I just want you to know who I am


I remember the first time I cried out for help from my depression. I remember the first time I held out my hand. It was 2001 and I was 14 years old. I had braces complete with rubber bands that snapped across the room when I spoke and no sense of style. Exhibit A: school picture from that year. Again, I was so young and naive to many things. I read my poetry from back then, and some of it breaks my heart even now for a much younger me. 14 is far too young to plan out a suicide. 14 is far too young to hold a razor blade in your hand, and makes imprints on tender white skin. I still have those scars. I still see them daily. I still weep for my younger self. But the first time I reached out for help, besides posting on internet message boards that I was broken, hurting, and scared, before emailing my youth pastor and telling him what an inner hell I lived in… was to write a poem, and give it to my Sunday school teacher. This is that poem:

The pain that grips my youthful heart
Rips me up, tears me apart
The tears that brim in my young eyes
Might come to you as a surprise
I cannot handle the pain
Not the tears that fall like rain
The dull, study ache that’s settled deep down
The heavy burden that I carry around
But I hide the pain-I hide the tears
I hide the saddness, I hide my fears
Nobody understands, and I feel like nobody cares
And all I can do is say some simple prayers
I just don’t know, I gotta get it out
I cannot take this burdern about
No one to turn to, all I can do is cry
No one who’d care if I should die
I’m about ready to use it, I don’t know what to do
I guess all I can do is turn to you

I left the spelling errors intact. It didn’t seem right to correct them. A month after giving this to my sunday school teacher, I had the police at my school to talk me out of suicide. My parents were blindsided. They had no idea I was so hurting, so broken. I hid it well. I learned that lesson at 14 years old: how to completely hide my pain. How to retreat within myself, how to throw up walls so high that no one could enter, not even myself. I learned how to perfect my facade, how to live within myself. To smile and laugh, and act like I was fine. But the truth is I wasn’t. The truth is I was broken. I recently found this snippet of a poem from back then, and my heart broke. I wept.

Just wanna die, just wanna die
Tired of just wonderin’ why
Wanna die, wanna be in my grave
Too scared and afraid to wave
Wanna be strong wanna be brave

I was 14. I hadn’t lived yet. I had no idea what I would face later in my life, that I would make such painful decisions at age 18 and again at age 21. I didn’t know that I would continue to spiral deeper into depression, bounce from counselor to counselor, and have labels such as PTSD and EDNOS slapped on me. That just one cut would turn into a lifelong addiction, and every day is a daily battle to not lapse back into it. I had no idea.

It’s scary. I just want to go back and hold my younger self, to tell her at age 24 she’d finally be pulling herself out of all this crap. That she’d finally start approaching the other side, that there’s hoping waiting for her. I was fourteen. I shouldn’t have felt like this… and yet I did.

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