How I went through depression and no one talked about it (part 1)

​Having depression is something that no one understands. No one can hardly explain the feelings or thoughts that pass through your mind. You hear things like: “Don’t be ridiculous! You’re not depressed”, “Just forget about it and be happy” or “You’re too young to be depressed. Go out and have fun”. I wished I could’ve done all those things but I couldn’t. My body wouldn’t let me, my mind didn’t want to, my eyes wouldn’t let me open them. “I can’t believe you’re like this because of him” my mom said.“There are hundreds of guys out there! You’re young and beautiful” a girl told me.
On a psychological consult 5 years later I understood that it wasn’t entirely because of him, it was because of me; and all the actions that happened after were not the consecuences, they were it: the depression.

I’ll start from the beginning…

I was a young, naive, virginal (in every sense) girl who turned 18 and was just enrolled in her first semester of pre-med. That year I met new people, new ideas, new places, new activities. I met him, I professed the autonomy of one’s body, I visited that bar where I got wasted every month and I learned how to roll up a joint. He was one of my childhood crushes and he coincidently went to my same university and studied the same career. We knew each other because our mothers were friends, but we weren’t exactly friends. I took advantage of the fact that I was new (and didn’t have any friends going to the unisersity with me) to get close to him by asking him advice and asking him to be break partners.

As time passed we got closer. We shared rides in his car with the windows down and John Mayer in full volume, we had long talks at the park and skyped until 5AM. He asked me out on my first date ever and gave me my first kiss. I wouldn’t say I was falling in love with him, but I was definitely in love with the ilusion of having a boyfriend who was so handsome, cool and perfect like him. Looking back now, I was so blind to identify the alarm signals: he once told me that a girl was “begging him” to go out on a date with her at a house party and he, right in front of his guy friends and herself, proceeded to mock and laugh at the “desperate” and “insisting” girl who left the party crying. So yeah…you can figure.

After 3 months of dating, he kind of noticed that I was indeed falling for him so one day he told me: “I’m not ready for a relationship right now. I just came from a long-term relationship and I’m not willing to commit right now”. I pretended to understand him and we decided to stop dating but keep going out as friends. I believed I could do such thing, but every day that passed I kept liking him more. On top of that, the kissing and touching never stoped between us. I naively thought that if this went on, he would probably change his mind and he would eventually forget his girlfriend and I would become his new girlfriend (Remember that I was 18, extremely naive, and virgin with boys, relationships and sex).
December came and I was convinced that he was going to take me as his girlfriend, especially after we took the next step into a non-penetrative act (oral). A couple of days later he asked me if I wanted to be his “fuck buddy”. When I read that on my blackberry, I had no idea whatsoever of what a fuck buddy was. I remember googling what a fuck buddy was and I read: “A sex partner with whom one has sex without any emotional attachment”. My jaw dropped. ANY EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT….so, he didn’t have the slightest feeling about me? After all the things we shared and enjoyed, he wants to have me just for sex? Do I have that less worth to him? He’s known me for years! My accomplishments, my achievements…I’m a good girl. How could he do this to me?
I felt ashamed, angry, stupid…5 years back I considered a fuck buddy as a way of getting sex for free, a degrading title… maybe that’s what I was for him…a prostitute, a bitch, a hooker. I felt crushed about the fact that of all people, he would be the one to degrade me in such way.

Wanting to fuck me and then discard me when he felt like it and keep acting as normal friends afterwards.
I felt crushed. My self-esteem reached the lowest levels. I was a nobody. The person I trusted and knew treated me like debris. December was cold and dark, just as my depression.

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8 things every latina with a traditional upbringing can identify with

1.Don’t ever talk to strangers. It could seem a bit contradictory knowing that Latin Americans are very open, welcoming and friendly o anyone. You can literally meet someone at the bank while in line and five minutes later you end up talking about your grandmothers death; but when it came up to our parents dropping us into the real world outside, it was literally 3 things: Don’t talk to strangers, dress appropriately and don’t talk to strangers. Although if you ever bumped into a family friend and didn’t say hi (even if you didn’t remember who the hell he/she was), you were the most uneducated and unfriendly child they’ve ever had.

