It’s true, I am healing from consequences I experienced due to my choices as an adult. I’m not blaming everything on my childhood. A lot of my behavior was a result of the environment I grew up in, and I carried those behaviors with me as I entered middle school, then high school, then college, and even into my marriage. Bad behavior as an undermothered child transformed into some very nasty choices the older I got.
Love, acceptance, understanding, empathy, help – I needed all of these things all of the time and I expected close friends and boyfriends would give me theses things because that’s what people who really cared about me would do. One person will never be able to meet all of my needs, but I didn’t learn that until I was in my thirties. Which meant, my years as a teenager and as an unravelling twenty-something brimmed with many life-altering decisions.
Alcohol and drug abuse
These are the top five that come to mind. Each, of course, has its own long list of sub-choices and bulleted consequences. For my entire life, but especially in my twenties, I bundled all of my behavior and its ill results as “depression.” “I’m depressed.” “I suffer from depression.” “My depression.” And yes, I absolutely was depressed. But to gather all of the chaos in my life and attribute it to one emotion or mental condition only blanketed the countless individual wounds and trauma and experiences that led to my erratic, dangerous, self-harming life I was barely surviving.
Drinking whiskey all night and driving from party to party, purposely speeding and running red lights is not “depression.” Twenty-four hour cycles of drunk to hungover to drunk is not “depression.” Not knowing the name of every guy I slept with is not “depression.” But I was young, attractive, and in college so it watered down my truth: being an alcoholic, sleeping around, instigating fights, failing entire semesters, and living off of student loans. If you asked me what the hell I was doing, I would have said, “I’m trying to be happy and live a good life but it’s hard because I suffer from depression.”
Knowing I was at fault wasn’t the problem – I knew I probably shouldn’t be doing what I was doing. The problem was the part of me that was aware of my poor choices was hopeless, sad, depressed Kristin which meant I, a fully functioning adult capable of making good decisions, didn’t really ever take true responsibility. I was living a life that I thought a depressed person would live. And I expected people to not judge me or view me as anything negative. It’s like I thought everyone knew to go with the flow of my behavior because “I was doing the best that I could.”
I cannot reverse my behavior, and unfortunately I cannot erase the memories and judgements people have about me. I’m working to transform my guilt and shame and regret into self-love and grace. It has to be possible. I either dwell or move forward.
And if I never reach grace, if I ever cannot find the path to self-love, I will at least have made it as far away as possible to the alternative – self-hate, regret, anger, pain.
So my journey continues…