MHAM Post #8: Jess

I met Jess (better known as Jschwa) through a friend a few years back. Knowing Jschwa has taught me that you can find comfort in people even when you’re not actively searching for it. Plus, it’s nice to know someone else who has an affinity for Tumblr the way I do (lol). 

I’m not even sure if her and I have ever actively shared our personal experiences with each other, but something in me just knew I should ask her to share her story, and I’m so glad I did. 

The way Jschwa writes is so poetic and I feel that her words and experiences have so much value. 

*I probably haven’t said it enough over the past week or so, but being this open and honest is terrifying. I have such a respect for everyone, including Jschwa, who has opened up about their darker moments simply in hopes of helping others. I couldn’t do this without you guys.*

Without further ado, here is her piece about loving and losing and finding some hope in the process: 

Growing up with a hole in your heart can pressure you to latch onto anything necessary in order for survival. All you knew was that something was missing and any way to fill the space was what had to be done. I can’t know for sure if this is why I began to let the darkness in, but I am sure that this is why I held onto it for so long.

My mother passed away from breast cancer when I was seven years old. I don’t remember much besides hiding in my room while adults tried to tell me how to feel, locking myself in the car when my dad tried to drag me to therapy before I was ready, and binge eating
whenever the pain became too much to bare.

By the time I was in high school I could still feel the emptiness I carried around but knew I wasn’t ready to make sense of it yet. I was not yet equipped to handle mourning my Mother but was drawn to a certain sadness that I could use to fill myself with for the time
being. Depression understood me at my worst and was always there for me in a way that I had refused to let anyone else be.

Back in September of this year, I found myself craving a better life for myself for the first time in probably my entire life. I was moving into a new apartment with a roommate I loved. I was starting a job at a company I admired in a field I was passionate about. After
years of failure, I had finally found the right mix of medication and therapy to armor me in my battle. I knew in my heart that I finally had the necessities to start becoming the person I had always aspired to be. It was time to let some of the darkness go and open my heart back up to someone who was pushed out many years earlier.

I could sit here and talk about the depth of pain from the depression, and the paralyzing fear of not knowing when the next anxiety attack would strike, but I’d rather write about what came next for me. I think one of the hardest parts about “getting better” is trying to
see yourself and learn about yourself as someone without depression, someone who deserves to be happy. For so long I clung to my depression and anxiety, letting it define who I was, letting it take up the empty space. It was warm and comforting in a way that I only knew because the only person who I had let in close enough to explain it to had been taken from me. I was left behind with a chemical imbalance that only she could have helped me navigate.

I was hesitant, as first, to begin the battle, and even after eight months of hard work, I still have days, even weeks, where I slip or indulge in my old habits of isolation and misery. All of these days are necessary to win the war, because that is still a part of who I am, but it is not the only person who I will let myself be. I’ve learned that instead of trying to fill the empty space that my mother had left, it makes more sense to finally mourn her death and let her reclaim that hole in my heart. It was always hers and always will be.

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