I was around five years old and I was helping my father photograph our Christmas lights. He said that the candle in the window in my room was off center. He asked me to go fix it. I ran into the house and up the stairs.
When I got there, I imagined the candle to be a rocket ship. I picked it up and made it soar through space, making rocket sounds. From outside the house my dad yelled, “Stephen you stop that right this instant!” I got mad and started playing with the candle out of spite. “Don’t you make me come up there!!” I kept doing it. I was terrified by his rages, so when I saw him head for the house, I put the rocket candle down and hid under my bed.
As he stormed up the stairs, I was overwhelmed by his rage and by my fear and helplessness. I thought, “I should go into the bathroom and drink that stuff he told me to never drink.” Iodine, I was thinking about drinking iodine. I had my first suicidal thought at five years old.
It is for this reason I consider my depression to have started by at least the age of five. It could have started sooner. I just don’t have memories of it.
©2016 Stephen L. Martin
Photo: Soyuz TMA-05M rocket launches from Baikonur