I am precisely thirty-nine years, four months and one day old. My reasonable estimate is that of that time, I have probably been truly happy for about six years and most of that was during my first five years of life. I fully believe that I was born broken. Now, some may not call depression "brokenness" but that is how it feels to me. It's as if I am missing a vital piece or that the pieces I have are in the wrong order and cannot be repaired.
My genetic depression has certainly been exacerbated by outside factors. Had I not been raised by a mother who she herself suffers from depression; had my father worked less, been more present, not gotten sick at 43 and died at 53; were my brother not an addict/alcoholic, my life might have been quite different. Had I not been born and raised in a town of one square mile where the town's size was often matched by the small-mindedness and "tolerance" of its residents, surely I would have been less judgmental, less condemning of myself, right? Perhaps. But today is the day I try to put that all behind me, to let go of grievances and slights, both real and imagined, and come to terms with the fact that I am depressed and it is no one's fault, including my own. I am responsible for the choices I have made, or refused to make. I can no longer point the finger of blame and say, "I am this way because of YOU." I am this way simply because I am and no one can change that except for me.
I am deeply ashamed of the choices I have made (or been too afraid to make). I am an imperfect person. I make mistakes, sometimes repeatedly. But I know, inside, that I am a good person. You will never meet a person who is more loyal, more protective, more willing to lay down her life for the people she loves. I am smart, creative, funny, supportive and thoughtful. Yet despite these things, I don't like myself. How can this be? I have spent far too long trying to answer this question, trying to figure out why, if I'm so good, do I always FEEL so bad. I guess what I need to learn is that I may never have the answers to these questions. Maybe there aren't any. Maybe what I need to do is let go of the past, forgive myself, take a deep breath and move on. I refuse to spend the rest of my life trying to fill voids and correct past mistakes that can never be changed. I must simply release that old Kari and, starting today, right now, this very minute, begin the process of becoming who I want to be, without fear, without shame. You may not like the "new" Kari. She will be stronger, braver, less afraid to speak her mind and certainly less suggestible. Yes, you may not like her but hopefully, I will love her, at last.