I was not a "happy" child.

 

Depression and anxiety have been part of my narrative... forever. On a recent trip to visit my parents, my mom asked me to help her sort through boxes of drawings, homework assignments, notes, cards, and other things she blessedly saved over the years. As I looked through box after box, I realized that I was sorting through a sort of autobiographical chronicle of my mental health struggles.

My therapist asked me how it felt to look through all of these documents chronicling my unhappiness. "Exciting", I told him. Because I had evidence now. Proof that I wasn't just an angsty teen, or a kid acting out. I was unwell for a long time. And it was plain as day, and anyone could have seen it, and I was holding it in my hands. Why didn't anyone else see it?

This great discovery needed to be documented alongside photographs of my parents. As I confronted my relationship to my childhood, which was usually tumultuous, I had a chance to see things differently. I could bury these boxes with a new perspective on the environment I was raised in. This is my chance to give my younger self her voice, and comfort her in the image of a happy home. 

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