2.Stay a virgin until marriage. Yeah, some of our parents still believe in this virgin fairy tale (until I stopped being one). All our generations from our grandmothers, mothers and aunts have passed down to their beloved daughters the importance of being a virgin to maintain that “pristine” and “clean” image. They will even scare you or make up some non-scientific facts in order for you to stick to your hymen. Lies can go from:

  • Girls who have sex get a fat ass.
  • Your boobs are going to get saggy.
  • You’ll look old.
  • Sex is a tool to use women and discard them afterwards.
  • Men don’t like “used” women.
  • Being a virgin is a woman’s pride… and last but not least:
  • Our father God tells us to be virgins in the Bible.

When my mom knew that I was’t a virgin anymore she told me that I had “disappointed her” and I “tore my image up”. Of course, it has changed while time passed and I grew older, my mom even goes with my to the OB-GYN appointments, but, it wasn’t that easy for the stigma to go away. I even had an aunt who offered me a “hymen reconstruction surgery” or whatever that is useful for nowadays…

3. Having to learn how to cook and clean from a young age. My case was totally different than the rest. I had the privilege of having a house maid while growing up so I was never forced to do them, and since my mom isn’t the greatest cook, she never taught me how to. Most of my girl friends learned to cook as young as 9 years old. It not rare to know a 13 year old girl who can prepare a whole meal on their own. I, unfortunately like my mother, were never taught how to cook, and were left to figure it out on our own. I barely know how to do an omelette, but I can follow any recipe to a “T”.

4. No sleepovers, no questions asked. Yeah, I’ve never went to a sleepover, EVER! I have other latina friends that have but having super strict, traditional parents sleepovers are always a no-no because of reasons like:

  • I don’t trust young girls by their own your age.
  • What can you possibly do with your friends one night that can’t be done in one day.
  • I have a feeling that so-and-so is a bit weird, probably a lesbian. You’re not going.
  • There are men living in your friend’s house…and those men in your friends house can lead to another common teaching which is:

5. Bad men can rape you (actually, ANY man can rape you). Teachers, friends, colleagues, that taxi driver, your best-friends brother, your cousin…every man is a rapist. Of course, when you’re starting to get older and you start daring, the intensity tones down a bit but the paranoia lays in our subconscious. That’s why I get that adrenaline rush when that Uber driver takes an unexpected different route or when your boss unexpectedly invites you to his house to drink some wine.

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6. Not being able to start dating while your brother or male cousins were encouraged to, simply because you were a “girl”. So one day the four of us (mom, dad and my younger brother) were sitting in the living room having a family talk when my dad told my brother: “You have to start daring a couple of girls to gain experience”, and I said: “So, I can date a couple of guys also to gain experience”(I already knew the answer, I just wanted to trigger him). “No” he said “because you’re a girl”. In our Latin American culture, male chauvinism is very much encouraged and applauded in boys from a young age, while girls are taught to sit with their legs crossed until they reach the age to marry. In my family it wasn’t that oppressing towards women, but some situations and ideas were made with a base in male chauvinism, even if they were made subconsciously. Men are encouraged to not cry, not to do house work, exploit their masculinity and gain plenty of sexual experience while girls are encouraged to d house chores, go to school and keep their legs closed. Fortunately for me, my parents weren’t that determined to turn me into a Bedford wife, instead they helped me get a good education to not need to depend on a man in the future; but like I said before, some situations have a male chauvinism background that is embedded to our genes.

7. Always having to fill your family’s expectations. A lot of our parents and grandparents didn’t have the opportunity in their countries to receive a higher education due to a ton of factors typical of our countries in process of global development, so the only way they knew as a social and economical ladder for their future generations was doing hard work. Girls from my generation and a couple decades older were granted the opportunity to study, go to college, and even achieve a masters or doctorates, which leads us to be the main pride of our parents and the “hope” or “light” of the family. That’s why when your cousin Maria got pregnant at 16, she was the embarrassment of the family…Thank God you’re in Med School! That relieves the family shame.

8. Hating your parents during all the years you’ve lived with them for the strict, non-humanly rules they set you, but realizing afterwards that they only had the best of intentions. It’s not easy to be raised by overly-protected parents, but after years pass by you realize that you didn’t come out to be a bad kid after all. Maybe some of the rules and discipline might’ve been unnecessary, over-the-top or traumatizing, but it made you into the awesome girl you are today (and who your parents keep talking about in every conversation they have).

How Bukowski helped me go through my teenage angst

The first time I heard a poem from Charles Bukowski it was on this Levi’s TV ad back in 2009. It was called The laughing heart. I was so moved by the words to this poem that I immediatly googled it and wrote it in my diary as an important mantra for going through the rest of my adolescence.

