Rebecca Hamilton “What Kept Me Going” Guest Post

The Forever Girl

How I got where I am today and what kept me going…

My entire life, I’ve always been passionate and determined. Though I had an emotionally-rough time from childhood through my teen years, battling depression, thoughts of suicide, and self-mutilation, in the end, I think I very much wanted to live. Life just sucked, but it was a temporary situation and I didn’t really understand that, even though when I was young I—like most people—thought I knew everything.

There was a lot going on that caused those feelings, perhaps one of the biggest problems being that I didn’t feel understood, I was uncomfortable in my own skin (I have severe sensory issues), and I had social anxiety. I still get panic attacks when I spend too much time in public, though I feel a little more comfortable doing so and a person wouldn’t know by talking to me (I don’t think) how hard it is for me to follow the natural flow of social interaction.

Writing was a huge outlet for me from the time I could write. I felt I always expressed myself better that way, though the reality was that no matter what form of expression I used, there were people in my life who didn’t understand me because they didn’t want to, not because I was somehow defunct in all areas of expressing myself. (Though I’m still not very great at it, as a child, I was surrounded by people who used that to make me feel bad instead of trying to understand where I was coming from and approaching me that way.)

At one point, someone who was important in my life and should have been a safe person for my talk to told me to “go ahead and kill myself” that they “wouldn’t care because it wasn’t their fault”. As melodramatic as it sounds, as a teen, it sure felt like it was their fault. But then I grew up and learned to be accountable for myself.

We moved a lot when I was a kid, so I never really had a best friend (until I was an adult). I didn’t have a lot of friends in school, either, and I think that desire for connection led to make some bad choices. So desperate was I to get out of my house that I ended up renting a room in a bad neighborhood, which eventually led to a gun being pulled on my now-husband (who sort of “rescued” me from the situation) and having my car windshield smashed in with a tire iron.

None of it was good. And even after I got out of my situation, I still battled depression for a long time. I learned things in my adult life that made me feel as though my entire life was a lie, or at the very least I could trust the one person who’s only saving grace with me had been their honesty.

Just to be clear, I didn’t grow up in a physically abusive home or anything like that. I’m just a little more sensitive to words I guess. And my step-dad is AWESOME and to me he is just DAD. My mom and I have a good relationship today.

Anyways… I don’t think I ever wanted to die. I wanted a lot of things, but that wasn’t it. I wanted someone to care if I did die. I wanted someone to treat me like they cared if I was alive. At times, I just wanted to go stay in a hospital for a while to get away from some people.

What I’m going to say next isn’t going to make me seem strong or amazing or anything like that. I apologize in advance. But it will be completely, nakedly honest.

I “got better” for entirely the wrong reason. Because the right reason would have been that I started caring about myself (which I do now, but that’s not how I “got better” initially). Instead, I got better because I was pregnant. At twenty years old and married for just over a year, I had a baby on the way. I had someone who would always need me, even if they wouldn’t always think so, and someone who I had the responsibility to take care of. I couldn’t leave them in this world because no one else would love them as much as me or in the way I would. And that’s when any desires toward check out of this world left completely.

No, I didn’t have grand illusions of finally having someone who would love and care about me. I understand full-well that children are takers more than they are givers, at least initially. But in a sense, I will say that giving to others is sometimes the best way to give to yourself. Maybe in some ways, loving them was loving myself, too.

I don’t know if the real healing happened because of that moment, or just because of time, but that part came, too. I still get a little down in the dumps sometimes, but suicide never crosses my mind. I don’t want to escape. I don’t want to make bad decisions or give up on life in any way.

Now I have three kids. And they are a huge part of my life. Other things are a part of my life, too. I have many passions and interests, most specifically reading and writing. (Reading had always been my escape.) Creativity is so much better than destruction.

I began writing four years ago. It was something I’d just always wanted to do. But it means so much more to me. Writing is another thing that just ignites my passion for life and my love of being alive. And I just want to live, and if I could, I’d live forever so I could just keep writing.

To anyone out there who might be battling depression, don’t be as directionless in getting help as I was. Don’t wait for someone else to care about you. Care about yourself. Find a passion for something in life and you will find a passion for living. I won’t go on to list hotlines or websites for two reasons. I’ve tried those people, and they never helped me. They mean well, though. Plus, a google search can give you a hundred of those. I do recommend getting outside help if you can find it, but if you can’t, don’t lost hope.

I got to where I am today because I’m stubborn and passionate. I got here because I loved and because I learned to love myself. I got to where I am today because I persevered even when things sucked. I got to where I am today because there are people in the world who care, and I gave myself the time it took to find them.

Hannah, the lovely host of this blog, talks to her kids in school about following their dreams. And I think a huge part of that is daring to dream in the first place. Everyone needs to give themselves permission to do so, no matter who you are, no matter what your struggles are in life or even if you have no struggles at all. Dare to dream. Never let go.

Thanks again for having me here today, Hannah.

Rebecca
@InkMuse

Comments

  1. jrileyford says:

    What a beautiful post, Rebecca. I think every sensitive and creative person out there can relate to your words, and I think you give a lot of hope to people, just by being you. Thanks for your honesty, and for the gift of your touching writing.

  2. Ryan Krohn says:

    Great post. I can feel the truth and honesty in your words.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Beautiful post. Thanks for your honesty and for sharing your story, Rebecca!