by Allie Burke
Sometimes I forget.
There are times when I sit or stand in a group of people—be them friends, colleagues, or family—laughing. Tilting my head back with the thought that I do belong somewhere. But then in days or weeks or months or years, I sit at my desk at work and watch my entire team get up and go to lunch without me. An hour later, I watch them pow-wow on fresh ideas without a care for what I might think, and I remember.
I remember that I don’t belong anywhere. And I never will. That’s the depression talking, you will say. We say such harsh things to ourselves and to the people we love when we are “not ourselves”. We are never more morbid, more inward, when we are depressed. We will feel better about life, in the morning, after we’ve had a nap.
Shit, I say that all the time.
It is in our darkest moments, though, that we are most realistic with ourselves. I know I have the bad habit of being tough and harsh and the type of woman Tina Fey is talking about when she says bitches get shit done. On the days I wake up with a positive outlook, when everything goes my way, I am a kind, gentle soul, who will give the shirt off her back for the people she loves.
But it is in the grip of depression that I know I am the bitch who gets shit done. Look at me. I’m a corporate professional with a VP sticker on my bio. I’ve been featured in some of the most prestigious publications in the country. A bestselling author with a book that has changed the mindset of the face of mental illness. I am not bragging; I am stating facts. Do you think a kind, gentle soul got that done? Do you think I gave my shirt for that? No, I put my shirt on and I said fuck you, world, I do what I want. I did all of that in the grip of depression and it is in the grip of depression that with all of that, there is still not a place that I belong.
Depression is realism, and none of us should ignore our thoughts in the darkness. For without light, our thoughts are all we have to look at.
I have never fit in. Not really. I was always the little girl, with the big backpack that said I LOVE SCHOOL on it, who teenage boys yelled at out of the open windows of their car.
If only life were so easy now, as to be called ugly out of a moving car. But they won’t call me ugly. They wouldn’t dare. Not anymore. Because I’m not that ugly little girl with big feet and too many freckles. I still have big feet, but these days, there isn’t such a thing as too many freckles, and hey, I have the hair that everyone wants.
But life isn’t easy. I’ve made my choice, in every venture that I have pursued, to be the bitch that gets shit done. I have chosen not to be the kind, gentle soul in my dealings with humanity because humanity tore that soul out of me at a very young age and stepped on it until it bled. And at two months shy of thirty years old, I have to deal with it.
The consequence of this choice is to be on the outside, looking in. After all, this is how I’ve felt over the course of my life. I have been surrounded by people at one time or another, but I’m always on the other side of the glass. Sure this could be the depression talking, or dare I say the S-word, but it’s always been that way, even during the laugh halfway through the head-tilt. I don’t know where I belong, other than at the side of my lovely boyfriend who supports me every minute of every day. There is my corporate job and my family and my friends and the mental health community—but every person from every group knows that I don’t belong there. I don’t belong here like you do.
None of them love me or even like me for the sake of embracing a personal connection; they put up with me because they have to. What is that they say? The first step is admitting you have a problem?
I admit accept that I have am a problem.
I want everyone reading this to know that this is a literary piece to create awareness for what bullying and segregation does to a human being with a mental illness. Though I don’t believe any of what I wrote above, I could, and that is the point.
This depressive frame of mind is what leads to suicide. If you want to know what leads to the frame of mind itself, I want you to ask yourself about the last time someone ostracized another from your clique, and then I want you to ask yourself how that person is doing now.
This is how we create awareness of our suicide problem. By asking ourselves what we did to help. And if we did nothing to help, we are part of the problem. Acceptance of that is how we create change.
A Bestselling Author, NPO VP, and Psychology Today Blogger from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.
Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.
From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.