PigTale 10 | Kenneth Jackson

Open, honest, real. My aim is that these three things will be clear in my writing. The title gave you my name, now let me share my heart.

I struggle with depression and anger.

Over the years, various things have helped me to overcome these afflictions. However, I want to write about my darkest days. Not for pity, not because I’m sadistic (OK, maybe I am a little). Today I am a better person than I was before. Happier, more control, and a better understanding. My goal is to give some perspective for those who can’t relate and hope for those that can.

Forewarning: this will get dark. I don’t regret anything that happened in my past, because without it, I would not be where I am today.

My family had issues, as many do. It was a broken home. My parents’ marriage was a sham and I had my issues. My sister is Bipolar and ADHD. My brother, in the face of all these problems, turned inward and chose to ignore everyone. My father was never around, working all day and spending all night at the bar. When he was home, it was to bitch at my mother. After fighting with her, he’d turn his anger at his children. His favorite target was my brother. There was nothing my father excelled at more than emotional abuse, tearing at you with every word he so perfectly chose. My mother tried her best to care for us, working 2 to 3 jobs at a time since my father refused to support his children. Without her, I can’t imagine where we would be today.

To give you a bit of a timeline, the following events occur during the time I was about 16 to 19 years old. At the time of writing, I am 25. I’m the oldest of the children. Being that my father was not around, nor would he have even been a good role model, my younger siblings considered me their father. Even today, when there’s an important event in their lives, it’s me they want included. Being that I spent most of my childhood and young adult years raising them as their father figure, it’s no surprise.

During that time, I acted as the defender; I was the wall between my father’s wrath and my family. This took a toll on my mind, to say the least. I went into a depressive state. I had daily suicidal thoughts. I quit all my extracurricular activities, my grades fell, and I began losing hope for my family. More accurately, I began losing hope for myself. My mother took notice of this, and she tried to help. Unfortunately, nothing improved my mental state. Looking back though, I do feel she kept me from falling into complete darkness. It also caused my bond with my mother to grow, which only helped to sever my bond with my father.

Once that bond was severed, my depression turned to anger. Rather, it turned to rage; I became the embodiment of hatred. All this rage pointed at my father. I was justified - he was terrible and deserved it. Everything that was wrong in my family, in my life, was his fault. He didn’t care about us, only himself. At least, this is how I felt at the time. I believed this so deeply that it consumed me. This rage destroyed my mind to the point of instability. All this anger inside of me that had been building up. I was no longer in control, no longer able to hold myself back. This is where I hit my worst.

I attempted to kill my father…

I had to stop writing at this point for a while to collect myself. This isn’t something that’s easy to remember. Again, I don’t regret; it’s something that shaped who I am today. Even so, I’m not proud of it and it does hurt my heart that I fell so far.

I’m not going to go into every detail, as I’m doing my best to avoid a novel here. I will say that I had a knife, and had my mother not been there, I think my life would be very different. My father and I didn’t speak or see one another for some time after that. This event affected him as much as it did me. This was the turning point, for both of us. This was where everything finally hit rock bottom.

After that, I awoke from my rage. Everything up to this point seemed like a dream. How could it be reality? I had a deep conversation with my mother where everything came out, a complete mental breakdown that had been coming for years. We decided that I needed to seek professional help. I was completely broken, and it took several years to rebuild myself. But, I was able to rebuild. I won’t claim to be completely healed, that will never happen. Yet, I have overcome; with the help of my family, my faith, and my partner. Therapy also helped me to understand myself and have better control over my mind. I’ve also rebuilt my relationship with my father, which I am proud of, and something I don’t think I could have done without learning about forgiveness through Jesus.

I won’t presume to know you or your heart. Nor do I know of your struggles. I’m not going to give you a cliché about not giving up or letting yourself become consumed. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you need. Hitting your lowest point isn’t something to aim for, but it’s also not necessarily something to avoid. At the bottom, you can see just how far you’ve fallen.

My story may not be the answer for your story. Though, I hope it gave you some perspective, as well as encouraged you to be open and honest with yourself and others. My past is important and yours should be too. Don’t regret your actions, learn from them.