This is very personal.
Ok so I just read this article on The Cut about 25 women talking about their anxiety and depression. And to my surprise there are so many women among them I really really admire. Amy Tan, one of my favourite novelists, Princess Diana, J.K. Rowling, and many more.
How do I roll this out. I grew up hating myself. A lot. I knew I did not fit in, and it didn't bother me. What bothered me though, was that I never felt appreciated by my family & friends. I never felt loved. I firmly believed that I was not loved. I read a lot of books as a child. No matter whether it was books for children or adults, I'd read them all. Hence from a very young age I had this understanding of life, love and situations, that others my age did probably not care about. When I was 10 I read my first series of manga on homicide, suicide, bullying, physical abuse, rape, drugs. The title in German was Confidential Confessions. I realised quite early that life is not just all good. That there are people who suffer. That there are good and really really broken people in the world. I fled myself into these topics because I felt unloved. I wanted confirmation that my feelings are real, because nobody else was able to validate them for me. I had my first depression when I was 12. Once again my mom and brother did something to make me feel really unvalued and sad. I took my eyeliner, painted my eyes black, listened to Evanesence's "Wake Me Up Inside" and cried my heart out. I cried until I felt empty. From then on my depressions based on the feeling of being unloved, turned into self-hatred and self-destruction. I spent my whole teens, up till I was 21, thinking that I want to die every time my depressions hit me. I cut myself, I would dig my nails into my skin until I started bleeding, I would drink myself happy and above all, I really really hated myself. Because deep inside I knew that I should appreciate my life and that it's not that bad. I wasn't capable of realising that my parents love me. I couldn't be distanced because when I was 13, my mother told me while she was drunk, that she wished that she had never given birth to me. Seven years later when my sister Cookie was just born and I helped my mom with everything, she took the words back. But she never apologised. And she never realised what a fucked up person she made me for ten years, because of those words. I knew I wasn't an outstanding child. I wasn't as loving, cheerful and funny as my little brother. I always had an air of indifference like I don't care about anything. But that was not a reason for a child to deserve that kind of ignorance.
I had my first boyfriend when I was 14. The feeling of falling in love for the first time. To really want to give somebody you all. And then all the hopes being shattered by reality. Lovesickness and all that crap contributed to my depression. If I have a daughter, I wouldn't want her to fall in love too early because I would want her to know how to appreciate herself first in order to know what she wants or needs. I would want to save her from the heart break too early. Anyway, after the first break up I got fat. I ate and ate and ate and ate. Even now every time I'm in a down mood, I gain weight super easily. I get fat and that makes me hate myself even more. Most of my teenager years just revolved about gaining & losing weight, self-hatred, expression, capturing moments and finding excuses not to go to school. One thing I must say I really appreciate. My down moods made me feel an urge to create. I wanted to express those negative feelings. So I blogged and took photos. I tried to capture those moments. I spent hours staying awake at night, thinking, crying, writing. Even today I still have all my older blog entries.
My whole life I have never had anyone to protect my feelings or to take away pain from me. It took me a really really long time to overcome my self-hatred and to love myself. No other person was capable of saving me except for myself. It was around that time when I started Floralpunk. For the first time in my life, I got a feeling of achievement and accomplishment. Money started to come in and revenue grew, I started working really hard and I felt so good. Of course a lot of fears and depression were still involved, even until this summer, but right now I must say, that I feel rather good. I have achieved more than I thought I'd ever achieve. And you might think every thing is perfect but let me tell you this.
Even nowadays I still get depressions and anxiety attacks every now and then. Sometimes I still feel inferior, fat and hate myself. Sometimes I still feel like I'm incapable of loving and being loved. But the difference is, that I just accept it. I feel really bad and lost while it lasts, but once it stops, I work harder than ever before. My depressions are an essential part of me. They have contributed to my success just as any other characteristics of mine. The hardest part was simply realising what you want to do, and that you really want to work hard on it. That way, even if depressions hit you, you still have a path to walk on. And there is always hope. So don't ever give up on yourself. Life goes on, it really does, no matter what.
Disclaimer: I love my family a lot. My mom simply had to deal with a lot of her own shit so it was hard for her too, to have a daughter like me. It wasn't until I did my internship in Vietnam when I was 18, that I learned the word "thong cam". Everything changed after my mom got pregnant again. I started to "thong cam" for everything she has ever done to me and started being able to see things from her perspective and to accept and love her for who she is. She was 40 and pregnant again, hey. I just really wanted to support and love her. Nowadays we still argue a lot, but it's simply because we are so so different.
a random quote from my personal tumblr out of 2011
"i just feel so so tired and exhausted. from life. i feel so burdened and every second i try to fight this imaginary feeling in my head, but that again takes so much energy… i know i shall just enjoy life, not think too much but but but… do you have any idea how hard it is to suppress something basal of your personality day by day ? this pressure by society… to laugh and smile all the time and to be happy and optimistic… and to get along with everybody… i can adapt but its all not me.. in fact i dont mind hanging with my best girl only for days, doing nothing productive and bathing in self-pity… but if people knew what we do when we are by ourself… i can picture the despising looks i would get haha… of course iam also a happy person. but the point is.. its just so tiring being happy all the time.. for me sheer impossible. sometimes my other side just breaks out. and i cry and cry and cry and just long for someone to hold me and understands me but then again.. do you know how fucking hard it is to find someone who can handle your pleasant and unpleasant sides ? and thats when the self hatred starts. because i know i must not be weak. must not show my weakness. because i know that, except for my best girl, no one is going to care about what i think or why i cry.. they will try consoling me but not because they care but for the purpose of stopping me from crying… i really hate showing that side of myself. iam scared of showing that side of me. gosh, sometimes i really think iam just pathetic. like now."