I was depressed during most of my childhood

I was depressed during most of my childhood. My parents drank heavily, and my father was verbally and physically abusive to all of us. Although I was a good student and a fine musician, I always felt I had to do more—if I were a better kid, maybe my family and home life would get better, and maybe my parents would approve of me. Early, I came to believe I would forever be ugly, stupid, and inadequate.

I found alcohol, marijuana, and boys all at about the same time, at about age thirteen. I enjoyed getting drunk and stoned with my friends, and if a boy was interested in me, especially an older one, I felt that I mattered to someone. When I wasn't dating, I was depressed. Relationships themselves became a type of addiction—even unhappy or abusive ones.

During my second year in college my schoolwork overwhelmed me; I unwisely signed up for an extremely heavy course load. After a boyfriend broke up with me, I habitually cut myself with broken glass or razors. Because of this, I was temporarily admitted to the mental ward of a nearby hospital to be treated for depression and self-destructive behavior. Eventually I moved to another state where I became financially independent and finished my education. I saw a psychologist regularly for the next five years. I believed my past was preventing me from leading a normal life.

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November 29, 1993

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