Depression: A story
June 15, 2018
With all the media surrounding the recent suicides of two celebrities, I felt urged to write about my personal experience with depression.
The good thing about my journey with overcoming several physical and mental health issues, is that I can now be on the other end and say that I am at a place where I am good. I am happy. And that isn’t something that has to be forced anymore.
I think it’s important to note that there is not any one reason nor kind of depression. We all experience it for different reasons and we all react to it in different ways.
I’ve always been a sentimental and emotional person and I felt some things affect me more than others. I would go through bouts of anger issues and self harm as young as age 9 that literally no one knew about except myself (that I admitted to my family a few days ago for the first time)
I had the feeling of sadness and melancholy at around 12 years old. I listened to songs way above my age and what peers were listening to at the time, and I felt the words.
I was always the sweetest person I could be when I was young, and lived my life with high standards of morality and living as what I considered to be a decent person. But I think me not being open about or understanding my feelings was cause for my drinking addiction at the young age of 16/17. I always had a rebellious side of me, but in those high school years, I genuinely did not care about anything. I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And I hurt people, some that meant the world to me.
Junior year of highschool is when I decided things needed to change. I quit smoking, and I have to give a lot of credit to my current boyfriend (who I need to add was also my boyfriend at age 17-19) because he has always been straightedge. Understanding his thoughts on those things, as well as my own experiences, helped me to get a grasp on my life.
Exactly two days after graduating highschool I moved away to NY like I always said I would. I did not get along with my family, ever. Nothing was holding me back. My boyfriend and I were madly in love, not just a typical ‘Ily after one month xoxo teenage love’ but a real love. Things were great until they weren’t. We had things happen to us that no 19 or 20-something year old were equipped to handle. It’s also where my health issues first started. And so I had to move back home.
We ended up splitting and I had to move back in with my family and I heard all the “I told you so’s” so loud without anyone saying anything. The love of my life was gone, and I developed the worst anxiety I could imagine. My health issues made my anxiety worse and my anxiety made my health issues worse.. to a point where I physically could not leave my house without feeling like I was blacking out and about to faint.
I fell into a deep depression
I felt like a failure, a burden, a sick person, I couldn’t go to college, I couldn’t work, I was heartbroken, I couldn’t see any way of bettering my life or my condition. –It was a time where I literally woke up in the morning and sobbed. I think I cried out all the possible tears one human can create. I woke up each morning wishing I didn’t. To even speak of this now saddens me.
I’m not sure what changed, but eventually I got put on medicine for my health issues and I started to read a lot about Buddhism and life and I also got put on anxiety and depression medication.
I started to make an effort in changing things because I hated feeling the way I felt. I went to community college because I could do the majority of my degree online, and started to pursue something I was passionate about (art). I also started to workout again and lost the 18 lbs that I gained from excessive drinking again in the previous months.
Still though, I went through so many years of dating assholes and liars and was still heartbroken for years. I even lost my job while in college due to me finding out some bad things about my then boyfriend and it was the last straw, I couldn’t take the pain that others were causing me.
From there I remained single and celibate for over a year and a half. I needed the time to find me. Considering I drowned myself in alcohol for so many of my changing years, I wasn’t even sure who that was. I remember myself as a carefree, kind, and happy child and I remember being at a stage where I was looking at old photographs and just wishing so hard that I could be as happy as I was then. –I finally got a full time job and continued my schooling online.
The great thing about coming back home though, was that I developed a close relationship with family that I hadn’t had since I was real young.
Fast forward a few months after receiving my first degree, and I was setting off to move away and go to a real university on my own. I was a little bit older than my roommates and classmates, but I was so excited to start something I never thought I’d be able to do. I was always so scared of even going into a grocery store alone in case I were to faint, so this was big for me.
