beyond the green: collective of middlebury voices

a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications

I am very good at looking like “I am fine.”

[TW Suicide, Self-harm] My history with mental health started in the womb. I was raised by a mother who was deeply damaged by sexual abuse as a child. I learned self-hatred at a young age and the struggle with depression stayed with me for many years. It is still with me, it is a part of who I am. But that part of me feels like a painting on the wall, a memory. I see it and I honor that it has made be stronger. Sometimes it is all I can see but I know the signs and triggers enough to keep it from consuming me. I am fortunate that I made it, because not everyone does. I’m not sure college made it any different other than I was lucky to have a strong support system in friends and classmates. And many of those people had the same struggles, made serious attempts to end their lives or worse succeeded. In college there were numerous trips to the hospital to take someone who needed help, to visit someone who had made an attempt, or late night talks to talk someone out of making the decision. Wrapped wrists and empty bottles of pills…stomachs pumped…pain…so much pain. I remember a time when a friend saved me. She suffered with bi-polar disorder and she looked in my eyes and knew that I was in deep. She pulled me out simply by acknowledging and letting me know I wasn’t alone. I only wish I could have done the same for her. Years later she dove off a bridge and took her life. We all felt guilt that we should have done more. My experience with mental health has mostly been with the hidden conditions that are invisible to the external world. And this is the danger; we can’t see it unless we know it personally or unless we get better at listening and seeing people. I mean really seeing them. And that takes energy and patience and care. I am very good at looking like “I am fine.” I do not easily volunteer information about my personal life, or about my history with depression. I honestly can’t believe I am volunteering this information now. But it does feel cathartic and maybe someone will find solidarity in knowing they are not alone. We are all suffering. We all feel deeply. And that needs to be valued.

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This entry was posted on January 31, 2016 by in Mental Health and tagged .
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