by Kay Williams 3 years ago in depression

To the Parents Who Don't Understand


I have dealt with depression for a while. I started cutting when I was 14, but one day my stepfather came into my room to wake me up for the day and he saw the cuts and asked and I shamefully blamed it on the cat; so then moments later, mom comes in the room freaking out. So much more help right? So I didn't touch the broken glass in my bathroom drawer again. What I did do though was found cool or cute little fake tattoos, put them on, and then carve the shape over the tattoo. Then I covered it to heal it, but mom saw the sweat band and wanted to know why it was there and what was there. She flipped of course, "YOU COULD GET AN INFECTION" I knew mom. I knew that. That didn't mean I cared, I was developing issues I didn't understand.

I stopped doing that to myself for maybe another year, but even when we moved, my parents just fought and fought and fought and god dammit was I sick and tired of it. I mean I have dealt with screaming matches all my life. I grew up on mom and dad screaming and fighting and me, only 5-years-old, crying and hyperventilating under the dining room table. I didn't know where else to go, I didn't want them to see me. Then when they did see me, mom or dad would pick me up and tell me it was alright all while screaming and blaming the other for why I was in such an emotional state. Newsflash guys, It was BOTH of your faults.

My mom and dad split when I was 6, maybe 7. I wasn't happy about it, but I knew it was for the best. I still didn't understand, all I knew was it was quiet and the only time it wasn't was when there were phone calls or when I had gotten picked up or dropped off. Of course, dealing with the fights as a kid, all I could think was "I am why you are screaming. I am why you are fighting. I hate myself." I knew I wasn't the reason, but the constant fights of anger or jealousy every time I went to one place or the other didn't help my issue. I didn't know who was at fault anymore.

After a few years, mom met a man. The man whom is now my step father, the one I mentioned at the beginning. They also fought. A LOT. I was super close with my stepfather, but after a poor choice I made, our relationship changed... drastically. I was a rebellious preteen and teen. Sure there seems to have been no excuse for that, but when you grow up in what feels like hell for a little while, as a child you grow accustom to the negativity. So I rebelled. I figured if my family can't functionally be a family, because no one, not one fucking adult, knew how to communicate, then what was the point in me being the good duck? Why should I have listened to the rules?

Yeah, I got into a lot of trouble, oh well. I didn't care. I mean whatever happened, happened. I had gotten bullied a lot. When I was little, I would tell my parents, as any parent would say "ignore them." I get it. I so do. I so did. I still do. That didn't stop them from calling me ugly or that I looked like a man. That didn't stop them from acting like little assholes to my face, but the moment I saw them being bad, they wanted to make friends. I was never told how to deal with fake people. I was only told to ignore the bullies.

It took until 10th grade of high school for me to not to give a flying care about the bullies and my parents screaming matches. I became more rebellious. My depression went from a level 3 at age 14 to a level 12 at age 15. I skipped classes, just to go to the bathroom and cry and cry, because I continued to get walked all over by my so-called friends, I continued going home to a loud environment. I decided to pick up a razor, and from there I cut myself for a few years. Never too deep, but never too shallow. I made the stupid choice to take a few pills to get high at school, because I didn't want to deal with anything. I spent $5 to almost end my life, without knowing I could have ended it. That was the day mom found out about my self-harming again. Guess what? SHE FLIPPED.

So I tried not to harm myself for a while. During that time, while I was under suspension from my stupid action, I did other things to occupy me, pass time by. I decorated my room more and more, I drew, I wrote poems, I cried — anything to distract me from my misery. What really hurts is that mom didn't understand. Yes, hurts, as in pretense, as in it still hurts, because she didn't understand. It hurt that she didn't understand my self-harming because instead of talking to me and asking me why, she just got angry and punished me for it by giving me the silent treatment or by saying some stupid snobby thing about it. She saw fresh marks in my thigh and she ran out of my room crying, came back with a duffel back and told me to pack my things and that I was going somewhere I could get help. I said hell no, I'm not going anywhere. I found myself having to comfort my mother over freaking out on me when she should have comforted me, asking me what she can do to help. She thought that I thought my life wasn't good enough when, mom, that wasn't the case. The case was that all I have ever lived around was negativity for the most part. Goodness, I love my family and my family loves me, but she and my stepdad didn't get the harming thing. I thought that every fight was my fault and parents, if you ask your kids, who suffer depression, if they think that the certain things they live around that are negative are because of them, your child will most likely say yes.

I am only 19-years-old, I will be 20 in just two weeks. Because of the fighting and lack of proper communication I have grown up around, I still have to teach myself how to properly communicate with my loved one when we butt heads, because I had been terrified I will never learn communication, because I was never taught it. Because of suffering, the depression I still suffer from, I still have urges to harm myself. I have to get my nails done with acrylic so that way I don't scratch my skin off during an anxiety attack. Because of my stepfather's anger and parents fights, I have small anxiety attacks when I hear a pan fall from the dish rack that I put there.

I am telling you this story, because teenagers don't just cut themselves or kill themselves because they're in an emotional phase or what. Even the quiet little girl with the glasses, braids, giant backpack, and two text books in her hands has something hiding behind some part of clothing and behind that something has a story. So does that jock that is quarterback of the football team. Sometimes it's more than bullies at school or bad days in class. Sometimes it's the family that is hurting the child. No matter how much you love one another. Something is going on and someone needs to help .

Moms, dads, if you suspect your child is not as they were, or if they seem to hide body parts more often, do not prod or force the answer to your questions. Let them know you're there, let them know if they need any help with anything, if they need personal help, to tell you or a friend who can at least help. But never ever mention their burns, scars, or cuts, never mention when they did it or why, just hug them and talk to them and ask how they are.

Help. Talk. Communicate. Clarify. Love.

Kay Williams
Kay Williams
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Kay Williams

I am a poet and a photographer

To see more of my work check out

@soggy.waffle.poetry and @kaysphoto.graphy on Instagram

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