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April 14, 2019

I honestly didn’t know that I was depressed.  I had no idea.  I moved through life looking at things through a negative lens.  I would drink liquor daily.  I called it having my "regular cocktail after work" and to be damned with anything or anyone that stood between me and the bottle that I had stashed away in my liquor cabinet at home.  I drank too much when I went out…sometimes waking up besides someone that I vaguely recognized from the night before.  The evening prior was always a blur.


I had no conception of self-worth.  What mattered was that I was young and I looked good. I couldn’t find what I was looking for in a man easily.  Finding that man proved to be more challenging than I had anticipated.  Still, there were other times in my life when things were good.  I didn’t need liquor to validate me or my achievements.  I functioned well enough.


But then there was the fact that my job(s) reinforced something that I never realized mattered enough to pay closer attention to…and that was I didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  I was always at fault for my failures, and my failures; whether by accident or not, didn’t matter to their bottom line.  Ultimately, the message that I heard was that I wasn’t good enough for them to keep their promise to me to “come and grow with them.”  It didn’t matter how hard I worked or how often I got things right and excelled in my role to meet their bottom line.  I frequently heard the message that I wasn’t good enough which was a message that I heard repeatedly when I was younger.  I heard it so often that I started to believe it.  In my relationships, I heard the message that I wasn’t valuable enough to be the one and only.




I tried to be whatever the job or partner wanted me to be even if it went against what I needed me to be.

But I know what my worth is.  I know my value.  I know what I want as well as what I don’t want.  My current job knows my worth and they validate me daily.  And because of this, I give 110% on most days.  I don’t love going to work but I don’t hate it either, which is a plus.


I talk to my husband instead of assuming the worst in him. And I now know that he doesn't assume the worst in me...that he sees through my faults and tells me that "it's okay."  But mostly, I have learned to live my truth and own it.  The mistakes that I made in life is mine; but they are mine to make.  Maybe writing “Groomed” wasn’t the best way to try to help folks that have been sexually abused by a predator.  But I wouldn’t have known that this wasn’t the way to help people recover if I hadn't tried to write about my experiences.


All I know is that for some parts in my life, I was depressed.  And I didn’t know it.  But I know that I’m not now.  I’ve stepped far enough away from it that I can see it clearly.


Have you?

~ J.L. Whitehead


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