It took a while after Part One was posted before I was able to write Part Two. It’s extremely difficult to go back to the dark places where I once lived, so it takes me a while to get that courage back in order to do so. When I’m not actively thinking about these past experiences, I’m able to think of them as belonging to someone who no longer exists because I have grown past all of these things. Unfortunately, when I actually start writing them, I feel every ounce of pain and fear that I once felt as if I was still there. I know it’s irrational, but when is Depression ever rational? At any rate, here is Part Two of what is turning into a very long story.
I loved my boyfriend and we were together for two years. When we met he was so charming and had a smile that could make me melt every time I saw him. He called me his little girl and made me feel so loved, warm, and accepted. I couldn’t believe that I could find such a good looking guy who loved me just as much as I loved him. I really thought I could spend forever with him. Even when the emotional abuse started, I clung to him so hard that I felt like we would be branded together for all time.
He systematically isolated me from my friends and family, making me believe that they were trying to pull us apart. He said that he loved me so much that he would fight for me, and I believed him. I pulled away from my parents and friends to focus all of my attention on him. He was my happy place, but soon that happiness turned into an obsession. The love went away to be replaced with fear that he would break up with me, only to leave me all by myself because I had no one left. That depression that had reared its dark head during the mono was in total control of me. I was in such a dark place that I started having thoughts about wanting to kill my boyfriend and vividly saw myself driving a knife into his chest.
I made the terrible mistake of telling him about those feelings I was having, which lead to the relationship turning completely toxic. He got angry and pulled me into the kitchen, grabbing a butcher knife and shoving it into my hands. Then he started screaming at me to do it, to push that knife right into his chest and kill him. Even when I fell to my knees and put the knife down, crying so hard I could barely breathe, he stood over me screaming for me to pick the knife up and kill him. I was absolutely terrified that he was going to hurt me or say he never wanted to see me again, but he eventually calmed down and told me he loved me so much that he wanted to give me what I wanted – to see him dead.
Soon after that, he joined the Marines and was gone for about six months for basic training and his specialization school. I started to crawl out from under the rock he had placed on my shoulders to keep me chained to him and reconnected with my friends. That was when I started to realize that he was not trying to love me, he was trying to possess me. While he was at his specialization school, I sent him a letter and broke up with him. When he came home two weeks later, he came over and we sat by the pond in the backyard and talked. Somehow he convinced me that he would be better, that he truly did love me and knew he was showing it in the wrong way, so I took him back.
I went to college soon after that and moved into the dorms. He also went to college, but his school was a forty-five-minute drive away from mine so we didn’t get to see each other as often we would have liked. Still, we managed to make it work for a while. The inability to watch my every move was taking its toll on him and he started telling me that he was the only one who loved me, that he was the only one who could love me because I was unlovable. I was very lonely at college so I readily believed him. He was my life and I put him at the very center of everything and I thought he did the same for me. He even took me to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball!
It was at that ball that it hit me that I couldn’t do it anymore. I bought a sexy lingerie just for the occasion and spent the entire first day of the weekend by myself in our room while he hung out with his buddies. I specifically told him to not invite his friends into our room that night because I had a surprise for him. That didn’t seem to matter to him because he came back to our room late that night with about half a dozen of his buddies while I was laying on the bed wearing the lingerie. I. Was. Mortified. He not only disrespected my wishes, but he put me on full display for all of these men that I didn’t know. It wasn’t until he was sure that they all saw what he was getting that he finally kicked them all out. Then on the way home, he started belittling me in front of all of his friends, putting me down into my little pit he had carved for me to show how I was fully under his control. His “little girl” that he could lead around like a puppy on a leash.
I broke up with him the day after we got back home and this time I wouldn’t take him back. While I was determined to stay single, we still talked regularly and got together to hang out as friends. He still maintained that he was the only person who could ever love me and I still believed him, but I wouldn’t take him back. While I remained strong with him, I was falling apart everywhere else. College was not going very well and my depression was spiraling down further and further.
