I’ve always had a great life. My parents got divorced when I was 5 and I always say it was the best thing that could have happened because my mum and I were best friends. We didn’t have much but I never felt like I was without. She taught me to be goal oriented, hardworking, rule abiding, to value experiences and relationships over material things, to give back and help others because no matter how little we may have had others were always worse off, to love and care for others deeply, and to be confident and strong. Throughout high school I was and honors student, tri-sport athlete, assistant manager at my part time job, friends with everyone, involved in clubs and volunteering.
Life is perfect, right? What people didn’t see is I battled anorexia, often took way too much NyQuil when I wasn’t even sick, lost my virginity at 14 to my first boyfriend because I wanted to be loved so badly but then he cheated on me leaving me alone and feeling worthless, and my mum trusted me so much she’d leave me and my friends with the house to myself on weekends to be with her boyfriend but all I really wanted was her and struggled with depression from the idea of her abandoning me like I always felt my father did.
I applied to just one prestigious college and got accepted no problem and given almost a full ride due to being from a poor single parent household. Again, very involved in clubs and volunteering, graduated with honors and a great job in finance, met the love of my life(and my little love of my life- his son!) and had a great group of friends.
Life is perfect, right? What people don’t know is pressure of school and work was so overwhelming that I began to suffer from panic attacks and mental breakdowns. I began therapy and realized my abandonment issues made me feel not good enough and that transferred over to the fear of not being good enough in school or work or relationships and overworking myself until I would break. It also was the reason I previously battled with my eating disorder and was still overly critical of my physical appearance.
Over the next 4 years I got my MBA, we bought a house, got married, and I was promoted multiple times.
On my honeymoon last October I found out I would be laid off in March. March I got laid off and had trouble finding a new job. June our son was diagnosed with autism which brought a flood of emotions that needs an entire post by itself but most of all I felt lost and as though I was unable to provide him with the support he needed. I gained 30 pounds from stress/emotional eating. By the summer we were barely making ends meet and so I took a job with a pay and title cut with a boss who doesn’t respect me and makes it her mission to ridicule me daily. Once I started working again we began trying to conceive only to find we have fertility issues. This is the first time in my life that my mum, husband, of friends have noticed I am overwhelmed... but guess what... they all remind me that “your life is too perfect to be depressed” ... I have a great marriage, healthy family, a roof over my head,a job and people have it worse than me and would give anything to have my life.
Well, life doesn’t feel perfect, and the pressure to hide my feelings from them all in order to remain perfect sinks me into the darkest depression. I cry whenever I’m in my car or house alone. I have panic attacks almost every morning on my way to work. I binge eat every night after work then feel like shit about myself. I feel like me and my body are not good enough because I haven’t been able to get pregnant. I constantly worry if my son’s needs are all being met.
I fantasize about breaking up my happy home and shedding the responsibilities of a domesticated life. Running away and starting over. I constantly feel hopeless and wonder if I should instead just give up because I’ll never be perfect and maybe never be happy.
And then I take a deep breath and look at my son, my light, sleeping preciously and so for him I must keep going.
My point in my post is that while although someone’s life to many may seem like one that is perfect, it could just be an image that is truly hiding some incredible darkness and keeping that person struggling to continue.
Find your light and follow it.