I was always the geek in the classroom. I was always studying and did all my homework and projects on time. I graduated with a 3.9 GPA with the excellence honor. By the time I was 17 I spoke 3 languages, played and teached the violin, knew embroidery, knitting and scrapbooking (yes, I litterally do anything except clothes and tasty food). Beacause of all the curricular and extra-curricular activities, and having very strict parents, I never got to enjoy the typical teen things like sleepovers, dating or cinema nights. I was so obsessed in being perfect and building a base for my future. I’m not gonna lie, it was totally worth it; but on the other hand I can say that I didn’t enjoy my teenage years like a normal teen.

Writing helped me escape from all the teenage angst and lack of participation in normal teenage activities, that’s why I always had journals and notepads to just capture every thought, feeling or moment through words.

I didn’t suffer harsh bullying during high school, but I was outcasted by most of my classmates for being so “different” (for them of course). It’s not easy for an early teen to not have friends because they’re considered different or weird. I suffered pretty much on my transition from middle school to high school. We all had our akward phase, but somehow I felt mine was the most akward. Writing and reading really helped me exceed those tough teenage years and poems like these make a highlight in my life.
Today while I was cleaning my room, I found one of my diaries from high school and saw The Laughing heart poem written on one of the pages. Bukowski’s poem really motivated me to give the best of me and helped me find my path during my last teenage years.It inspired me to endure the rough times, because it’s not going to always be that hard. It reminded me that there is some light in the middle of all the darkness.

It’s an honor to share Bukowski’s inspiring words on this blog:

Your life is your life

Don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.

Be on the watch.

There are ways out.

There is a light somewhere.

It may not be much light but it beats the darkness.

Be on the watch.

The Gods will offer you chances.

Know them.

Take them.

You can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes.

And the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be.

Your life is your life.

Know it while you have it.

You are marvelous the Gods wait to delight in you.

The raffle of Love

Love is something random. Each time you meet someone it’s like you were both in a raffle with only two possibilities.

The first raffle is to see if you’ll get to have a relationship or not.

The second raffle (if there is) is to see if that relationship will last or not; last until a break-up, last until divorce or last until death.raffle-ticket

The Information age love

Love is a feeling that is present universally, although it may be presented in many different ways from verbally expressing it to making physical contact, up to buying a present or offering that special loved one a one-of-a-kind moment. It can even be expressed through other many feelings such as kindness, generosity, respect, appreciation and regard. Although the Merriam Webster dictionary defines love as a: strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, each person has their own definition of love.

I personally define love as a psychological state that can be evidenced physiologically in our organisms due to a series of chemical reactions in different parts of our bodies. Complicated huh? Not really nowadays. With all the technology at the touch of our fingers love is pretty easy to express and maintain…or not? I mean, now it’s way more easier than before; in the 90’s we had to write letters and wait for them to arrive to our loved ones and then wait again for the response to arrive in the mail. For those few friends who had beepers and computers they would be in contact much faster with their loved ones, as long as the other beeper was working or there wasn’t anyone on the phone when you wanted to press send to your electronic message. In 2017 we have various instant messaging apps which can make us communicate in real time, same as live video apps; we also have social media in which we can view, share, read, comment whatever friend, picture, video or event with our loved ones, all in just a second. Hell! we even have virtual reality in which I can even have sex with an Oculus Rift…OK, OK! It’s too much, I know.

The fact that we have access to so much information about practically everything, it gives us certain “advantage” in terms of getting to know a person although, let’s face it, we never ever get to know someone fully  since we are beings that constantly evolve and change; obviating that part, technology helps us elaborate a profile of someone by simply viewing their Facebook page or Instagram pictures; weather it’s true or not, well those are the risks we face using these tool. Just as easy it is to display all your life and personal information, it’s just as easy to create a facade of lies to hurt others, to not feel embarrassed of  yourself or just for the pleasure of it. It’s pretty easy to cheat society these days with the use of technology; it’s also easy to cheat love.information-age

Different from the fact that the introduction of technology in our love for others has been a great leap since now we can stay in touch at an instant timing rate and with more frequency, we can be easily deceived by the facility we have to fake our feelings and even our own identity using technology.

