Journal #2: Darling, Come On And Let Me In
By: Brittany Priore Illustration: Lorraine Sorlet
I'm not really sure why it happened when it did. After all these years, why on that particular Thursday night did I have an emotional breakdown- for the umpteenth time- that lead to such a deep-rooted revelation about my anxiety and depression? I have been trying to understand my sadness and fear for as long as I can remember, and not once did I ever stop to think it had anything to do with how I perceive myself from a societal standpoint.
I have strong morals and values. I respect myself. In fact, I demand it from others. I'm smart. I'm creative. I encourage those around me, I don't pick them apart to make myself feel better emotionally or superficially. Maybe that's why I suppressed it for so long or ignored it for even longer? Maybe I didn't want to see that I wasn't the type of woman I encourage other women to be. Maybe that made me feel like a liar or a fraud. I'm not really sure, honestly.
But I keep thinking back to that Thursday night. My god, I was up for hours crying. It was so hard to come to surface with the person I've become. Reflecting on who I thought I was devastated me and disappointed me even more. I kept trying to think about what I could do to get myself out of this dark and negative place I have been in for so long now. But before the self-loathing started, what triggered something inside of me to finally allow the truth to surface? I had just finished dinner with my boyfriend. He was giving his same old low key, nonchalant, very passive you-should-be-doing-more-with-your-day speech to me and I was laying there listening doing the same thing that I always do- cutting him off, getting defensive, shutting him down, not listening, and getting an attitude all because I'm too stubborn, embarrassed, and ashamed to admit that he's right and that I have absolutely zero drive to live my life the way that I know I deserve to. I mean, how do you tell that to someone? I could barely think it to myself let alone say it out loud to another person.
I was already feeling dispirited and defeated because my dermatologist took me off of Accutane the night before. And that is, obviously as you know, not something I was expecting. I went into it so positively. I didn't look up any scary stories online. I reassured myself constantly that I wasn't going to develop any serious side effects from it. My best friend and step sister both just got off of it and I know at least 6 other people who completed their full round of it without experiencing any abnormal side effects. They all have such beautiful, clear skin now. Why couldn't that happen for me? I was so against this pill for years and years and years. I tried everything. Parasite cleanses, liver cleanses, kidney cleanses, vitamins, supplements, topical creams- both over the counter and prescribed, antibiotics, various moisturizers, toners, and cleansers, serums, and oils. I have spent thousands of dollars going to see different endocrinologists, dermatologists, and estheticians. I've had all my blood levels checked and checked and checked over and over and over again. I took out dairy, soy, shellfish, and tree nuts from my diet. My god, what else could I do? Nothing. Which is why I decided to finally go on Accutane. After speaking with an old schoolmate and listening to her positive experience on it, I felt reassured and comfortable. I waited weeks to do all the blood work and multiple pregnancy tests. All to start experiencing severe head pressure on day 3? Really!
So, yes, I guess you could say that Thursday night I was particularly down. So maybe that's why when we started watching motivational videos on youtube and listening to Will Smith talk about the importance of self-discipline did I start to feel rotten inside. Why do these people get to be happy and not me? Why have I lived such an emotional life lead by sadness and fear? Am I not biologically made to be happy? Is there an unbalance of chemicals that cause my gloominess? My boyfriend had suddenly gotten really serious about the topic which pulled me out of a very dark rabbit hole I was about to plummet down into. He started talking about how he could and should be doing more with his days. Explaining that he wakes up too late and doesn't stay at the office late enough. He’s one of the hardest working people I know. He wakes up at 7 am every day and doesn't get home until after 7 and he works literally 7 days a week. So, if he thinks he's not as self-disciplined as he can be, not as productive with his days, what the hell does he think about me?
I didn't want to keep treading around the same subject anymore. I didn't want to ignore what I knew he was thinking about me. I was annoyed that he wouldn't just come out and say it. So, I said it, "You think I lack self-discipline. You think I wake up too late and I don't dedicate enough time to my website or to studying for my GRE. Just say it." And, guess what? He didn't deny it, because it was true. And I knew that it was true. I didn't want to ignore it anymore. I started crying. I wanted to explain myself. Explain why I feel so unmotivated, explain to him that I'm depressed, and insecure, and anxious, and tired, and uninspired to do anything. But the words just wouldn't come out. It was like they were hooked to the tip of my tongue. But finally, I said it, "You know why I wake up at 9 every day? You know why I can't stick to a workout routine or develop a gym regimen? Do you know why I don't do more to grow my business? It's because I'm so ashamed and embarrassed by what I look like. I have no motivation to do any of these things because it all leads back to the same thing. Why don't I want meet my friend at 6 am in the park to practice Yoga and breathing exercises to help my anxiety? Because I don’t want him seeing me that closely without makeup on. I don't go to meetings or set up events or collaborate with other businesses because I'm too ashamed and embarrassed for them to see my face. I don't want to go to the gym and have people stare at my skin. Why work out if my face is still going to look ugly anyway?" I was in shock. Did I really just admit those things at loud.. to my boyfriend.. to myself? I never really knew those things about myself if I’m being completely honest. I never allowed those thoughts to come full circle. I always made excuses for these things and reasons why I avoided them. I think in the back of my mind I always knew the real reasons, I just never allowed myself to think it, to confront it, or to feel those emotions.
It felt good, though, you know? The honesty felt so good. I was sad. I was angry. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I was an array of emotions, all which made me feel weak and tired. But I also felt lighter. These lies, these facades, this battle, they have all weighed so heavy on me. Facing them for the first time felt like I had some how laid down my weapons and put an end to a waging war I’ve had against myself for a very long time. What’s that saying? Knowing is half the battle? I get it now. I really do get it now. Because for so long I was in such confusion about why I was so depressed and anxious. And that confusion made the battle in my mind seem never ending. Everyone around me figured it was a deep-rooted issue that stemmed from childhood. When in reality it was my acne. The insecurity of it had subconsciously grown so substantially that it eventually bleed off into other areas of my life: work, school, friends, family, self-care, self-maintenance, etc. That minor insecurity grew so uncontrollably over time, that now, as I take a step back and examine my life, I am able to see the damage it has caused.
This may seem so superficial to some people, but I really don’t care because, to me, this understanding is essential to my growth. Without this truth, I would still be wandering around aimlessly in the dark. I had absolutely zero understanding of the void I felt inside. I never knew how to take any steps forward because I didn't know the cause. And if you don't know the cause of a problem how can you fix it? Now, I can fix it.
If you would like to join me on this journey, be sure to check in each week under the new "Journal" category listed on the site.