GUEST BLOG POST: Mickayla Peters
In my short time on this Earth I have had many opportunities to learn, grow and create positive and impermeable memories. I have all matter to thank for the experiences I’ve had, and for the stories that I chose to share on Sickboy this weekend. This being said, to be thankful for painful memories doesn’t negate the fact that I- perhaps to the dismay of audience members- acknowledge the heaviness in their existence. Despite my cavalier attitude toward my story, it is important to me to stress that the terrifying images I have come to coddle for my own protection follow me each day. The cry of a child reminds me of my own. To see a door without a doorknob makes my stomach acid swim into my throat. I use humour as a bed to fall back on when I am in my most vulnerable moments; the covers to hide the negative version of how I feel. For this reason alone, I apologize to any audience members who may have experienced triggers or unpleasant thoughts and feelings as a result of the way I conducted myself on Friday night. In an attempt to become relatable, I understand that I may have not shown enough apathy. You must believe me when I say that I have done my dwelling. I have lived in darkness and disparity for longer than I have ever wanted to, and I have undressed myself in gruesome fashion for zealous attempts to find joy in my veins.
I am no longer the person I was when I began my journey through the catacombs of mental health. I have reflected, wallowed, pitied, and denied. I am no longer a person who pleases the squatters in my attic. At age 21, I am done.
I chose to become involved with Sickboy because I believed that the stories in my bindle were capable of spreading a wholesome, uninhibited awareness of what it’s like to be sick. Throughout my journey of abuse, sexual abuse, Child Gratification Disorder, Generalized Anxiety and Clinical Depression I have learned how to capture and preserve the silver linings in all aspects of every situation I have encountered. Without my experiences supporting me, I would have never developed enough confidence or willpower to sustain myself through the impacts of genetically predisposed conditions that would have presented themselves regardless of what my physical body took part in. I sincerely hope that everyone involved in Friday’s production was as pleased to be in my company as I was to be in theirs.
While I enjoyed answering the questions of Jeremie, Taylor and Brian, there are a few things that I wish to discuss in further detail for your reading pleasure and for the sake of my ability to share my stories with you. I’d like to begin from the beginning in a much more concise and developed manner. Child Gratification Disorder is such a curious topic that I feel I haven’t given you enough information about Generalized Anxiety and Clinical Depression.
I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety at the age of 18. I was in my first year of university, and was incredibly impressionable and eager to make friends who looked intelligent- a superficial mistake that would soon lead to a heartbreaking learning experience.
My smart friend seemed, for the most part, like anyone else. Not knowing what I do now about mental health, I made an incorrect assumption that a person’s appearance on the outside was a direct reflection of who they were on the inside. I learned that I was incorrect when I began to connect dots of stories; tall tales that would have fooled the mind of someone older, seasoned in the hard-knock truth the world delivers to someone who has earned their place in society. Looking back, I consider this situation to be the universe’s orientation to me— World 101.
As I attached the inconstancies on my mental diagram, I realized that many of the qualities in my friend were contradictions of her behaviour, and possibly falsified. When I confronted her about my suspicions, I was met with outlandish claims that could only be produced by someone who had stepped outside reality.
As I uncovered more of the truth, I stopped taking time for myself and spent the majority of the next two months locked in my dorm room. When I wasn’t calling my parents in the middle of the night to pick me up and take me home, I was surviving on watered-down Jell-O and crumbled cookies wrapped in napkins from my friends down the hall. I remember that the crack at the bottom of the door wasn’t quite tall enough to squeeze a cookie through. The oil would always soak through the brown paper, and I’d be thankful that I didn’t consume it. I began to see a psychologist who helped me heal through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
About a year later I had learned strategies to manage my anxiety, but I was still feeling and looking gaunt. I hadn’t felt an emotion that wasn’t forced in 365 days. I began to have suicidal thoughts that called my body to action in the middle of the night. There were many times where I held scissors and knifes to my wrists and tested my skin’s elasticity. I wanted to see how far I could push myself without breaking. If I could handle the pressure of a blade without cutting myself intentionally, then perhaps I could make it out of the darkness without dying. I made the assumption that I was being dramatic, and moved on until I began crying every day. From the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep, I would fight tears that had no logical source. I was sad because I was sad.
In my second year of university at age 19, I started thinking about medication options. I had no idea what medication would do for me that CBT didn’t, but I wanted a quick fix. For reasons I am still unsure of, a doctor prescribed Prozac, which made my heart flutter and my mind wander. I was constantly thirsty, I had no interest in sex and I would spend most nights lying awake thinking about ways to end my life without experiencing physical pain. I never found a way.
Despite how thankful I am to be selfishly single, I have my last relationship to thank for my ability to weather through the mental storm that plagued me throughout 2014. My partner was my project. While I tried to squeeze him into a mould he couldn’t accommodate I was able to focus on something other than myself and gain a sense of purpose through every way he changed for me. My behaviour during this relationship prompted a pattern of emotional abuse that helped me to lose myself in my other half. As my mental health decreased once again, the relationship quickly became mutually unhealthy and I ended it before we ended each other. I will continue to carry the lessons he taught me into my elder years.
Soon after, one of my most reliable friends ended our relationship. As I gasped for air with my very best friend and roommate by my side, I still felt like my support circle was lacking. This was untrue, but depression paints a picture in shades of black. My negative thoughts were the spilled glasses of water that puddled and pooled at the edges of the kitchen table before running onto the floor in exhausted drips. I looked at the purple knife in the drawer and waited to gather the courage to take action. I was no longer afraid of pain. The curve of the blade appealed to me in a way that I had never thought possible. Just after I began taking Zoloft, my psychologist requested that I ask my roommate to hide the knife.
Today, I have never felt better. My future is unfolding in front of me and I have developed an entirely new sense-of-purpose. I have become the seasoned, empowered woman I was born to be, and I am not afraid to take chances, set boundaries or ask for help when I need it. I am not cured. I will never recover from depression or anxiety. There will be days when I sleep too much and eat too little. I will suffer for my imbalances and be weighed down by darkness. A time will come when Zoloft becomes ineffective, and I will have to struggle to find meaning in my existence. I am telling you this because I will also not give up. I will fight to live in this world that pins me down and holds my minds hostage just as much as it makes me feel invincible, gracious and necessary. I am enough. I will never not be enough.
Folks: be selfish, confident and proud. The people who truly love you will follow suit. Fuck everyone else.
Hear the conversation between Mickayla and the boys at Neptune Theatre HERE!