“The tools had been delivered to me during a wellness assembly put on to help kids learn safety tips to help save lives. I wonder to this very day if anyone else was reading the wrong message as I had; learning how to die, and how to mask the evidence should my overdose not take. Because in the end the last thing I wanted to happen was to survive and have my parents be mad with me.
Daydreaming about how I would overdose was how I spent the remainder of the day. Nothing else mattered, my mind was made up, I was going to die. I was going to head to heaven and be happy in a life outside of this daily charade. Church taught me that God would accept me for who I was, that was where I wanted to be. Anywhere but here. Anywhere from the bullying, the groping, the yelling, screaming. In this world I was nothing but an ugly, fat, stupid-cunt, whore. At 10 year’s old, I had been thrown into a negative cesspool without anyone to help, despite asking for an adult to care. To listen. I was taught that my actions were lies for attention. I was taught that when I needed help the most, no one cared.
Planning the overdose took some restraint. Rummaging through my family’s medicine cabinet for pills was hard to do without looking suspicious or guilty. Reading the labels proved feeble. How was I supposed to know which chemicals would cause my organs to fail, my heart to stop, and for my life to end? Tylenol was on the chart, yet, my parents gave this to me whenever I had a headache or fever. Ibuprofen was mentioned, but didn’t seem too dangerous. Then there was a bunch of packages I had no idea about. Advil, Allegra, Benadryl all stared back at me, the packaging claiming they would stop runny noses, itchy eyes, and headaches. Only the Advil seemed serious, claiming it was the “Number One Doctor Recommended Brand To Prevent Heart Attack.” I didn’t want to prevent, I wanted to cause. That was moved aside. Apparently overdosing wasn’t as simple as the assembly had made it seem.”.
I have been working on my book for the past few days with a new energy to take it in a fresh direction. Cuts, re-writes and barbaric editing have begun, and while I usually loath this part of the writing process; this time around I am loving it. Above is a chunk of the first draft that I am choosing to omit from the final, deeming it unnecessary, choosing to re-view that point my life with a new perspective. Speaking with Jonathan yesterday I revealed how my book is not about my eating disorder; it’s about my depression, my life. Here I have been trudging away on this memoir for just over 12 months now, and I am just beginning to understand what it is I am truly writing about, and how my life has changed over the years because of the depression which has never left, never been cured, and I doubt ever will. Realizing how my disorder was adopted as one of the many cruel methods of coping; an honesty I have had trouble coming to terms with for nearly half of my life.
It was an interesting epiphany to have while reading chapters of my life, to suddenly realize that my illness is rooted somewhere much murkier, deeper, than I originally perceived. When I read my journals I tend to adopt the emotions that were projected during that time, thus, I don’t always perceive or acknowledge the deeper construct to that date, time, and event. My mind chooses to take on that memory with the same pain or emotion I had in that moment of time. It’s hard to really view my life through my journals with a “clinical” aura, because, well, if you haven’t noticed, I tend to write with a lot of passion. And when I re-read my entries, I tend to turn right back into that woman; the one broken and consumed by her negative emotions.
Yet, when I read chapters of my life to which I am constructing for a global audience of strangers to wade through, feel, and regard; I seem to see myself in a new light. I read the words I have written, yet, I can’t connect myself as me, rather, as a character in a non-fiction novel that is brand new to me. A woman I can help to deconstruct and piece back together. A woman I can help to navigate through the woes she has been through. A woman I can say “It will get better” too, someone who I want to help push through their traumas and build a better future. It was a rather surreal moment for me yesterday when the pieces began to fall into place, and I finally found the direction I needed this book to head into, as well as learning to view my life in a whole other paradigm. I went off to Jonathan about this new direction while we were driving home from work, my hands flailing about trying to keep up with the dialogue being forced from my mouth. The rain hitting the canvas roof of the Jeep, him sitting in the passenger seat watching my performance of communication paired with chauffeur flair. His silence indicated he was either horrified that I was behind the wheel, or he was completely lost in the excitement of my new found understanding and acceptance of my life. He just sat there, smiled, and nodded as I raced through the ideas surging into my mind during the 15 minute ride home.
“What do you think of it, Jon? What is your criticism of the book or what do you think needs to happen?”
“Nothing Meghan. It’s really good, actually, and I think people need to know about it. You have a lot to say and have been through a lot. It’s shocking to read and know about it, but I think people need to be aware of what happens.”
It’s true, in a sense. I posted last night in my online journal on Daily Strength - an online support group (one I was kicked out of two years ago…) – that I feel as though it’s my obligation to share my life, my struggles, and my experiences with mental illness, to the public. To be silent is to accept the current misconception that the illness will disappear, that we are stronger on our own, that being mentally ill is to be deemed crazy, psychotic, and a danger to others. I am not a danger to others, and my mental illness does not make me less of a human than those who are deemed “successful” and “accomplished”. My illness makes me just as equal as you. For me, I want to be vocal and to share my life to let others know it is possible to find acceptance in yourself, to find a love and confidence for who you are as an individual, and to never be afraid to be different.