College…wow, where to begin on this one. College was a double-edged sword for me because, for the first time in my life, I was out from under my parents’ influence. This is not to say that I had bad parents, but they did shelter me a great deal and I was no way prepared for the real world without someone holding my hand all the way through it. At first, I loved all of the freedom it had to offer. I got my first credit card, decorated my dorm room exactly the way I wanted it, and I was going grocery shopping all by myself! This was the first time I could be my own person and act like a real adult; it seemed like everything was going my way.
While I thought things were going well, my rose-colored glasses were already starting to crack. My boyfriend was also set free on his own at the same time. He was a year ahead of me in school, but he spent his first year out of high school in Marine boot camp and his specialized training for his position there. I hoped that the Marines would pull his shit together, but as can be seen in the above section, it didn’t. If anything, he was worse than before. Then when I rushed a sorority, he didn’t even try to hold himself back. My future sorority sisters saw it with complete clarity, while I was still blind to it until it all came to a head and I broke things off.
While breaking up with that boyfriend was a very good thing for me to do, the damage he caused over a period of two years was already done and I started to fall apart. I stopped going to classes and found a fraternity that I really liked hanging out with. They introduced me to the wonderful world of heavy drinking and partying, a deep pool I jumped into with both feet and no water wings. I thought I was swimming and thriving when in truth I was slowly drowning. Alcohol became my lifeline and my go-to means of escape.
I was still rushing my sorority, the same sorority that both my mom and older sister joined because I thought that it was expected of me. Even when I was out on my own, I still let everyone else’s expectations fuel my actions. Though, if I had let any one of those girls in I know now that they would have helped me through everything I was fighting; I just didn’t know how to connect with them. It goes back to my childhood with the constant rejection and I subconsciously believed that no one could accept me because I was invisible to them. Somehow I was chosen to join, probably because of the fact that I was a Legacy and not on my own merits.
The second semester was even worse than the first. I didn’t even try to make the illusion that I was going to classes because I was too wrapped up in partying and drinking. I had been inducted into my sorority, but that didn’t mean anything to me because I felt invisible to the rest of the girls. Some of that was my own mentality, but also from one single instance when the January birthdays were announced at the first sorority meeting and my birthday wasn’t announced. They asked if they missed anyone so I raised my hand and I was asked when my January birthday was. “Today,” was my soft answer and our president wrote it down and seemed a little dismissive of it. It was a simple oversight but to my damaged mind, it felt like they didn’t care about me. I started pulling away from them even further.
My second semester saw me moving out of the dorms and into the sorority house so I was actually living with all of these girls, but I felt so damned lonely all of the time. I felt like an outsider and no one seemed to want to make the effort to pull me in anymore. And in that semester, I absolutely was invisible. This was the first time I started to feel like I wanted to hurt myself.
The House was over one hundred years old and still had an extremely old heating system. In my room, there was a heating grate in the middle of the floor. It got so hot that it melted the rubber bottoms of my slippers. When I was there alone I often laid next to that grate, holding my hand over its heat, and contemplated laying my face upon it while imagining the kind of scar it would leave. I knew it wouldn’t actually kill me but it would hurt me badly and I would be able to leave school. Looking back on it I wasn’t looking for a way to die, I was simply looking for an escape from the hell I didn’t realize I was in.
There was another instance where I went to a fraternity party and drank so much that I was falling down and unable to walk, much less drive home. Thankfully, this particular fraternity was full of respectful and just all around good guys so one of them drove me and my car home before he walked all the way back to his fraternity house, just to keep me safe. Once I was inside, however, I was too drunk to find my way into the bathroom. Instead, I went to the door that led to the stairs and started trying to go through it. The door was locked but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to get it open. My stumbling around woke up one of my sorority sisters and she ended up helping me to the bathroom where I ended up spending the night so I wouldn’t fall down the stairs and hurt myself. It was soon after that incident that my mom received my midterm grades.
This was at a time when Universities would send grades to their students’ parents instead of the students. I was failing every class because I wasn’t attending any of them. While I was at work, my mother called me on the restaurant phone and started yelling at me before telling me to pack up my car and come home the next day. This was probably what saved my life as I was in a free fall down into an abyss that I don’t know if I would have been able to pull out of. My mind was utterly shattered and finding a way to put it back together again was not something I knew how to do, so I dropped out of school and went home. It wasn’t the best solution, but it was a solution that I desperately needed.