The girl nobody wanted

BoxWritten by: Kristen

My adoption

My story is not an uncommon one I’m afraid. Being in and out of mental hospitals I’ve seen people better off than me, like me, and a lot worse off than me. It started, I think, with my adoption. Being abandoned by your birth parents, even when your adoptive parents say “your birth parents loved you, they just couldn’t care for you”, it still lingers in the back of your mind. Nobody wanted me. I was stuck in an orphanage for over 6 months before someone came and got me. I know that’s not that long of a time, but I think the conditions in the orphanage were bad enough and because they had dozens of babies at one time, it was hard to provide proper care and nourishment for each baby and child. Everyone deserves to be cared about. I’ve never met anyone I thought wasn’t worthy of care. And people such as serial killers and the like, well people don’t care about them because they weren’t cared about in the first place. That’s what turned them into serial killers.

Bullies

When I got older I was bullied a lot because I went to this elementary school filled with rich people. I don’t know how my parents afforded it because we were never rich. At this school there was this girl who loved to pick on me. For my race (everyone else was white, I’m Chinese), for my size (I’m very small) for my demeanor (I’m a little off). They would pile lunch boxes up making a barrier between me and them during lunches to eliminate me from sight. The kids would speak in “Chinese” and make pig faces at me because of the way my nose is shaped. I went home and I told my mom the things they did to me and she became angry with me. She would give me the silent treatment for days, weeks even; not talking to me, not acknowledging me or anything. I changed schools a couple of times. Nobody wanted me. My dad was never around because he worked all the time. The doctors say the bullying and my mom probably contributed to my depression.

Increasing depression

Over the years I became more and more depressed and more and more isolated from my peers. I hated myself so much. I’m going to jump ahead in my story to middle school. Things were still going downhill, but picked up a bit, only to fall back down again because I changed schools (again). I went from public school to another private school and things were a bit better because the school didn’t tolerate bullying, but I was so depressed and isolated it wouldn’t have mattered either way. I started cutting myself on a regular basis.

Skip to high school and I became suicidal and went in and out of hospitals. I met some scary people but really they were just like me; sick and scared. So I started seeing a shrink and taking medication.
My life rolled down hill and I just got worse and worse. My suicide attempts got more and more intense. Eventually I graduated High School and went to a college. I lasted 3 weeks before going into a hospital for three and half months (that’s a much longer stay than average)! The hospital was Hopkins though so it was a good hospital. It sounds funny to say but Hopkins was the best hospital I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to over a dozen in my lifetime.

I tried going to community college after getting out of Hopkins but went back into the hospital after an overdose or two. I went to two residential places for months each, and nothing worked. I felt so helpless and hopeless. Nobody wanted me. Nobody could help me. I was so alone.

And now we reach today. My parents are divorce and I still go in and out of hospitals every month or so for suicidality.

So that’s my story. I hope people reading it feel less alone in their depressed worlds. Now I want to tell you about one my coping skills.

Coping–one idea

I have a box and I call it “my box of hope” because everything inside of it gives me hope. These boxes have been called by different names by different people, but the point is to collect mementos, stress balls, letters from loved ones, quotes and affirmations–all together in a box. So when you get depressed and lonely, you can open your box and be greeted by a bunch of things specially picked out for you, by you, to make you feel better. You know yourself best and what types of quotes or letters will make you feel more hopeful.

Decorate your box, make it personal and your own. Don’t feel embarrassed by it–you can keep it a secret if you want or share it with the world. Here are some ideas of things you can put in your box:

  • Small candle and matches
  • Candies you enjoy
  • CD to listen to specifically when you are depressed
  • Quotes you appreciate
  • Self affirmations such as “I am strong”
  • Poems
  • Letters you will re-read, from loved ones
  • Letters you wrote to yourself in case you got in a bad place again*
  • Stress ball to squeeze

There are other variations of this, such as a quote jar–collect good quotes in a big jar and take one out (and add one) whenever you’re feeling down.

