Depression Despite Success and my Mother's Love
Sheila Hageman
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Why is it that if I'm not the best at something-I feel like I'm nothing?

I wish there was a 12-step program to help me not be so hard on myself, a system designed to help me be nicer to me.

I'd be the first one in the group to open up-Hi, my name is Sheila and I'm an overachiever.

Intellectually I know that no one can be perfect, or the best…but then I have to go and be selected to be valedictorian of Hunter College. This makes me feel worse instead of better.

But it's an honor, you may be thinking. How could I be depressed when something so good is happening in my life?

I hate it when depression rains on my happy day. I want to be satisfied with the fact I've done a good job. But no…my depression is there when bad or good things happen-my depression is there.

Perhaps my depression clutches me because I am dealing with some heavy-duty emotional stuff right now besides graduating college and facing the world. Just a few months ago I learned that my mother's breast cancer has recurred. At first, the doctors were going to perform a mastectomy. Then we found out that the breast cancer has metastasized. The cancer is in her liver. Her surgery was cancelled so she could begin chemotherapy right away. Mom is now having chemotherapy treatment once a month.

I love her so much that I want to be perfect for her. The perfect daughter.

I remember the afternoon I told her I was becoming an exotic dancer. We were on the back porch and she was feeding the cats.

Mom's eyes were crying. Her body hunching, shaking. Was it anger or sadness she felt? I was certainly not the perfect daughter then.

Mom will be at my graduation rooting me on as I speak to inspire 1,100 graduates entering the world.

And I may be slightly depressed as I speak because I'm sad to be saying goodbye to my school.

Not because I'm not good enough.

Day by day-I learn that to achieve is great, but to have people to celebrate those achievements with is what I really need and want.

I have a message for you Depression-For one day my best will be good enough no matter what you say.
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