Love in the information age has brought us both positive and negative impacts that varies from person to person, but I guess that even though we are most likely to reconnect and get in contact more than before, we have been immersed in an impersonal kind of love, the love that connects us through wires and wires of fiber-optic cables and WI-FI spots instead of that warmth and firmness we can feel by holding hands with our boyfriends, girlfriends, children, friends or parents. This impersonal love feeds itself on remoteness, strangeness, instability and unpredictability. It doesn’t always turn like this though, it really depends on the transmitter and the receiver; the matureness, the seriousness, the distance, the love between them and many other countless factors.

Everyday there are more and more devices that estranges us into interacting and having a merely human experience between one another. We have virtual reality and human-like dolls that can “replace” the need of another human’s love, since it fills our void within in a satisfactory way…so satisfactory that we don’t even feel the need of loving or receiving love from someone else.

In my day-to-day life I’m in constant use of technology, even so that I sometimes get emerged in it and forget my surroundings, the nature or even the person next to me; it has become in some way, indispensable. I recognize that it’s something I have to change and I’m aware of it, but even though it’s an important part of me, it can never replace the love I have towards my family, friends and loved one. I still believe in the good old fashioned love in which we write letters to each other, take long walks in the park and sit down on an afternoon and just talk about how our days went. Yes, I use different apps and social media pages to stay in touch and communicate but I prefer the real-life, human feel kind of love; the one that I can not only feel, but also, touch, smell, look directly at and merely just experience that adrenaline rushing when I get to see him/her.

I live in the Information Age but don’t love exactly how this period has laid out for us.

 

Your 16 New Year Resolutions

  1. Work hard at the hospitals so you can learn the most of medicine during your last year and a half you have left.
  2. Understand that graduating Magna Cum Laude is a good thing, but not the most important thing in life. Try to study hard and give the best you got, but also take the time to have fun and enjoy the moment.
  3. Stay close to your family since there’s not much time left until you eventually move out.
  4. Take the next step with him. Engaged much?
  5. Stay true to the saying “A year older, a year wiser”. Try to understand all your mistakes and defects so you can grow into a better person with a lot more experience and knowledge on life.
  6. Time to be an adult…for good! Yeah, you’re in Med school and your parents still maintain your ass but it’s time to start covering some bills on your own.
  7. Work out. I know you’re genetically made thin and difficult to gain weight, but you’re starting to get some cellulite on your behind and that isn’t gonna look good on a wedding dress. Ok, Ok! At least wait for that new gym they’re gonna finish 2 blocks from your house.
  8. Regain your old friends. The lookout for new friends have been difficult on you for the past couple years; it’s time to get in contact with those who’ve always had your back since the beginning.
  9. Be a pro-makeup artist…at least for yourself. Makeup is a hidden passion you’ve had for so many years, it’s time to make it concrete.
  10. Start saving. You have so many plans for the future that they eventually need money. Save at least 2 dollars a day, you’ll thank me next year.
  11. Time to reunite the family. It’s time for the Rosario and Ramirez family to get to know each other; and you have to make it possible.
  12. Go out and discover. You’re only young once and it’s time for unexpected adventures and backpacking journeys to break the daily routine from killing you slowly into a monotonous death.
  13. It’s time to change that wardrobe. Those teenage t-shirts are a little bit old for you. I’m not saying you’re old, I’m saying that you’re more “mature” so you need to dress like it.
  14. Start giving. You always like to help others out but you think you don’t have the time to do it at a larger scale. It’s time to contribute, especially in what you’re good at: Teaching.
  15. Do Freelance. I know you don’t have time for a 9 to 5 job because you’re still in Med School, but you’ve always been wanting to do something on the side for that extra money. Don’t be afraid of time, you’ll have plenty.
  16. Continue being yourself. All of your friends describe you as a genuine, original and rather out-of-this-earth person. Remember that good things should be kept within you.new-year

Why the year 2000 never should of happened the way it did

SILVERNow that we are closer to receive a new year 2017, everyone is starting to prepare themselves by celebrating some traditions like eating the 12 grapes with the strike of midnight, wearing different colored underwear for luck, breaking champagne bottles and even strolling some empty luggage to the streets. Others are preparing themselves a home party or writing down some new years resolutions hoping to fulfill them all (although we know that most of them don’t).