*Think about how you would approach a friend who was saying the things you’re saying to yourself “I’m not good enough”, “I hate myself”, etc. And write a KIND, LOVING, letter to your depressed self. Tell yourself to stay strong and keep fighting because you’re worth it–you really are.

Deep down you are worthy

Depression takes a hold of you and doesn’t let go until you take action against it. Know deep down that you are worthy and cherished and beautiful. Know that you’re not alone in this universe, in these bad feelings and thoughts. Together we can reduce mental health stigma and raise awareness, together we can fight our illnesses and find hope.

I hope you were inspired by the concept of a “hope box” and that you’ll consider making one yourself, putting it aside for a future moment when you’re feeling depressed or anxious or overwhelmed. It’s a way to take care of yourself. Because you deserve to be taken care of. You are BEAUTIFUL. And you are NOT your illness! People become so swallowed up by their illness it becomes a part of their identity but you are not your illness, you are a beautiful, smart, funny, wonderful person with a ton to offer.

And you’re probably thinking, who’s this girl who thinks she knows whether or not I’m a good person? But I believe you are, because most people are good in this world. Maybe you’re an exception, but I doubt it because you took the time to read this, and for that I am grateful.

 

Photo credit: Judit Bozsár

 

My name is Kristen. I love helping people and discussing, writing about, and contemplating, depression and reducing mental health stigma. I maintain the website http://www.depressionrefuge.com/ Feel free to pop by and say “hi”.


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Comments

  • David T

    Thank you Kristen,
    Your post is very inspiring to me. Your story is a hard one, yet you have found a way to hold on to hope and a practical way to remind yourself of the hope you have. I am going start a collection of my own now. I will start with a printout of your post.

    Thank you!
    David T

    • Kristen

      Wow thank you David. I’m glad you liked it and I was able to inspire someone. I feel touched. If you ever need anything from me, just ask. Thanks again!

  • Bob Brotchie

    Hi Kristen, and what a super courageous being you are!
    I love the ideas around cookies jars and the box. It is something I often suggest to others also. Like you, finding gratitude for an affirming statement or quote, or a reminder of something only we can be grateful for really does get in the face of depressive times. It’s certainly been there for me.

    I too was adopted and ‘discarded’, and it took me until l was in my mid-forties before I found my peace, and having created an inner narrative that made sense of who I was thought to be then, I was better able to create new pages and chapters that are more relevant and truthful for who I actually am today!

    It is so easy to believe the negative part of our past experiences belongs with us today. It does after all become a part of our ego, our sense of self. We find we are stuck in the beliefs borne of the past, but which are no longer relevant today – and if we were able to separate from those thoughts, feelings and subsequent behaviours – who would we be then?

    We would be the stranger who became our best and most treasured friend. The one you meet with your true and present self, and with whom you build that new, healthier relationship with and for you.

    Please, Kristen, do all you can to take control in creating your own fresh narrative for a life that is truly yours to own and live, rather than that one with which you so naturally identify with of the past. You are NOT your past, your past can never be forgotten, nor should it be, but it can be a place to visit of your own volition, and eventually, with compassion, a place of memories with less powerful and negative emotions attached to those memories.

    You clearly are a beautiful being, not least because you have compassion and empathy for others. Now, although it may feel ‘odd’, it IS YOUR time for that same passion for compassion and empathy – for acceptance of who you have been, to bring you to today, and who you will be from here-on-in.

    Please give yourself the recognition and love you so dearly are worthy of; but only you can do this, only you can make that choice to start over with a fresh page for your new chapters.

    With much love, and every belief and hope in you

    Bob

  • Kristen

    Bob,

    Thank you for your kind comments. I don’t know what to say, you have so many good things to share with the world, obviously.

    I’m sorry you felt discarded and I’m glad that you eventually found yourself and was able to create new chapters and not get lost in the past. I’m trying to do the same thing with myself, though it’s easier said than done.

    I have a lot of baggage to go through but I have a good therapist and people around me who care about me. I hope you do too. Thanks for your thoughts and provocative questions and your candor.

    Kristen

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