TW: suicide, self-harm, depression
For several years I have defined my own worth by someone else’s opinion of me; someone else’s love for me. After six years of depression, self-loathing and self-harm, I got myself help. I got into therapy and got on medication. But not for myself, for this person. For other people too, sure, but for this person more than anything. They say you will only get better when you want to, you will only recover if you do it ‘for yourself’. But I didn’t. The only thing that got me through that period of darkness, that thick blanket of hate and sadness that numbed my life for so long, was that one person. I did it for them and for others. Not because I wanted to live, but because they wanted me to, and I couldn’t bring myself to put them through anymore pain.
When that person left me without warning, without reason, and didn’t look back, I plummeted down again. But I stayed afloat because there was a glimmer in the future that they might come back and be my friend, or they might ask about me, and if they found out I was hurting again, they’d feel guilt. They should feel guilt, but I didn’t want them to. So I stayed happy, I tried. I stayed strong because in the future when they came back, I didn’t want to have let them down.
But in these past few weeks I have realised that months have gone by without them thinking about me, or asking about me. I realised that I haven’t heard their voice in four months. I realised that I had been staying alive for them and them alone, and now they wouldn’t even know if I were still alive, so why try? Why try and stay alive when the only reason to stay alive had given up on me? They gave up on me, so why couldn’t I do the same? Why did I have to keep being so fucking strong and trying to be okay when there was no point. Two whole years of being self-harm free, a couple of months without medication… It all almost slipped down the drain.
Last night I was sat there, sobbing into my webcam, tablets scattered in front of me, and a way out only moments away. But months of training, and trying, did not want to make this easy for me. So I reached out. I texted my best friend – one of only two people who has never given up on me, and who I trust fully – and asked her if she’d be sad if I was gone. I couldn’t explain why I needed that validation, or what was happening to me, but a tiny sliver of me deep down knew I needed it. She of course replied and talked me out of the situation I’d been put in. But in that moment, I felt so utterly worthless, I almost forgot that there are some people left who would care. They’re not the one person I wish cared, but they’re people nonetheless, and I love them.
For years I dedicated my entire existence to making this person happy, and at the time my only way to get better was to do it for them, so when they left naturally I had no reason left. I still feel like that. I still wish I could go back years and never meet them, because then they wouldn’t have talked me off that ledge and made me feel worth something. But I can’t turn back time. As much as they have destroyed me, and put me back months of recovery, and made me feel worse than I ever have… as much as they have broken my heart and completely incinerated my trust and belief in practically everything… I’m still standing. I’m still here. And there are other people who care about that.
I let myself get so lost in someone I thought would stay forever, someone whose promises have long faded, and I let her define my worth. She is why I started trying again, and I thought she’d stay until I was trying for me, but she didn’t. She’s gone, and she’s made it clear she isn’t coming back. She is why I started trying, but there are other reasons to try now. I have gotten myself to that point – I have, not her – and there are other reasons, and other people to try for until I can try for myself. I am sorry I neglected them for so long.
I’m still a long way from being fully recovered, but I am still walking forward. It’s small steps now, but that is okay because for the first time in seven years, I have time.