Reaching Out And Shut Out For Being Who I Am, a blog post by Drem

How is being depressed viewed far worse a crime than being a grown man who robbed from his own family??

Things have been a little hard. My multiple sclerosis takes a toll on me physically and emotionally. Every time I get my treatments there is a higher risk I will development PML because I am JC positive. If I get PML, I will die. Writing my Living Will at 23 years old changed my outlook on life. It makes me worry.

Combining that with my PTSD, anxiety and depression that as of late has been a handful… well, it’s a lot. I’ve been writing more about it which has been a healthy outlet.

But I’m not going to bullshit you and say I’m the best person in the world despite all the physical and mental stuff. I have mood swings that I can’t control (not violent ones). I cry for no reason and sometimes for reasons. I shut down a lot and disappear into my own head.

I know when this is happening, though. Because I know and am aware, I make sure not to be around people. I don’t want people to see me like this. Especially children. It isn’t healthy. And I was taught to feel ashamed to be this way. I was taught to hide myself and thus hate myself for it- for being who I am.

Long story short, I’ve been trying to reach out. Calling my family. Saying that maybe when I get a bit better I can go visit them. Or, conversely, they can come and see me.

Reaching out– once my meds are regulated and when my MS isn’t dragging me down, maybe watch my cousins to give their parents a date night, or even help them clean their house. We can all spend a summer day at the amusement park. There’s a bunch of options we can do together. Everyone has their own problems and I don’t minimize their problems. I want to have fun with my cousins or help their parents out when I can because like it or not, they are family SO SAYS MY MOTHER. And I’m an only child. I’m alone. So I call. I leave a message. Sometimes they pick up. Empty voices enter my ear. Often they don’t pick up.


But it really hurts when I know I’m seen solely as my illness, whether it be my physical disabilities or my depression.

Long story short, I’m apparently “not a good influence.”

Even though I’ve never done illegal drugs, been violent or arrested, never slept around, preached hatred or disappeared for days. Even though I always got excellent grades, am polite and try my best every day to be better, I’m not good. I’m not good enough.

They say no to my family time ideas. Don’t offer alternatives. It seems a growing number don’t want me around.

I am further isolated because of things I can’t control. Further shamed.


I first heard it from one aunt a few years ago, four years ago, when I was staying with them after Hurricane Sandy. I lost my house in the storm and we evacuated to their’s. I guess before that I was in denial about my blacklist status. Back then at that time I wasn’t suffering from any major emotional issues. Just anxiety. I was in school and doing pretty good. My hair wasn’t blue, so that isn’t an excuse for what was said. I looked normal and talked normal. But my cousins were instructed not to talk to me, or not to talk to me without her around. All we were doing were playing their video games in our pajamas and eating popcorn with the legos sprawled on the ground. That was the first time I was the other. It wasn’t the last.


Taught Hatred And Fear Cycle

I’m an only child and I know by now that once my mom dies I will spend my Christmases eating Chinese food at a restaurant. Maybe I’ll get invited to a holiday last minute out of Cafeteria Catholic guilt. But, I will always be the other. Now I try to evaluate the situation taking everything into account I can think of, because this situation is so difficult for my mind to wrap around. I am not viewed as normal by the majority of them. This I know. I’m the poor one with a divorced mom. I’m the sick one who is on chemo. I’m the depressed one. I’m the raped one. Living on disability, unable to have a conventional job. And I’m the one who is always consistently judged and given “advice” when they do pick up the phone even though they don’t have any idea who I am because they never come around.


I don’t connect with them, and it’s also affecting how some of my cousins who I considered my siblings now treat me. They don’t talk to me. And a few of them that do, my God is it so painfully fake. They are terrible actors. Absolutely horrendously terrible actors. I play along. Small talk. Compliment the dress. Ask about the cat. They scurry away quickly, and I sigh in relief. It’s pretty unfortunate how they were taught to be this way. They were my best friends. I lost my best friends. I lost the cousins who I viewed as my sisters and brothers.


Being depressed is viewed far worse than being a thief.

So now, I’m giving up. I got another slap in the face today when I offered to do laundry or watch the kids in the pool once things settle down. It hurts too much even though I tell myself to not be upset. Still, I don’t like the idea of being so alone. My sadness and disappointment makes me weak and I wish I wasn’t affected by this blacklist I was put on.


And you know, the drug addicts in this family (everyone has them, there’s no shame here), the ones who disappear for days on drinking binges, the ones who have stolen money from their parents and aunts and uncles, the ones who can’t keep a job, in and out of jail, kicked out of college, the ones who won’t stay in rehab to get better (compared to me who stays in the physical or emotional facilities to help me get better), and the ones that have terrible personalities and are terribly selfish- they get more respect than me. More invites. Hosted BBQ birthdays (that I’m conveniently left out of). Healthy cheques on the holidays. In on group texts. Accepted Instagram requests. They get pity and care instead of perpetual shame. And you know, those drug addicts and thieves don’t even talk to me. THEY JUDGE ME.





For more on being the other, please read Remaining The Other, a poem by Drem which touches on how I feel removed from society by having to live with my PTSD from my sexual assault.

2 thoughts on “Reaching Out And Shut Out For Being Who I Am, a blog post by Drem

  1. I feel you Drem. My mother in law and my best mate both have MS . It is a debilitating illness that seems to only get worse. The more meds you are on the more it triggers other illnesses and symptoms. I am so glad you typed this and let us all know what you are thinking. People need to realise that we all have mental health and we all are subject to good and bad mental and physical health. The two are intrinsically linked. Most people have mood swings and Depression etc… – They just hid it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are linked. I am so glad you see that, as well. Before my MS got so bad after I was diagnosed (which wasn’t that many years ago, still in my 20s now), everything else was stable.

      Liked by 1 person

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