I have struggled on and off with depression since my mother first got sick when I was 6. For much of elementary school I neither laughed nor cried.
It mostly took the form of a deep emptiness. A deep dark ache that had no energy for tears. Self-loathing was most assuredly part of it but it was the same kind of depression my father lived with.
Most of my fears from those times were about incompetency. I was afraid that I would fail. Some of it was body image related, but really that was about being acceptable. Other people could be overweight or imperfect and be beautiful, but I was such a weak person that only a perfect outside could compensate.
After the first baby was born, the depression went to another level of self-hatred. I hated all things feminine.
My faith tradition had motherhood as the ultimate of femininity. So, the highest calling of a woman was to have children. And I had a girl child. What was the point? Eventually a male child would be born who could do something else, I guess.
These thoughts and other irrational woman-hating ideas plagued me. (Add this to not getting more than 4 hours of sleep in a row for nearly a year! Maybe the two are related.)
It was the worst on Sunday mornings. As we biked to church I would be filled with such a loathing of my female self that I wished I would get hit by a truck to remove my blight from the world. I honestly believed the world would be better off without women in general and me in particular.
My husband thought that my reluctance to go to church was just spiritual warfare and a demonic attack to keep me from god. I think it was my entire self reacting to the messages of subtle misogyny that were preached nearly every Sunday.
One Sunday, on Mother’s Day ironically, I made it to church and could not walk in. I lay on the floor in the bathroom writhing in pain.
“God, help my despicable self” I gritted out, as I had done countless times.
My husband, concerned, came in and announced we would just go home. We got back outside and the cloud of oppression lifted slightly. Maybe that was my answer 🙂
This went on until winter when I started taking EMPower Plus, saw a life coach, started looking for work and decided to go back to school. I also stopped reading the bible. Things got so much better!