How Great News Can Lead to Depression

Last semester a favorite professor of mine told me she was assembling a few students to create a panel for Scholars Day and asked if I would be interested in joining hers to present research. I had no idea what that meant, but words like “scholar” and “panel” and “research” sounded huge and important and I was honored that she thought of me.

Turns out, it’s a pretty big deal. The biggest deal at my school, and it is most certainly an honor to be asked and [ultimately] accepted, especially considering the people accepted are generally within the top 3% of students. Plus the incentive is high also–as it will look great on my transcript and there are some pretty substantial scholarships to be had.

I didn’t think I could be in the top 3% of students. I mean, I’ve been on the dean’s list every semester I’ve been back as an adult and last semester I [finally!] got a 4.0.. but top 3%? Turns out I’m not. My first few semester’s were straight Cs [except for my English classes], and I very nearly failed. So what changed? I’ve always been intelligent, but I simply didn’t care. At all. About anything. Especially myself and my well being and my state of mind.

I spent years afterward [very reluctantly] delving into those feelings in order to learn to love myself. Cheesy as it sounds, it’s 100% true. I wasn’t motivated to do as well as I could then simply because I believed in my heart that I was a worthless and unlovable human, unwanted by even her parents and therefore useless garbage.

I don’t feel that way any longer. Sometimes I have those old feelings crop up, but they aren’t my integrated belief system and don’t produce the dark perspective on life as they did then. I know they aren’t real anymore. I believe I’m okay now. I believe I am lovable.

Fittingly my research is based on the transference of shame from parents and society onto children, and the cyclical stagnation that stems from that transference. And today I heard back that one of the schools I sent my proposal to [I’m entering two]. They’ve accepted it. I’m so proud! I called my best friend, texted my support group, roommate and neighbor and they are all super happy for me. A few of them even asked to come, I felt so loved.

It’s not enough. My mind raced to think of all the other people I should tell and collect their praises–aunts, uncles, brothers, sister, grandparents… parents. I want to call my parents and share my accomplishment. I want them to join in my excitement and act like the “ideal” parents trapped deep inside the subconscious of their uncaring bodies. I desperately want them to be proud. The pain of wanting this is acute–sharp, lightning needles bleeding my unprotected heart. Their word’s have the ability to fracture my whole psyche.

It’s funny. I thought I was past this. It’s not really funny at all, I just say that to protect myself from those lightning pain needles, it’s really tragic. I am a canyon of disappointment.

You might think I should call them. That maybe they’d be different this time. Maybe God has worked a miracle in their hearts and pieced them back into whole people who are capable of loving their daughter. And maybe He will. Someday. I hope so Truly. My greater hope is found in letting go of them, however. In building relationships with people who can give and receive love. Who can accept me and themselves as flawed, and choose to love regardless. Who can help inject my heart with warm connection and mend the places blackened by unconscionable pain.

The thing is, if their hearts had changedI literally believe their conscious wouldn’t allow them to continue devalidating my feelings by feigning ignorance, they would’ve been moved to make amends or suffered a psychotic break.

I so wish things were different with my parents. I don’t think they ever will be. I am okay outside of them, but I really wish I didn’t have to be. In this moment my soul aches.


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