The D Word

I hate the d word.


It came up recently because my primary doctor put Major Depression on my record. And I, of course, flipped my emotional shit.

Because that word has such painful connections for me.

And sure enough, for the last week, the memory of my father has been playing over and over in my head. I’ll give you a reason to be depressed. Pain. Pain was all I felt. And then I felt nothing at all.

I genuinely believe a piece of me died that night. In all these years I have never been able to get over it. I still can’t hear the word depressed without hearing him yell at me. I can still feel my head hitting the wall. I can still hear myself begging him to stop. Fifteen years ago and it still plays like it’s happening now.

And I’m afraid of that label. I responded in anger when my therapist asked me what was wrong. “I’m not depressed! I fucking hate her!”

My therapist made the connection rather quickly on why I was against that diagnosis.

“If I were to pick up the DSM right now and flip to, let’s say, Persistent Depressive Disorder, would you say you wouldn’t fit that diagnosis? You wouldn’t fit under Major Depressive Disorder?”

“No, because I function just fine and I’m not impaired so therefore I don’t qualify for those diagnoses. And while I’m at it, I don’t qualify for DID, either.”

“I’m not talking about functioning just yet. Aside from functioning.”

I hesitated. I grumbled to myself. “Fine,” I said, “I fit every criterion. Every. Single. Criterion.”

“And while you do get up in the morning and go to work, and go to school, you’re not functioning all the way like you think you are. You are good in some areas, and really severely impaired in others.”

“I’m not depressed.”

“We don’t have to call it that. We can come up with another word for it if you want. But you can’t deny that it doesn’t fit. And I know that you know that.”

Damnit. Sometimes I hate being smart. I do know that. But I want to live in denial. Let me live in sweet denial.

Denial. That’s a d word I can handle.

The ball

Yesterday was interesting.

I was planning to come home after work and start writing my essay for grad school. While I was working, I hit my head on a display. I ended up with a tremendous headache and I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on writing anything. I knew if I went home, I’d go to sleep and that wasn’t good, either.

So after work, I decided to go to the toy store. I told the littles inside that they can pick out something small to play with. I quickly realized that it was just like being in a toy store with children. Someone was very excited and wanted just about everything we saw. I had to explain a few times that we could only get one thing, and it couldn’t be the giant stuffed dinosaur that was on display.

After 20 minutes or so, I realized we were never going to settle on one toy. I compromised by saying they could each pick out a smaller stuffed animal. After another 10 minutes, we ended up with a pink elephant, a troll (not sure who wanted that – it’s not cute), and Sully from Monsters, Inc. I also picked up something for a friend and ended up walking out of the store with a huge bag of stuffed animals. Everyone seemed happy, so it was worth it.

I came home, changed my bedding, and lined up the new toys on the bed. Someone didn’t like the arrangement and I had to switch things around a few times, but now there’s a menagerie of stuffed toys across my bed. Everyone seemed happy.

Later that night, as I was preparing myself to go to sleep, I started getting flashes of a memory. I had one of those cheap, colorful inflated balls that you used to see everywhere. My mother took the ball from me and told me I didn’t deserve it. Then she took a knife and stuck it right through the ball, and pushed all of the air out of it until there was no air left.

The memory just kept replaying in my head over and over. I don’t even know why it came up. I ended laying in bed for hours because I couldn’t get the images out of my head. I hadn’t remembered my mother doing this before, though I have no doubt that it happened. When she wasn’t destroying my soul, my mother was destroying everything around me.