Sometimes Depression Wins

Accepting My Mental Health Limitations & Recognizing My Journey

*this all might be a shock given how well I hide things*

*trigger warnings blah blah blah*

I’ve overcome a lot in my life. I consider myself a fighter in the truest sense. I’m basically a human gaslight with how stark the contrast is between my outside (money, height, charisma, privilege) and my inner (parents that don’t love him, loneliness, isolation, depression, more trauma than anyone deserves, and a self concept that’s more volatile than Kanye off the meds). Some days I feel invincible and connected, some days I wanna cut myself and bleed all over the bedsheets I’m too weak to leave.

To name a few or my clinical hurdles, I’ve overcome:

  • A binge eating disorder — I used to eat until I was sick from how much my stomach hurt, by myself, about 2–3 nights a week. This existed from high school until last summer (8 years).
  • A sugar addiction — I couldn’t go a day without cookies, pie, or brownies without wanting to end it all. This lasted about 6 years.
  • A compulsive porn addiction — the big boy. 10 years of daily watching and masturbation to mask my loneliness, abandonment, and fear, very recently taken control of in the last 2–3 months.
  • Body dysmorphia — partly because of porn and social media, I had very unrealistic expectations of how healthy human bodies are supposed to look. I bulked like crazy to be big, I cut like crazy to be skinny (I was borderline anorexic, going from 180–185 to 160 in 3 months). This lasted probably from when I was 10 till around when I turned 23. Some is still there. Very much affected how I objectified and overly sexualized women.
  • CPTSD — I was terrified of loud noises and seeing/hearing conflict in public gave me panic attacks. I’m still scared of people randomly attacking or hurting me in public, which actually getting sucker punched on the subway didn’t help with I’m sure. Specific triggers like eating meals and expressing negative feelings to people I care about still make me wanna throw up.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder — a lingering effect of consistent trauma. I’m always looking around for the next threat, hyper vigilant and ready to fight or run. This manifests physically as a super tight low back and a consistently high resting heart rate.
  • IBS — a less recognized but common symptom of serious trauma. I had such bad gas until a few months ago that as a kid I was called “Carter Farter.” RealizIng the reason behind it now makes it hurt so much more. This combined with my binge eating was deadly and very shame inducing.
  • Anxious attachment disorder — in relationships I’d always latch onto people I like way too quickly, idealizing them and putting them on a pedestal to make myself feel unworthy of even talking to them. I get nervous if we stop talking for a day and always catastrophize, looking for reasons to assume things won’t work out. Intimacy really scares me and heartbreak destroys me. I’m very fragile and have never had a serious relationship.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea — or so I thought. I’ve never had a good nights sleep (which I know because I started to actually fall asleep Thursday night and thought I was gonna die). Letting go to that extent terrifies me. I’ve never learned how to do it. I’m trying to learn now.
  • Scoliosis — I swear to god this is trauma related too. I don’t have it as bad as my mom (who’s shrunk about 6–7 inches from her top height), but I have a hard time moving most days. My poor sleep compounds this.

That’s a whole lot, even by most mentally ill peoples’ standards. It undoubtedly explains me a bit better, but doesn’t make me as proud of myself as it should. Mostly because I still haven’t beaten the big bug — depression.

I’ve been functionally depressed since I was 9 or so and still have days that I struggle to find anything good in. I’ve started lexapro, an SSRI, but am almost at 40 days and don’t feel any different. I’m experimenting with psychedelics as a possible solve, but I honestly don’t know if they’ll fix this. Not that I need to be fixed, but my optimism in being able to heal every residual pain from my youth is beginning to dwindle. Parts of me might be a lil fucked up forever.

I’m trying to become ok with that but it’s hard. What kept me alive when I was younger and kept me hopeful in recent years was faith in my potential. I’ve always been inspired by the version of myself I’ve visualized in my head. As much as that makes a work in progress me hard to love, it also gives me motivation to keep going. I feel like I owe it to myself to see this journey through and try to be the best version of myself.

But I might just have to stop that chase soon. Or maybe reorient my reason for chasing. Yeah that’s it. That first sentence sounded suicidal. I’m not. I’m just tired of dedicating my entire life to overcoming so much generational baggage that might not even be possible to beat. The better I get the more I realize just how sick I was.

More identity crises on the way I’m sure. For those of you who have been following my journey, I realized my desire to be a therapist was a trauma response born to earn love from others by helping them instead of being myself, so I unenrolled from grad school. No idea what’s next. I might even stop writing for a while. I’ve stopped journaling.

To be fair though, this is the only space I feel truly free. Within the confines of the English language and this digital page, I’m limitless. I can say whatever, write whatever, argue whatever. I can make it thematic, narrative, make sense. I can make it scattered. Whatever I want.

I might not even publish this (note to self — I don’t have to publish everything I write), but if I do, please go easy on me. Hopefully this adds some depth to everything else I’ve published on here. I recently checked and saw I’m at 50 pieces. That’s a lot! Crazy how I’ve done so much that feels like nothing compared to what I want to do.

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Aspiring author and humble observer of human behavior writing from NYC — sharing my journey and what I’m learning along the way. Think more, feel better.

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Carter Owen

Carter Owen

Aspiring author and humble observer of human behavior writing from NYC — sharing my journey and what I’m learning along the way. Think more, feel better.