Fourth Occurrence: Age 19-21
The Preliminary Situation
The spring of 2004 brought with it a new relationship, begun on the Internet with a guy who lived about an hour and a half away from the college I attended. One month of whirlwind love quickly became two months, and I was fully swept up in him, rescued from my depression, rescued from the fog I had been living in so long. We hadn’t even been dating long but were already talking marriage and kids; we just clicked together, and it felt absolutely right.
Then, in July of that year, my newfound love lowered the boom on me; he wanted to see other people. I tried desperately to get him to reconsider, racked my brain for reasons why he might have been dissatisfied, called him incessantly, blamed myself for not being attractive enough...and then, I discovered exactly why he was so eager to see other people. He had been dating six other girls online during the time we were together, and simply put, he had expected me to "put out" in a certain time frame. When I had refused (despite much persuasion on his part), stating that I was waiting for marriage, he had agreed...and then had quietly made up his mind to dump me. I am not certain, but I believe that by July of 2004, he was already entertaining one other girl at his house, who answered his phone when I called one late night to try to convince him to come back.
For me, this was a huge shock. I had been so careful about my heart at first, and had tried to use my intuition and keen judgment to guide me. But this romance, too, had ended in horrible failure--made even worse by the fact that he had coerced me into a little intimacy I really wasn’t ready for or wanting. I had been so insecure about losing him that I had compromised on my wants and beliefs up to a point, but when he tried to persuade me to have “real sex,” I had officially put my foot down, and lost him anyway.
Depression Storms In
I felt dirty. Worthless. Unlovable. Unfeminine. Undesirable. I sank into heartbreak and self-loathing. But, as always, I threw myself into my work--both my schoolwork and my newfound talents in webdesign and development--to prove I was worth something, even though this guy had all but told me with his actions that I wasn't worth another minute of his time.
But while I was heavily depressed, I also made time for going to see my gaming friends, made up of a small group of guys I had met in my last year of high school, two hours away from college. That gaming time, in retrospect, did start to lighten my mood, though it did not truly break the storm of depression in my mind.
My further attempts at dating in college ended up in failure and crying as well, which temporarily intensified the depression. Finally I just gave up on dating entirely, and intensely focused on schoolwork, which needed my attention anyway--and unwittingly, I strengthened my self-knowledge and friendships as well. I built more websites, got deeply into a few fandoms, and progressed as much as I could, while still fighting the worthlessness I felt.
The End of the Fourth Cycle
By the time I graduated college in the spring of 2007, I was just about out of my depression; I had built strong friendships with other gamers, my college acquaintances, and some fellow fans and webdesigners, and I had also experienced great success in my major, winning a place in several prestigious academic honor societies. Thirdly, I had found what I thought was my life’s true purpose: middle-school education, hopefully saving students from the type of hell I had experienced.
Finally, I was feeling like an okay person again, and this time my successes didn’t feel shallow. I also had a new love interest in my sights--one of my gaming friends, who was also a community college professor in my hometown--and though I wasn’t sure he would ever notice me, I felt more confident (yet careful) about approaching him. Things seemed to be looking up again, and so depression loosened its grip...for a time.