Thursday, November 5, 2009

Writer's Workshop: Erase that Memory.

It's time for Mama Kat's Writing Workshop again. This time, the prompt I chose was, "describe an experience you wish you could shake from your memory." So get ready. This is heavy stuff. 

It was a cold winter's night. The heater was working hard, trying to remove the chill from the air, but I still felt frozen. We were whipping along the expressway at 80 miles an hour, but in my mind, everything was moving too slowly, weighted down by the sadness, the madness in my head.

"I can't," I whispered.

He groped to grab my hand in the dark. "Yes. Yes, you can. I'm right here. I'll be here."

I shrank back, trying to disappear into my seat. "No, you don't understand. I really can't. I can't face it."

We were on our way to dinner. With both sets of parents. Dinner with the parents, when everyone knew I was slowly going mad. Had watched as I took a baseball bat to everything that was good in my life and set about destroying it.

"You have to, Amber. They're waiting for us."

"But I'm brooooooooooken," I howled through the sobs that suddenly overwhelmed me. "I'm broken and I can't DO this."

"What? What can't you do?"

"This. Life. I just can't, anymore. I can't do it," I said, then clutched my head hard enough to hurt and began to sob in earnest.

His hands turned white on the steering wheel, and I could tell he was struggling not to cry himself.

"Stop. Stop talking like that. We'll get through this, together. We will. I promise."

Again he reached out, and this time, I let him take my hand. Slowly, my sobs quieted, the agony once more retreating inside my head. When we got to the restaurant, I took a deep breath, stuffed the pain into its closet, and stepped out of the car.

We made it through dinner, his hand clutching mine under the table. Everyone ignored my red eyes. Pretended not to see when I bolted to the bathroom to cry. They forced their smiles and carried on with the celebration, determined to cling to a shell of normalcy.

As for me? I was dying inside. Sunk deep in a pit of depression so crushing that I could hardly breathe. I'd like to tell you that that was the worst of it. The end of it. But it wasn't. Not by a long shot.

Before it was over, I had destroyed friendships, sabotaged my career and dragged Brian to the darkest depths of Hell with me.

This is just one of many, many memories I wish I could erase. But I can't. And that's a good thing. Because they serve as a reminder—a warning. Now, when the symptoms start, I don't ignore them. I slow down, reach out and ask for help.

I was lucky. I survived. Not everyone does. So if you think you might be depressed, don't wait. Get the help you need. It could mean the difference between living...and not.

Ready for some lighter fare? Visit Mama Kat and see the other entries.


  1. I'm so glad you survived. You have an important message to tell.

  2. Amber, this is VERY touching and so very brave of you to share! You are a good writer, btw, inspiring and evocative.

  3. This should be encouraging to others. It's hard to post about stuff we want to forget. I'm still debating if I want to actually post my embarrassing experience that I'd like to forget for the world world to see. It took courage for you to post this and I'm so glad you learned from it and were able to live on!

  4. Just wanted to share...I have an award for you on my blog

    thanks for inspiring me!

  5. Very powerful and gripping. It sounds like a painful memory to have to keep hold of, but you're right. Sometimes the best reminders are our worst moments.

  6. What a powerful post. Thank you for sharing.
    I am also popping by to tell you I really enjoy your blog and would like to present you with a “One Lovely Blog” award. I checked out your blog and don’t think you have received it yet.
    Visit me at to pick up your award! Hope you are having a great Friday!

  7. Wow, Amber... It's amazing that our deepest and most vulnerable times- the ones we would like to totally erase from our minds- are the ones that make us stronger.

  8. Did I tell you already you have an award on my blog? Can't remember. Well you do girl. Please come pick it up. Thanks! no rules. just let people know who gave it to you.
    Blog party post will be up soon!!!!

  9. Wow, thanks for sharing that! Such a powerful story, and hopefully it will help others who are not as fortunate to have such a great support system. I'm so glad to hear you're doing better now and know when to ask for help. I too suffered with depression for years, but I struggled on my own, refusing to seek help or let my friends and family in on my dark secret.

    I found your blog through Mama Kat (took her suggestion to check out the three links above mine).

    Looking forward to visiting again!

    ~ Jen

  10. Thanks everyone. It was hard to talk about this. I had to close my eyes in order to click publish.

    But it's important to speak up, I think. Our society is so damned close-mouthed when it comes to stuff like this...people are made to feel ashamed. And that's just not cool.

    Your support means a lot.

  11. Oh my goodness girl...I've been there and I understand. It's so hard digging your way out of that pit. It helps that you have writing as ab outlet. It's been my saviour.

    Thanks for stoppong by! I'm so glad you did. Sounds like we have a lot in commomn. :)

  12. HI Amber,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I know how hard it can be when you aren't very proud of your actions. Good for you! You are a strong women!

  13. You're very brave to speak up about it. Good for you for being able to recognize the signs and be able to reach out. {hugs}

  14. Amber,
    I don't know you at all as I am new to the momdot forums, well not new I just used to lurk before. You described the feelings I have off and on since breast cancer, and I can't explain why. You would think I would be happy since I beat it, but I lost me. I am proud of you for speaking up about this. As they all tell me "It will get better" Hugs my friend.

  15. It is interesting you think society is closed up about it... I thought things were getting better and people were more accepting... of women and depression. But maybe I think that because I am so much closer to the topic- especially since I work in health care.

    I think men and depression is another story though, one that needs to be told. Symptoms of depression in men are so different...and there is so much more stigma attached to men and depression, I really hope one day as much attention is brought to it as women and, say, post partum depression.

  16. I'm so glad you made it through. I'm a little teary, so that's all I can say.

  17. I'm so glad that you made it through it all and are able to talk about it. Many don't and many need search for others like them and now they have somewhere to go to know they are not alone.

  18. ellie, I hope you know you're not alone. And that help is out there...taking the first step is the hardest part.

    e, in theory, society is more accepting. Until, that is, people get up close and personal with someone who's suffering. Most folks just don't want to deal with it. They just want you to snap out of it, take some drugs and get on with your life.

    It's understandable, but not at all helpful.

  19. Thank you for sharing this touching story. It takes a strong woman to talk about depression, and to ask for help.

  20. This is very powerful, and I'll be honest and say that I had to skim over some of it because this is a topic near and dear to my heart and I didn't want to burst into tears! Good for you for writing this, and the best part reading that you have been able to get the help that you need to start healing! Many hugs to you!

  21. oh gosh girl. i've been there too. i stayed there for MANY years...TOO MANY years. i felt so alone. i was one of the lucky ones, too, just like you. we are survivors!!

    i actually had thought about blogging about my experiences and what i went through and what i did to myself. we'll see i guess.

    thanks for this insight into you. it makes me admire you even more. love you!


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