I usually prepare my new year’s resolutions (which I will post soon) and do some other tradition, which I never end up seeing if it even works anyway; but mostly important, I get to spend it with my nuclear family and sometimes with my friends. These last days of the year got me thinking on how times flies fast and all the thing that have changed 20 something years back, and it really hit me that a lot of things have changed and I especially relate it with the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.From my point of view, change started from that event in American history that ended up affecting lots of countries not only the western hemisphere, but also the eastern hemispheres as well. People changed, economy changed, lifestyles changed, feelings changed, perceptions changed, ideologies changed; it was the most noticeable transition as seen in my point of view, and I guess in others as well.Maybe the attacks on the World Trade Center were just part of all the changes that endeavored the new millennium; let’s not forget the amazing change of the European economy on using the Euro as an accounting currency, the military intervention in the Middle East by north american troops which led to the Iraq war which lasted 8 years and led to a new international fear called “Terrorism”, the arise of new technologies in a fair short amount of time, the publication of the human genome, various oil spills, Halle Berry was the first black woman ever to receive an Oscar award, various virus outbreaks, increase in the popularity of social networks, devastating natural disasters around the globe and the arise of Global Warming as a top subject of the new millennium just to name a few events.

In the following I will number some of the reasons of why the year 2000 never should have happened the way it did, but also consider it as one of the most influential years in mankind:

  1. Induced fear: after the September 11 aftermath, people were scared of encountering a similar episode again. This was reinforced with all the security measures that were used in airports, train stations, government facilities and big events such as the Time Square’s New Years. People would panic if a “suspicious” bag was found on the streets and there would be SWAT units all over the place with the least suspicion of an abandoned bag or backpack. Not only in the United States, but with the various attacks in European countries as well (starting with the bomb detonated in a Train in Spain back in 2003 by Al-Qaeda). People walk with fear in the streets, just looking around expecting the worst from the person sitting net to them in the bus.
  2. Racism: it was an expected consequence after all the terrorism attacks going on. Any person with Middle-Eastern features and subjective Muslim name or last name, was subjected to interrogation, detention or observation in any public space or airport. This measure implemented by certain countries made its civilians fear or suspect of any person who dressed, talked or looked like a Middle-Eastern.Civilians even pleaded counterattacks and justified wars and interventions made in Middle Eastern countries. Not only have there been racism towards Middle Eastern individuals, but there has been an evident public police profiling of black males in the United States and rigorous immigration laws that apparently only applies for Latin american immigrants; all this has been evidently displayed in the Republican conventions where president elect Donald Trump has made his thoughts clear about the future of Latino immigrants in North America.
  3. Eternal mourning: all countries worldwide had mourned their loved ones due to internal wars or terrorism since 2000; from disputes between Mexican cartels, to the Taliban War all the way up to the Ituri conflict in the Congo. We have been non-stop bombarded with death tolls everyday on the news due to wars. It’s like we never have a peaceful break of all the tragic news we see and read.
  4. Rapid Growth of Technology: In 1999 the top selling cellphone was the Nokia 3210, which had a green light screen and the popular game of Snake that made everyone play during a long ride on the bus. Just 3 years later we had the first camera-built cellphone (again thanks to Nokia’s 7650) and in less than a decade afterwards, by 2007, we had our first Iphone 2G which was a real 360 degree change in technology thanks to Steve Jobs. Since then, we’ve had changes in our computers, televisions, music equipment, cars, medical devices and other devices in a rapid and intelligent way, up to creating a virtual reality with the Oculus rift, automatic driving cars and smart refrigerators.
  5. More communication and more isolation: it’s ironic to think that although we can communicate much easier than 16 years back, technologies has isolated us to enjoy more of what a screen can offer than what our nature can. Now it’s much more easier to talk and see your loved one with a simple internet connection; but it’s also more complicated to go out and socialize when you can have everything you want within your palms. We can stay thousands of miles apart and still be able to keep track on a person’s life without having them by your side, or maybe not even have a partner at all and rather buy a humanoid-robot like the Actroid DER that can even interact with people or a cylinder tube called Alexa that can even read to you, play music for you and event report you the latest news. It’s common for some to go out with friends and spend more time on the phone than actually talking to the person or preferring to play basketball on xbox than actually going out to a basketball court.
  6. Superficialness: your conscious would feel better if you would just focus on how Drake and Jenifer Lopez ended up together than the fact that 5,000 syrians are killed each month due to their Civil War. Maybe it’s because we are so tired of hearing devastating things in the news that we block it out to just focus on insignificant things; or maybe it’s just that we don’t care as long as it’s not happening to us. Tragic things have been happening since the beginning of time, the only difference is that now we are informed of them. I know we can’t be preoccupied and sad the whole time, but maybe we could stand up to our government policies or petition change for our world organisms…but hell, netflix and chill seems much more better and easier than that.