Life Hurts

Just two weeks ago, I had to promise three different people at three separate times that I wasn’t going to hurt myself. I didn’t, and I wouldn’t, because even at the deepest depths of my depression, I want to live. But I was low enough that three people who care about me very much asked me to assure them of my safety.

One week ago, I was surrounded by the best friends I only get to see once or twice a year, my blogging family. I completely and totally lost it in the emotional tempest that was Erika Napoletano’s keynote presentation. My imperfect self, my true self, stripped naked in front of the crowd. I wasn’t up on stage, but I felt like I was. I sobbed even after the speaking was over. My friends at the table were there for me. They said I could open up to them, that they wouldn’t judge me…but I couldn’t do it. I’m still not going to do it. There are other people involved, and it’s not just my story to tell. But my friends were there for me if I wanted to talk, and they were there for me if I didn’t.

It was cathartic. I needed that good, hard cry.

But my tears weren’t done yet.

I went home the next day and hugged my husband and son tight when they greeted me at the airport. I was so grateful to be home with them. It helped, but it didn’t make the hurt go away.

Once home, I had to confront my demons again. There was more pain, and not just for me. I hurt people I love. It was my fault, too. Life hurts too much sometimes, and in my own pain, I managed to inflict it upon others.

My psychiatrist has referred to “abandonment depression,” which seems odd to me, because my parents loved me and never hurt me when I was a child – not the norm when it comes to abandonment issues. No, I fear mine is a more existential problem. Childhood friendships that ended in betrayal again and again, realizing that I was “different” from other people, always wanting everyone to love me even though that’s impossible, every romantic relationship I had before I met my husband with guys who didn’t treat me well because I didn’t think I deserved to be treated well. Every so often, I act out, recreate the emotional trauma, and return to that comfortably uncomfortable place where I know where I stand. No one really made me feel this way – well, except for those bad friends and poor excuses for boyfriends. My mind does it to itself. Most people got over these little traumas when they were younger. Not me.

I’m terrified for my son, who seems to do some of the same things to himself. He hits himself in the head and calls himself stupid, saying that he deserves to be hit – even though no one in his life has ever hit him, and we tell him that no kid deserves to be hit, and that he is certainly not stupid. He hurts himself, both mentally and physically, because he feels he deserves it. No matter how much we tell him that we love him, and how proud we are of him just for being himself, he repeats the same thing back to me every time I try to tell him not to hit himself. I can’t take that away from him, no matter how much I want to. I can’t take it away from myself either, although my body’s aches and pains are a far more subtle and sinister way to inflict the physical pain than just hitting myself in the head.

And I don’t live in a vacuum. So I hurt others when I hurt myself. I accept the responsibility for that, for all the good that does. It doesn’t take away the scars, though.

I’m not looking for sympathy. I do want to say I’m sorry to those I have hurt, with words or actions, or lack thereof.

I’m trying to get better. To be better. Or at least to handle life better than I am now.

I’ve made mistakes. I’d like to make fewer of them. It’s all I can do.

Christina Gleason (887 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I’m a relatively high-functioning Aspie who also lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. I am not ashamed to admit that I am in the care of a psychiatrist, who assures me that people in therapy are often better adjusted than “normal” people who are not, because at least we know what our issues are and are working on them. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including World of Warcraft and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead. I have started writing no fewer than five novels, and I hope to finish one of them...eventually.



  1. My prayers and thoughts are with you. You are amazing! You deserve amazing things. I pray you find a way to work through your struggles and help your son. It’s all a journey. So glad you have a group of bloggers and feel supported at blog conferences. I loved meeting you at TypeA.

  2. Keep going with the therapy – it helps so much (I go). We all have “stuff” – every single one of us. You are ahead of the game because you are willing to acknowledge it and work on it (I knew I liked you!) My son and husband both have bipolar (among other things) and I have watched my son with the hitting himself (he used to punch himself in the face), it sucks to see it happen. Luckily he has outgrown that (18 now) – but I’m sure there is more internal right now with him that he still has to work on.

    Hang in there and know that those who love you do understand and you just acknowledging things makes them love you even more and be able to deal with things even more.

  3. So much of this post resonates with me. The hardest thing is watching your kid go through the same things you did.

    Glad to have met you at TypeA.

  4. Christina, this is not sympathy, this is me saying I’m truly sorry that you’ve experienced such hurt and that it seems to be cycling for you. I wish for you a ton of strength so you can find your way through this hurt and break the cycle, for yourself and your son. I’m glad you were able to cry safely. That sounds weird, but from someone who bawled through Erika’s keynote, as well, I think it’s a good thing. Huge hugs to you.

  5. I’m sorry our paths didn’t cross at Type-A. I would have just given you a hug and let you cry if you needed to. Sometimes we can’t say the things that are rolling around in our head – the demons are too scary to let out of the box. I get it – we all have them. Keep up your therapy, and don’t be afraid to try alternative treatments for your or your son – they’ve worked wonders for my depression and my young daughter’s anxiety and ocd issues. Best of luck to you.

  6. I wish I could hug you through the screen. Our paths have only recently crossed at Type A so I am just beginning to read your story. I’m not going to say that I understand how you feel because I can’t. I can however sympathize with what it like finding yourself in that deep, dark place. I was there this summer. I had to quit working because my health was declining rapidly. I became very depressed and anxious as a result but it was then intensified greatly due to the side effects of Cymbalta. It took me to a dark place within me that I didn’t know existed. My own thoughts began to scare me. Thankfully my husband was keeping a close eye and called me out on it and forced me to call my doctor or he would (or take me straight to the hospital). It is a very hard hole to crawl out of. I am slowly getting there. It sounds like you have your family and friends loving you and supporting you through it. You will be in my prayers! If you ever need to chat/vent/etc, please know that you can contact me anytime!

  7. Thank you all for your kind words and support. <3

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