fbpx
Mental Health

Empathy doesn’t permit abuse

*Content Warning: This piece contains a references to abuse, which may be triggering to some.*

Today is a dark day.

Some days are a little cloudy, but fairly “normal”. However, when it gets bad, responding to a text message feels like it takes more energy than when I ran a half marathon. It is actually uncomfortable when I’m out of a depressive phase because I’m just waiting for the downward spiral to come again. Sometimes it’s gradual; other times one event will completely derail me. It’s sad to be scared and guarded about being happy and stable.

Depression has made me feel like I’m not worthy of a normal relationship. I feel guilty that my significant other has to be exposed to my depression; therefore, I often end up with abusive, manipulative, mean men. It feels helpless that I know every single day will be a little bit darker for me than for most. I am always used by men; especially my finances. I can’t say no even when I am struggling financially because I don’t feel like I have the right to say no. I stayed in an abusive marriage for 8 years. I dated an abusive man before that.  Now I’m dating men who tell me I’m stupid as f*ck. Depression makes me lose all self-esteem and I start believing the things I’m told or called.

I’m smarter than that.

With depression, you’re always swimming. You never get a break. Sometimes, the water is smooth. Other days, the water is a little rough. Other days, there’s a no sail advisory, but you still have to function.

Once depression has set in, it’s a snow-ball effect. Why did I treat that person like that 10 years ago? I’m so sorry, but I don’t deserve their forgiveness. Why didn’t I initially make it into the advanced program in kindergarten? Why do all my relationships fail? How does everyone else hold it all together? Do my kids think I’m a failure? Why did I let myself become overweight? Am I really smart enough to get my doctorate? My house is never clean enough. It’s my fault that I am always with awful men; I must deserve it.

Life doesn’t stop for anyone. I have general anxiety, social anxiety, PTSD and depression. I have literally driven to a place 30 minutes away to talk to someone in person instead of making a phone call because phone calls cause me extreme anxiety. Asking me to order a pizza is like asking me to climb Mt Everest. I know that’s difficult to understand, and I wish it wasn’t my reality. But it’s important to demonstrate what depression looks like. There’s this constant feeling of failure and disappointment because I don’t want to feel suicidal. I don’t want to have a panic attack on the way to work. I don’t want to feel like every fight is my fault because I’m depressed and, “did I take my meds?”

Some days I just feel a little down. Other days it feels like extra weight on my shoulders. But there are literal days where getting out of bed is difficult. Taking a shower is difficult. Going to work and focusing is challenging. Cooking is an Olympic sport. Depression is considered a disability. And it should be.

There is a positive to this, though. You know that phone call that causes me extreme anxiety? I’m enrolled in classes for my doctorate where I have to stand in class and give presentations. Why? Because I am going to fight my demons. I will not let them win and dictate my life. But I will be honest and admit that I have them.

Those men who have been so awful to me? I’m learning to set boundaries and learning to walk away once the initial mistreatment begins. To be honest, I feel like there’s some deep hurt in someone who can treat another human being like that and that draws me in. I have been hurting most of my life; I never want anyone else to feel that type of pain.

However, I need to learn that my empathy does not permit their abuse.

That needs to be stated again:

MY EMPATHY DOES NOT PERMIT THEIR ABUSE

I wasn’t always sad. Years of mental torment and psychological abuse literally changed the way I think and feel.

Maybe I won’t always be sad; once I mend.

Tomorrow will be better. But today? I’m just okay.

Comment
by Acarrocci

I’m a speech language pathologist, mother, and doctoral student battling mental health and loving everyone because they deserve it!

More From Mental Health

Keep Going

by Jodi Weiss

How to Find Rest in Revolution

by Melissa Elysian

Mental Battle

by Glory Castillo

The Real Agreement

by Amanda Sheeren

The Good Decision

by Rene Trevillion