This post is really hard for me to write but I want to write it anyway because it has been brewing in my head for months, years even and I have not written it for reasons even I don’t know.
The last two days were parents’ days at my school. That means a Friday of classes with parents and a Saturday of conferences. This inevitably brings me back to my parents. Spending 18 hours with other people’s parents make you think of yours. My parents are amazing. Beyond amazing even. I mean, hey, they made me and I’m pretty alright.
When people meet me they get the (incorrect) impression that I am an extrovert. This tends to come from the fact that I can talk to anyone, that I love kids, and that I smile in social situations. I get this from my parents. My mother who is an extrovert and my father who though we mock often really can talk well with anyone. In fact, as a child and up until the age of 19 I was an extrovert. I was loud, silly, and the center of the universe. I am no longer an extrovert. At the age of 19 my personality was irreversibly changed.
I got (contracted? became? was? am?) depressed. I have mentioned this before, I sometimes mention it in public because it’s nothing I am ashamed of. It’s not a secret. I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m not broken, or damaged. I am awesome me. I am though, a different person then I was before I became depressed. I think more, I notice more, and I require more alone time. (Sometimes a challenge in boarding school.)
I spoke with a mother today who’s daughter is experiencing in high school what I went through in college. And I thought about my mom. I have seen mothers of infants freak out at the smallest scrape, bump, or bruise. I have seen mothers of elementary students yell at teachers because their child’s feelings were hurt. This is not my mother. My mother is tough as nails and doesn’t allow for nonsense. My mother can also do anything. Need a playhouse built? Done. A halloween costume in one night? Done. A five course meal for 10? No problem. You broke it? She’ll fix it. She is nothing if not uber competent.
But she couldn’t fix me. At 19 I was in pieces everyday. While I was still away at college I called every hour. I called her school during lunch. I called the minute school got out. I cried. I cried. I cried. I was unfixable. Then she told me I could come home. I did. Then I cried. I cried. I cried. But she couldn’t fix me.
As I sat and listened to the mother today all I could think about was my mom. I know that depression was hard on me, I was there, I felt it. But I cannot begin to comprehend how hard this was on my mom. A fever is cured with tylenol. A bad day? Ice cream and a hug. But depression? Your mom just can’t fix that and as much as that sucks for you. She can’t no matter what she does take away your pain. Think it’s hard on you? It’s probably harder on your mom.
When I gave my speech three weeks ago and mentioned depression and happiness it really resonated with this student to the point that she felt better for a bit. She talked to her mom, her advisor, and me. And though I know I can’t fix her (or anyone) I wanted to write this post to say, it got better. I may be different now, I may value my alone time more, I may not love huge social events but I like this me. I am better. I got better. And I hope my mom understands that she helped fix it.