I'm still here: embracing my battle with depression

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.