Act 1 – Scene 3: Jessica Valiant

Love The Way You Lie – Rihanna & Eminem

I’m sure every child feels some pressure to meet your family’s expectations.  The expectation in my family was to project the perfect Stepford image to the outside world.  We were not to appear to be anything but the picture perfect image of a mild mannered, God-fearing, middle class, suburban family.  Emotions and problems were to be hidden, because “what would they think?”  Life on the inside was quite different. 

Lacking strong parental role models themselves, my parents were more concerned with perception than reality.  We always had to be smarter, more talented, and better behaved than everyone else we knew.  Our reward for this?  Regular verbal assaults from my mother, and sometimes physical ones as well.  By the time I understood what was going on, I knew that I didn’t want any parts of the charade.  That’s when my battle with depression began. 

I struggled under my parents pressure to succeed.  I also struggled with their denial.  They denied that there were actual causes for my scatterbrained nature and chronic fatigue.  As an adult, I would come to learn that it was actually ADHD and depression causing many of my issues and not laziness as my parents had insisted.  I became numb to the world from the pressure I lived under to keep up the mask of normalcy, and being told that I was a constant source of disappointment.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, depression or ADHD, there is help available.

Mental Health Gov
National Alliance of Mental Illness