Anna Wild: A Depression Memoir, Part I

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This article series was written by Anna Wild. She explains how the circumstances in which she grew up lead her into the dark world of self-harm and depression.

I was born 25 years ago to two loving parents who couldn't see eye-to-eye and couldn't agree to disagree. They divorced when I was nine months old. My mother gained sole custody of me, and we moved in with my grandparents when I was still a baby. Theirs was the first house I remember living in.

I was an only child for at least two years before my first cousin came along. I was doted on, spoiled, smothered at times. I couldn't have asked for more love. But, of course, every family has its problems. See, the reason my mom left my dad was due to his tendencies to side with alcohol when it came to marital disagreements. My dad later claimed that he was pressured into marriage and that he wasn't exactly thrilled with the arrangement either. So, for argument's sake, the feeling was mutual.

Feeling Guilty and Not Fitting In

But because they now had a child together, there was reason for the lawyers to get involved. Soon, rivalry and hate were the foundations of my parents' relationship. Now, I have never blamed myself for my parents’ divorce. How could a nine-month-old be responsible for that? However, I did blame myself for them hating each other. After all, if I wasn't around, they would have never had to speak to each other again.

Despite some of the guilt I felt about my parents when I was a child, I had a relatively normal childhood with a relatively normal upbringing and a relatively normal temperament. I never did bond extremely well with my peers, but this was not for lack of trying. I was just always a bit of a square peg in a round hole. It wasn't until high school that this "uniqueness" showed its dark side.

When I began high school, I tried to fit in with the same group of kids I'd been trying to fit in with all through elementary school. I tried out for some of the extracurriculars, but I didn't make the cut. I tried to make new friends with the cool kids, but somehow I always felt I was the butt of their jokes because I wore the wrong clothes or my mom didn't make enough money or I wasn't skinny enough - typical teenage bullshit.

Lifting Guilt, Shame and Anxiety Along with My Inhibitions

I was trying so desperately to belong somewhere, and that's when I started hanging out with all of the kids that parents want their own kids to stay away from. I quickly took up drinking, smoking and drug use as a way to prove myself to my new crew, but what began as a way to fit in soon became a way to escape the realities that had haunted my subconscious my whole life; guilt, shame and anxiety were lifted along with my inhibitions. Drugs and alcohol were a reprieve from the world I was forced to live in but hated being a part of.

By the end of grade eight, I was a full-fledged smoker, regular binge-drinker and pot-smoker. I also lost my virginity that year - the same night that I got drunk for the first time ever. I don't remember my first time or my second. All I remember is that all of a sudden sex, along with the drugs, became a way for me to escape out of reality into a world where males told me I was beautiful in exchange for a blow job. My confidence had never been higher. At school, I was bullied relentlessly. I was called a slut and a whore. Girls threatened to hurt me. One time I was threatened to have my head smashed in with an iron pipe. It was awful.

By the end of grade nine, I was almost failing school and had been suspended for getting into trouble with the law. My mother was at her wits' end. My father was mainly absent. The only hope was a new start at a new school, so I changed schools and started fresh.

Click here to read Part II.


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