I'm still here: embracing my battle with depression

4 January 2010

So I brought up that last year didn’t start out too well.  In fact, 2008 ended poorly too and bled into 2009…  I was suffering from both anxiety and depression.

I’ve talked about that situation to some extent, but I’m not sure if I’ve talked about my past and my history with depression.  So now I’m going to.  I’ve been sort of ashamed to do so, but it’s my past, however dark, and I need to embrace it for shaping who I am today.

Overall I guess I looked like a happy kid.  Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary.  I was awkward, I had friends, and middle school sucked.  But then high school came, and it seemed like I was finding my place.  I was (still) in band, joined the drama club, participated in av (hey, using your free period to play on computers and watch tv is so much cooler than sitting in “ELC” and not talking for 90 minutes), and I was the manager of the boys track team (meaning I was surrounded by hot runner boys, and my brother, all spring).  It seemed I had even more friends.  I seemed happy.

And well, I was.  Superficially.  None of it ever sank in.  It was momentary and fleeting.  And underneath all of it I was miserable.  I hated myself and life seemed to have no hope.  There really wasn’t anything wrong with my life.  But I had negative self esteem, though I tried to mask it with bright colored or be-zippered and suspendered clothing.

During my sophomore year, I began cutting.  Not often and never deep.  Horizontally.  Three cuts on my left wrist.  Made with a dull razor I found backstage and hid so I knew I could find it again.  All a cry for help.  I wasn’t trying to end my life.

My mom, dealing with her own struggles, never commented.  I hid it from my brother and his then “If you want something to cry about I’ll give you something to cry about” mentality.  Home life wasn’t horrible, we were all just struggling with our own battles.  One of my brother’s friends noticed, one of two I adopted as additional brothers.  Still, nothing was said about this large bandage on my wrist.

The summer after my sophomore year, things turned worse.  I decided that it really wasn’t worth the pain any more.  I couldn’t make sense of it — all this emotional pain with no real cause that I could see.  The pain from the cutting made sense.  That summer, after I returned from summer camp, I was going to kill myself.

It seems so weird writing about this now.  It’s so terribly far from who and where I am now.  That summer, obviously, something happened and I didn’t take my life.  I won’t preach that I found God and therefore purpose in my life again… but my faith and my spiritual community played a large part in why I’m still here.  I still had more to do, and yes a higher purpose left in my life to fulfill.

That summer I didn’t seek counseling nor did I begin any sort of medication.  I thought that my battle with depression was over and from that summer on I refused to be (or believe I ever could be again) depressed.  That’s obviously not the case.  Depression is something I deal with constantly in some amount or another.  It’s wreaked havoc on my self esteem and notion of self worth.  It’s not something I can just get over nor something I can cure with a pill (though they do help).

I’m not currently taking anything.  And I have to say I think I’m doing fairly well.  It’s been almost 9 years now, and it’s hard to believe what I would have missed.

I know this is a wordy post, but hopefully someone out there will know they’re not alone and that there is hope — as hard as it is to believe such cheesy phrases sometimes.  I have to remind myself of this too.

  • Ben

    What a tremendously brave post.

    Anything I write besides that won’t do my reaction justice…

  • Jeff

    I knew someone that took pills and it worked for her. One pill a day and she was able to function. Without the pill, she’d have morning depression. I know from my own experience sleep deprivation is a big maker of depression. Get more sleep or less sleep.

    • Sleep can aggravate it. But I know it doesn’t cause mine.

  • This made me tear up—so brave, so similar to my own story that I’ve yet to find courage to really tell. Glad you’re here, girl.

    • I think that’s why I wanted to share it… after all these years that person is still a part of me. I’ve hidden that part away, because I didn’t know what people would think. I don’t want to be ashamed of it, nor do I want others to feel ashamed of their battles too.

      Thanks. 🙂

  • Don’t be ashamed to post about depression. 🙁 I was also a cutter and had my bouts of major depression, one suicide attempt but at the last second my cat convinced me to live. I’ve had some traumatic times in my life and on top of that I’m bipolar which means I’ll be getting these depressions for the rest of my life unless properly medicated.
    Though I do agree, medication is not the only answer. Medication with therapy is ideal, but unless you have insurance to cover that…

    In my experience, you don’t realize how bad things are until you seek out help, maybe this is medication or church or something. Once you begin to see things more life-like and less dull you can start a cascading effect reinforcing positivity in your life. On the downside, if you don’t seek help, this cascading effect brings you down further to the point at which you lack the motivation to do anything at all.

    Anyway, if you ever want to talk, I’m sure you can figure out a way to contact me 🙂

    Thank you for posting this and sharing something of this nature.

    -J

    • *hugs* Thanks. 🙂 I’m glad you’re here too.

  • CMigs

    Do you think stuff going on in your family (you mentioned that everyone was absorbed in their own battles) made you more prone to depression? It can be lonely to be in pain and feel like no one notices, or that they wouldn’t know what to do if they did notice. I am, of course, not speaking from experience. I’M FINE! Nothing wrong here!

    • My family’s issues definitely influenced things, though I’m not sure if it made me more prone to depression. It was definitely interesting being in a house full of people dealing with the same thing you are yet feel so alone… Of course, I didn’t know until just a few years ago that my mom was also suffering too. It’s an interesting thing, when you’re depressed, you know that others have been there too… but it just doesn’t make the loneliness go away. Nor does it make anyone’s battle any less significant just because so many others have dealt with it.

  • CMigs

    In those extremely rare times when I’m depressed, I often feel that the reason I’m going through so much pain is because I’ve done something to deserve it. When I am not depressed, I can see that this is somewhat irrational thinking, but when I’m in the depression, there’s no convincing me that I’m not being punished.

    • Ah yes. Karma is an interesting thing. In high school I used to think the reason I was single was because I didn’t earn it… That the happiness from a boyfriend would be a reward for being a good person/Christian.

      My favorite people are those who when bad things happen it’s always, always the work of the devil. And I’m not trying to poke fun of the religious… But things like losing your keys or spilling coffee on yourself… you’re just having a bad day and that’s it.

  • Hi! I’m glad I found you…cuz I’m suffering from clinical depression,too.
    i don’t know how or why..I just know that I am. I don’t even know the exact reason.
    Anyway, thank you for posting this. you’re right…there IS hope out there cuz I’m MashaAllah Ta’ala much better than before.
    xx

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