mean that there’s something wrong with you? Not all of the time. If you ever mess up and hurt someone else be quick to ask for forgiveness and be quick to admit that you were wrong. If someone else hurts you then be quick to forgive. It’s a give and take relationship. To be forgiven you must forgive.

I learned something else, though. We spend so much time trying to forgive others that we forget to forgive ourselves. My 23-year pursuit of perfection left me hollow, dry, and hateful. Not just towards other people but mostly towards myself. It wasn’t until God opened my eyes to it that I found complete wholeness inside of Him. The fact that Jesus sacrificed His life for me on behalf of my sin rattled my heart to the core. I finally understood that He loved me and wanted nothing but the best for me.

Do people still hurt me? Yes. Do I still hurt people? Unfortunately. Will any of that change? No. What can and should be said of our lives is of the willingness to forgive. Whether you believe in a God or not doesn’t change the fact that you and I have been forgiven of much. It is in this knowledge that we should be ready and willing to forgive just as deeply and even quicker.

Easier said than done. It’s a process and you have to be willing to let yourself go through it. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t come as quickly as you’d like it to. Make mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and never give up.

Don’t just cope with your depression. Beat it. Show it who’s boss.

You have value. You are of worth. You are loved.

May God show himself real and faithful to you.

-Matt

Malin-4

Special thanks to Matt for his incredible entry into our Coping series. Some of the photos included in this post were from his photography project,”Confession Through Photograph”, which we featured here last month. Be sure to check out more of his writing on his blog Confessions.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

PF

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

Follow us for more posts, inspiration and art on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram

Coping: This Is Who We Are dear hope

Poetry: Giving My Illness a Name

I flirted with death
long before my sadness was given a name
there’s something about being so sad
for so long
that makes it seem like death is the only option

I flirted with death
long before anybody knew about my sadness
there’s something about giving depression a name
that takes it’s power away

some say
giving something a name gives it more power
but I don’t think that is true
because giving depression a name
told me that it wasn’t just me
sent me a message that my sadness wasn’t forever

I flirted with death
long before my sadness was given a name
my depression
it is my depression because I own the illness
it does not own me

R.E


 

Find more poetry from this author on their Tumblr page.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

PF

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

Follow us for more posts, inspiration and art on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram

 

 

Creative Pieces dear hope

Societal Stigmas, Gender Norms, and their Effect on Mental Health

Something that has become increasingly bothersome to me, and I’m sure many of you, are the stigmas that society has put in place. Whether the stigmas affect those struggling with mental health, those who do not identify as a binary gender or sexuality, or those of a particular ethnic group, nationality, or religion, society has a way of creating these cookie-cutter-type images of what we are supposed to look and act like. Even though these images are near-to-impossible to recreate, we are often brutally shamed for not meeting these expectations.

We see this in visual ad campaigns where female models are stick thin, oversexualized, and often being dominated by men, and where male models are tall, dark, and rugged, often sporting a six-pack and bulging muscles.  We see this when people of the LGBTQIA community are bullied and murdered for not dressing like the gender they were assigned at birth, for publicly holding hands with someone of the same sex, and for simply not having the desire to hold anyone’s hand. We see this when people are attacked both verbally and physically for identifying with a particular religion, when people of a certain race or ethnicity are targeted and not given the same opportunities as others simply based on the color of their skin, and we see it when people who happen to look similar to whomever is labeled as “the enemy” at that point in time are attacked. And as we know, we see this when the topic of mental health is pushed further and further down on the agenda and people are told that their conditions are “all in their heads,” that their dire needs cannot be met because “other people have it worse,” and that it’s “not as bad” as a physical health condition.

Article dear hope

Friendship, Storytelling, and Mental Health – What I Learned After My Friends Recent Passing

I had a close friend with mental illness who passed away recently.  She always talked about wanting to share her story, but never really had the opportunity to do so.  So I’m hoping to share at least part of her story for her, and in part the story of our friendship.  I met Unique when she was 15, as one of her camp counselors.  Somehow a friendly e-mail after camp turned into 14 years, thousands of hours on the phone, and a long-distance friendship that had more an impact on my life than anything I ever could have imagined.

When I first got to know Unique she was living at home in a very difficult situation and dealing with depression.  In the few years that followed, I watched her deal with worsening depression, her first suicide attempt, multiple psych hospitalizations, and moving into foster care, then a nursing home, and then eventually the first of many group home placements.  For the rest of her life after that, Unique moved into a series of group home placements all over the state.  Because she had a physical disability but didn’t have any cognitive disability, those placements meant that she was usually living with people who were much older than her, and much lower functioning than her, which brought along its own set of challenges.

For the first few years Unique was pretty stable.  She had her ups and downs, but she did the best she could to make a life for herself and make the best of the situation.  Eventually things started to go downhill – the suicidal feelings came back, she had her first psych hospitalization in years, and that started a whole new period of her life.  For the next few years it was a constant cycle of hospitalizations, dozens of them.  At one point she stopped making sense, which turned out to be her first episode of psychosis.  It lasted for a few months, and once she got through it and was more back to “herself” again, she had started to hear voices – constant, incessant voices that were shouting at her all the reasons she needed to kill herself and what a horrible person she was.  She was living in a very rural area at the time, and didn’t really have access to the supports she needed – the staff had no idea how to support her, and the hospitalizations just kept continuing.

dear hope

Introducing Amanda! Meet the Latest Dear Hope Team Member

Hello Everyone!

Today I’m excited to welcome Amanda Canale to the Dear Hope team as our Social Media Manager.

Amanda

Amanda

She has been hard at work the last two weeks rebuilding and growing our brand new Tumblr page and producing content for our social media platforms! You actually may have seen some of her awesome work on our Instagram that we’ve been sharing – but if not, allow me to introduce you to her images:

Article dear hope