I once felt sheer hatred towards this town.
I once felt so alone in this town.
I once felt I was slowly dying in this town.
I once felt that I would never, ever, come back.
The thing with depression. When you hit rock bottom, you feel like you are at the bottom of a dark, damp and cold pit crawling on your hands and knees, stumbling blindly amongst your worst fears and thoughts that reside in the darkness, and to make it worse you are chilled to the bone, your naked and shaking, with a heavy sopping wet wool blanket engulfing you. It’s scratchy, smells like wet dog, and is the only thing you can find in that pit to keep you comfort. The blanket makes it hard to move forward, for you keep stumbling, scraping the palms of your hands raw on the unforgiving rocks, slowly scraping away your sanity, your strength, your soul.
That is what depression feels like when you are truly at your worst.
For me, I felt like an injured fox, cornered in a dirty cage unable to fight back, fight for my life, when I was stuck in this town.
And when I say “stuck” I mean I was still attending High School.
Even though my family surrounded me with love, support, and fought for me to see the best doctors that little voice in my head, like a knife slicing through innocent soft skin, kept reminding me.
You are alone.
Some people don’t understand how this mental illness works.
You slowly surrender to this voice in your head, could be more than one voice, could be just a feeling, but you’re hostage in your own body.
The person you used to be slowly fades into just a faint memory, while your body slowly shuts down.
It is downright scary to be a witness to your own mental breakdown.
And I can only imagine what my family went through as I slowly slipped into a very very deep pit.
I can never repay my family for what they did.
They never shunned me,
never stopped trying,
never gave up on me,
even when I felt like that was the only option.
My younger brother used to see me curled up on the couch crying, and he would bring his colourful blankets from his bedroom to keep me warm as I zoned out watching tv.
My mother and father never left me- wether it be checking in on me, taking me to the hospital, dealing with a suicidal daughter, or forcing me to eat when I refused to eat.
My older brother was away at university for the worst of my depression- but when he came home- his hugs-still on my list of favourite things.
My family accepted my weakness, and slowly brought me back to life with the help of multiple counsellors, drugs and doctors.
My family made me realize; this weakness, that I had hidden for so long.
Was one of my biggest strengths.
When I moved away from this town- I felt liberated.
It was a major step in my therapy to leave what I thought was sucking the life out of me.
I felt like a bird, a bird breaking free from the cold metal cage, shattering the locks and bolts, and never looking back.
North Vancouver, where I live now has many positives.
Art class is going well,
Yoga school is life changing,
But a month or two ago I began to feel homesick.
As soon as the sadness hit me I boot stomped that emotion deep down inside me.
Me? Miss Fort?
But day after day,
each struggle became harder,
and slowly I realized what homesickness really was.
I missed the safety, the sacred space, the nest I had up north filled with unconditional love, and mom’s cooking.
My letters and phone calls home made it apparent I missed my family.
My Mother and Father’s encouragement trickling through the phone as I broke down in tears helped me through the last few weeks.
After my wisdom tooth episode, my body decided it was time to heal
But as usual it made a big fuss about it and it wasn’t until I got home that I truly felt better.
Funny how subconsciously my body knew where it was meant to be.
Sunday night after class I took the skytrain to the airport
Ever since my mom had booked me a flight home, my heart warmed at the thought of being in an arm’s reach of my mother, father, brother, and family friends.
I made it through the mid-term exam, the anatomy quiz, the workshops, the lectures, and before I knew it I was speed walking toward the skytrain station. I would have ran, but my bags filled with yoga homework, clothes for cold weather and sugar cookies I had made the day before for my family weighed me down.
I was going home.
For the first time since I moved away.
I was going to see my two dogs who last time I saw was in the rear view mirror driving away at a kennel when I drove down to Vancouver with my mother in the summer.
I was going to sleep in my bed, stay in my room, shower in my shower,
be surrounded with familiarity.
My soul healed just at the thought of this.
As I tugged off my muk luks and emptied my pockets at security I became more and more excited.
What was the first thing I was going to do when I got home?
Raid the fridge?
Fall into bed?
Snuggle my puppies?
Sitting at my gate I chatted with the gentlemen sitting near me
We were all heading up north
All for different reasons
All from different backgrounds
Fort St. James, Burns Lake, or Vanderhoof,
We all knew where each other was going
That first feeling of community,
from two strangers.
I smiled to myself as I boarded,
I pulled out my mittens and adjusted my poppy,
turned off my cell phone, and buckled in to my window seat.
Said goodbye to the city lights of the night
and for the first time in a very long time I was happy to be on the plane, I wasn’t fantasizing about missing my flight, hiding in the bathroom as they announced my name over the sound system, or closing my eyes and trying to get this over with as soon as possible.
For the whole 50 to 60 minutes I chatted with one of the gentlemen from the gate
We soon became friends.
It was a nice way to start off my time home.
Arriving at the Prince George airport I could see my parents pressed up against the glass of the windows waving, I couldn’t help but smile.
I didn’t get far into the airport before I was engulfed in a mom hug then soon a dad hug and was ushered out to the car- to some yummy dinner!
The two-hour drive home was filled with chit-chat, laughter, and catching up.
It felt different,
I don’t know how to explain it exactly- I was “visiting”
Something I had been wondering what it would be like for so long- to visit my parents, like my parents do with their own.
First thing I did when I got home was drop my bags and bear hug my two dogs Boo and Humphrey. It felt so good to hold them, the feel of their wet noses sniff and nuzzle my face, their tails wagging, their bodies leaning into me so eventually I was flat on the ground in puppy heaven.
Best. Anti-Depressant. Ever.
I then got a tour of the fridge.
Mother had gone shopping for her IBS daughter- gluten dairy free glory cluttered the shelves of the fridge. The fridge was practically a treasure chest of sally proof food.
Walking into my bedroom I noticed my room had been cleaned, flannel sheets had been put on my bed, and extra blankets lay folded at the foot of the bed.
Mom had lotions, shampoo, conditioner, a towel, and cozy sweaters for me to borrow while I’m here.
Even wool socks sat neatly in a pile in my room.
As I went to look for a toothbrush- I turned around and found what else mom had put into my room for my arrival.
Let’s just say…My family-
My mom knew I was sad to have missed celebrating with her, so she decided to leave some of the decorations up for me to see.
Of course she put the shrieking midget that pulls its face off to reveal its skull and bulging eyeballs in my room. I giggled to myself as it howled with pain and grumbled about brains as I pressed what I thought was the off button.
Little did I know that when I reentered the room- that I didn’t turn off the creature, so when it shrieked for a second time- it really did get me.
This was about 1am in the morning…
I dragged the monster up to mom’s bedroom begging her to turn it off.
You got me I admit, and for good reasons I haven’t looked under my bed yet.
Once the adrenaline worn down to a mellow whisper, I peeled back the soft sheets and slipped into my bed.
I had forgotten how comfy this bed was, how plush and magical it seemed compared to my bed back in the city.
I slept until 1 in the afternoon that day.
I woke up with a smile, and have been doing so since that Monday morning.
This is what I was “homesick” for.
It truly should be called “familysick”
But it just doesn’t have the same jingle.
This is one of the views from my home.