I was finally content, I finally had gotten over my ex (at the time) from when I was 17-19, and I was ready to focus on myself and my future. Shortly after starting school, I met a new guy and he was so different from the people I’ve dated, so I decided to go for it. We became really close really fast and I fell for him pretty quick. Things were going great, I was getting around a 4.0 every semester, improving my art and what I could do overall. –and then it happened again. I woke up in the middle of the night to an anonymous email from the girl my boyfriend had cheated on me with (not physically but might as well have been). I called him with my tachycardia heart racing 100+ beats a minute and this guy literally lied to my face (ear) and told me I had nothing to worry about. This time wasn’t like the others, I was genuinely in shock, and a year and a half in, thinking we’re happy as a clam. I broke up with him, and the following week was real dark.
I was suicidal to where he almost had to call the cops on me. My family from a few hours away were blowing up my phone and I literally could not bare to answer it. My soul hurt so bad. Not just because this happened, but because I had come so far only to get the same mistreatment and unhappiness. Any little faith or trust I had left in people was completely gone.
I don’t know how to describe this feeling- that I hope none of you reading this ever had/have to experience- but for me, it was like being alone in a dark black room (which is semi true because I couldn’t move much for days) with sounding alarms you had to cover your ears from. I couldn’t eat or drink, I couldn’t shower or change my clothes. I couldn’t do anything except sit there head in hands going from extreme anger to extreme sadness *take a small breath* and back and forth again.
I stupidly forgave him and we got back together two weeks later. One reason being that I literally couldn’t bare being alone, and the other because I genuinely loved him. I couldn’t help but think of my ex that I used to live with at 17-19 and wondering how in the hell I ended up with these assholes. Things eventually settled down and we were good again but they never went back to how they were. I had feelings of revenge and for the first time, thought things that I would not consider to be thoughts of a good person. (Remember, high moral status girl over here) I even acted in a way later on that I swore on my grave I would never do. Nothing mattered in that regard anymore.. I can’t take back the mistakes I’ve made, but I can learn from them. Another thing this experience has taught me is that people make mistakes, and I wasn’t saved from making them either.
This is getting long I know. But back to the story…. a few months later one of my teachers recommended I do the study abroad program in France. Something I never imagined I could do with my health issues. I even had one doctor sign that I wasn’t physically well enough to do it. I went to another doctor. –I knew I could do it. It was a dream of mine since I was 15 and I was years off my anxiety and anti depression meds at this time and they were no longer an issue. So I did it.
It was only a month but I did so much in that month. I met so many people, stepped WAY out of my comfort zone, had good friends, good laughs, and a genuine good time despite the many obstacles. And I DIDN’T miss my boyfriend that much. I realized, hey, I can do this. So when I came back home I couldn’t even pretend to be nice to him anymore. And eventually I called it quits for good. So many things happened those few months that were literal signs leading me to where I was meant to go. And some of those led me back to my dream man, and New York.
It was difficult for me to understand at first that there are decent people out there, as I didn’t realize I was mentally abused as well and definitely a bit scarred from it all. I am still in a state of change and growth, but I am healthy (for the most part), happy, and looking forward to where life takes me. And I am really focusing on my life as a whole and figuring out/understanding why things happened the way they did and working on learning about myself and bringing back that smiling carefree girl that was so deeply hidden. MENTAL HEALTH IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS PHYSICAL HEALTH.
Moral of this incredibly long life story of mine that I have put into words and meaning for the first time… is that life is not stagnant. Although your depression or debilitating state may convince you things cannot change, they absolutely can and will if you let them and also work at it. I could not have imagined I would end up where I am if you had asked me a few years ago. It’s so refreshing to wake up in the morning or go to sleep at night and be genuinely content.
Everyone has a different path in life and different obstacles that stand in their way, but I am here today (thankfully) to be a witness to the changes. If you ever feel stuck, remember that there are ways to change your situation no matter what. Life is not all about what happens to you, but what you make of what happens to you. And most importantly, you are not alone .
If you read all of this, you deserve a STAR. And maybe a psychology degree.
SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE: 1-800-273-8255