Throughout my life, I have had a tendency to compare myself to the people around me. At one point, I thought I compared quite favorably. However, as I grew older, I wasn’t as good as those around me. I always focused on looks. Others were taller and better looking and no effort on my part would ever change this. At least this is what I told myself. I remember this change in attitude was dramatic. I quit looking at people in the eye, and started avoiding cameras and mirrors. All my thoughts were filled with hopelessness and self-pity. Poor me. What did I do to deserve this? Didn’t I treat people decently? Why was this happening to me? The thought of telling someone about my feelings seemed scary. It was easier to try to stuff my feelings and hope they would magically change. Taking some effort to try to change my situation never entered my mind. Probably fear stopped me from even thinking about it. It was far easier to feel sorry for myself and go on with my depressing, but familiar situation.
For the next several years, I coped. I also became passively suicidal. I had all kinds of plans of killing myself, but I never carried them out. One of my better ideas had to do with my high school graduation. I was the class valedictorian, and thus, was to give a speech at the commencement exercises. I thought it would be a great idea to kill myself in front of my peers at the end of my speech. I wanted to go out in style, and of course, in front of an audience.
After high school, I went on to college with no real plans. I guess I figured that one day soon things would get bad enough to the point that I’d kill myself. Thinking of killing myself made my life bearable, for if I thought I’d have to endure my situation for another fifty years, I don’t know if I could have coped. To me, death was my get out of jail free card and one of these days I was going to play it.
Like I said earlier, it was easier to stay in a miserable but familiar situation than try to change it. However, I did try things now and again. One that stands out was skydiving. My thought was that I never appreciated anything until I lost it or was in danger of losing it. I felt if I put my life in danger, I would either come out appreciating life more or I would be dead. Either way I would be better off. It looked like a no-lose situation. Afterwards, I did feel exhilarated for about fifteen minutes. After this, there was the sudden realization that nothing had really changed. My life was not better off. Another brilliant plan failed.
Around this same time, I started losing my hair. I have always been insecure about the way I looked and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The depression was turning into anxiety. My sleep was getting worse and worse. I knew I had to do something. I had never talked to anybody about my problems, but I knew I didn’t have the answers on how to solve them. I then called a psychologist. I had a hard time talking to her about my problems and there were somethings I didn’t share. Maybe that’s why I didn’t get better. The anxiety was getting worse and I was having a hard time functioning. One evening, things hit the breaking point. I grabbed whatever pills I could find with every intention of killing myself. I remember two things went through my mind. First, what if death was my worst nightmare with no hope of it ever getting better? Second, I thought of everything in the world I would never experience again. I would never hear a song, never touch anything soft, and never again see a sunset. Suddenly, death seemed equally as scary as life. I was not the kind of person who cried, but at that moment I cried. I had no place to go. I was in hell. Fortunately, I was able to check into a mental hospital. Here, the fear subsided to the point that I could at least function again. Also, it was here that I first learned of EHA.
When I got out of the hospital I went to one meeting, but I guess I really wasn’t ready. There were several things I thought were going to get me well which looked more attractive than EHA. Those things were relationships, hobbies, volunteer work, and other social activities. When these failed to bring any lasting happiness, I came back to EHA. Initially, there was no sense of comfort, but fear of a new situation. Eventually, as people shared, I started to share too. At the meetings I was getting out of myself. And by getting out of myself, I was feeling better. The program has helped me walk through many things, such as dealing with unpleasant situations and people. I had always run away from these things, but the program taught me I couldn’t run away anymore. With the help of my sponsor, I have been able to deal with things I never thought I could. I don’t know what lies in store for me in the future, but I know that as long as I stay in EHA, things will be OK.