By Skylar Belt
It’s a strange and satisfying feeling pissing yourself in the wintertime. On the one hand, yes, you are infinitely embarrassed to have just peed your pants. But, on the other hand, as your piss slowly soaks into the fabric of your pants, it warms you up. And it feels good. Comforting. Like a much needed hug.
It doesn’t last though, and soon you’re left shivering in your own piss, unable to get up because you drank too much, or did too many drugs, or simply because you’ve lost the motivation to move.
This was me about two winters ago. I went to my friend's New Year’s party. I drank until I cried, smoked cigarettes until I felt nothing, and then collapsed in my friend's basement where I peed my pants. And it wasn’t for another four hours that I was able to pull myself up, change my pants and make a very tiresome walk of shame home.
This was one of my worst winters ever. But as a person that battles everyday with depression, every winter is hard.
I can look back on that now though and see it for what it was. I was just a kid struggling with depression, trying to find a release from all the punishing thoughts inside my brain. But it took me awhile to see myself that way. To show myself compassion. At first, I looked at what had happened as a confirmation that I was, indeed, a fuck up. My dad was a fuck up. And now, so was I. Simple as that.
I know now that wasn’t the truth. And a little part of me knew it then. But I wasn’t strong enough to say it to myself yet. I needed help.
So I looked for people that seemed to care for me: Friends, family, lovers. I kept them close so on the days when I felt awful, so they could tell me I was beautiful. So they could remind me that my happiness was worth it and that loving myself wasn’t wrong. And so they could kick me out of bed on the days I refused to move, and help me laugh on the days it hurt to smile. They rubbed my temples on the days it felt like the world was collapsing in on me.
These were the caring hands that helped carry me forward, but they couldn’t bring me to happiness itself. There was always this heaviness, like a sinking weight, that kept me two steps away from reality.
It wasn’t until I finally gained the courage to love myself that I started to feel in control of my life again. At first, I started small. I ate food that made me feel good. I drank, but not to excess. I exercised regularly. I pushed myself to get out of the house and talk to people. I wrote in my journal. And I didn’t punish myself for the times when I slipped up on loving myself.
It was hard at first, and then it got easier. Still, sometimes it would get hard again. Even after all the work I put into desperately trying to feel good, I’d return to that terrible feeling again. I thought it would pass. And sometimes it did. But those days felt like mystic vacations that I was never really able to hold onto.
This year, before the mild autumn days gave way to the icy coldness, I finally gave in and made an appointment with a therapist. In that initial visit, I found myself more scared than I had ever been in my whole life. My hands were shaking, I had a headache and I felt like I was about to vomit. The therapist asked me why I was there, and when I told her it was because I feel sad all the time and I don’t know why, I almost cried. It was the first time I had ever admitted that to myself out loud. And it was the first time I finally felt like I was getting control over my feelings.
I know that this winter will be difficult to handle at times. But I’ve gotten a lot better at learning to love myself, and using the resources given to me to get through it.
It’s been two years since I hit rock bottom in a pool of my own piss, but since then I’ve come a long way in learning to love myself.