Darlene: My Story


I feel I have dealt with depression most of my life. I remember being sad a lot, tried to commit suicide before I was 18, and many times through the years.

My dad died when I was four years old. I was raised around alcoholics and their nonsense. My brothers were always number one; I was second, the black sheep of the family. I got teased a lot in school. In junior high the kids made a bet on how much I weighed; they even got a scale out. I felt so small, ashamed of myself, it made me cry. I didn’t want to go back to school. I hated myself back then. I already felt this way and the kids at school made it worse.

I have a blood brother and a half brother. My half brother raped me when I was 18. For the family’s sake, I didn’t tell anyone. Then a few years later he tried again, and then everything came out. I ended up with a nervous breakdown and in a psych hospital for the first time. The family didn’t believe me; a lot of good it did to hold everything in to keep the family together, it just tore the family apart. I spent many years in deep depression. I felt that I tore the family apart, even though it was my half brother.

My blood brother and I have gotten closer in the last ten years but we’re still not as close as I would like us to be, being that he is all the family I have left on my side of the family. He lives downstate; that doesn’t help me living north. Yet I feel even if I lived downstate our relationship wouldn’t get any better.

The best thing I did for myself was when I walked in the doors of Community Mental Health and asked for help in 2000. Since then I have been through three therapists, all very good, including the one I have now, and all the help from others at Mental Health. I tried many kinds of meds, and I like to think what I am on now is helping, along with all Northern Lakes CMH has to offer now. I go to three groups – DBT, Pathways to Recovery, and an Art Group. The art group is great; you can paint how you’re feeling or whatever you like, and it’s a great release for me. DBT has given me coping skills and is a big help when I can use them. I continue to work on my recovery by going to my groups, seeing my therapist, taking my meds, and using my coping skills. This is my second chance.

I have nine beautiful grandchildren and three great daughters. They are the biggest reason to keep me working on myself.

I collect butterflies – they represent freedom from depression – and peace signs, which represent peace in my head, love in my heart, and happiness in my life.