So in my English 122 course, we have to write a memoir about something that impacted our lives. Truth be told, writing about my life story is terrifying. Having to explain my personal life to a teacher scares me. However, if I’m already posting my embarrassing and saddening stories online, then what difference does it make telling it to the people I know. So let us embark on this bumpy ride we call my life.
Today’s topic is about my Depression.
Let me firstly say my childhood was wonderful, it consisted imaginary play, Disney Classics, and my precious Nintendo GameCube. I lived in a court that had many children my age, which we all became this giant group who would cause havoc through our neighborhood. I attended a great middle school and everyone I encountered had shaped me into how I think today, for that I am thankful.
It wasn’t until my Grade 7 year that things change for the worst.
In Grade 7 I’d become extremely self-conscious about my weight. Many of my peers appeared physically healthier, and what I considered, to be better looking compared to myself. I would look, or should I say still do look in my mirror everyday shaming myself for who I’ve become. I felt uncomfortable in whatever I wore, looking at the mannequins in shops and wonder if that’s the size I should be. I would question my eating habits, scared to workout in case I was judged. I was even nervous to attend my middle school prom, not because I was scared to dance with a boy, but because I felt anxious about how big I looked in my dress. I believed this to be a phase, and I really hoped to grow out of it soon.
Heading into high school was awful. All the surrounding middle school students in our city had joined into one big high school. Meaning I would have to interact with people I didn’t know, let alone try to fit in with them. My good friends separated from me, whether it be from taking different courses or they would find new people to be friends with. I don’t hate them for that, I’m really glad that they found others that can make them happy. I just felt alone when I wasn’t invited into their conversations. Or sad if they wouldn’t listen to what I would have to say, whether it is important or not.
At that point I still had some friends left, but I still couldn’t fit in. The experience in high school kept on getting worse and worse. I became the second pick some guy wanted to date after he had just broken up with one of my good friends two weeks prior. I felt like trash, knowing that I was the second or third person someone would talk too if they didn’t get answers or needed help. This continued through grades 9, 10, 11, and currently my grade 12 year, where I would feel miserable. Yet even with guidance offices and the friends and family I had left, I chose to hide my feelings away.
Because I believed I would be a bothered to those around me, I didn’t want to make them sad because I would feel at fault. So I would wear smile instead, smile through the pain I was feeling. Lied about feeling horrible, keeping my emotions bottled up so I wouldn’t hurt the people around me. Kept going every day pretending to be something I was not. However, things changed…
This year was my breaking point.
One day I broke down in tears during my Mandarin course. My life had become this awful dream I couldn’t wake up from. I’d left that class and headed straight to the guidance office, there I explained everything. All the dreadful things I felt over the years, the problems I had with the people around me, my weight issues, blaming myself for problems I couldn’t control, and hating myself for being once this happy child and turning into something I never thought I could be. Depressed.
My counselor asked me a series of questions, even gave me handouts to answer. I remember one of those questions, it had asked if I had thought or planned suicidal thoughts or actions. I basically stared at the page for a while, pondering all of my thoughts. Should I tell the truth to receive help, or hide the truth to keep the people I love from worrying. I chose the most reasonable choice and circled what was the truth, my counselor encouraged me to see my doctor.
I spent the next couple of weeks arranging meetings with my counselors, taking medication prescribed by the doctor and taking many days off. What was awful about this is that I was afraid to tell anyone that I had Depression. Only my parents, counselors and doctor knew about my condition, no friends, no peers, and not even my sibling knew what had been happening. It would eat me inside, I wanted to tell them in hopes that they would be accepting and supportive. However I imagine the outcome, it isn’t always how I picture it.
One day coming back from school I was a mess. I walked into my house miserable, not even my pup could make me smile. A family member had been questioning the past few weeks, on why I hadn’t been attending school even though I wasn’t “sick”. My response to them was I am sick, not by a sickness or disease but something that felt the same as they did. I told them of my Depression, the meetings, the pills, my unhappiness. They listened for a short bit, but then they said a few comments.
“YOU don’t seem unhappy, ever”.
“Why didn’t YOU prevent this, could YOU not stand up for yourself?”.
“Why do you blame everyone, but YOURSELF!?!”.
… You’re wrong.
I did try to stand up for myself, but the outcome would never change. I tried to prevent the problems from occurring, but they still found ways of sneaking into my life. I blame myself all the time, for the person I wish I could be or for the problems I wish I could fix. Sometimes you have no choice but to follow through what life throws at you, and unfortunately, mine involves dealing with all the issues and hate that myself or others may toss at me. After explaining this to them, they still didn’t accept it.
They even had the nerve to smirk… So I lost it.
I screamed at them, called them out for all the nasty things they do to me and others, swore at them and even wished they weren’t born. They pointed out my flaws, which didn’t help my confidence or happiness whatsoever. They stormed out refusing to speak with me, I sat next to my mother crying. My head hung low and I kept repeating “I wish I was never born” while she held me close. I hated myself for saying such nasty words to a family member, even if they deserved to hear the truth.
Another appointment, another pill, another day with Depression.
This continued on for weeks, the repeat of taking medicine in hopes that some miracle I would wake up and be happy like when I was little. I took the time to think, wondering if I would be an outcast for the rest of my life. Is this really the way I may feel for the rest of my days? There was a little spark of energy that shot right through me, I haven’t felt since I felt strong or happy for that matter. It was a good feeling because I realized I didn’t want to be unhappy. Maybe I have Depression, but it doesn’t mean I should shove myself into despair when little problems arise. All those times I felt small, useless or unhappy didn’t have to make me feel unwanted. I had a plan, and I wanted to take it into action!
I woke up the next day and told my parents “I want people to know about this”. They felt happy that I had wanted to tell some of my friends and teachers about what had been happening. They stopped me when I wanted to announce it to the entire school, I felt defeated at the time when that idea was shot down. However, I know now that they only cared for my well-being, knowing I could only handle so much sadness and stress at once. I agreed with that and decided to revamp my ideas.
I told some teachers that morning and a couple of good friends. They listened and supported me, even my Bio Teach gave me a hug because she was so happy I could tell her. I felt alive when I would express how I felt inside like I broke out of some cell that kept me trapped for so long. In the later weeks, I would notice something in each of my classes. There were students in my class who kept quiet, never interacted with people. Turns out when I went for a weekly scheduled appointment with my school’s counselor, they would be there waiting, sometimes even crying.
I sat next to a girl sitting in that office. She was in one of my classes, telling me about how stressed she was and how frightened and depressed she felt throughout her days. She was just like me, scared and sad. I felt the need to tell her it was going to be okay, told her to be strong and with a little support from others she could get through this. She thanked me softly, then I smiled and left to go to my next class. Turns out I really enjoyed helping her, nothing felt better than making her feeling important. Another idea filled my mind. I decided to do something else that could help not only me but many others in my school with the same pain.
For a class project labeled “The Peace Project”, I asked if I could do a presentation on people dealing with Depression. To find ways of helping those in need, giving advice and education on the subject felt right in my mind. I also asked about if I could talk about suicidal thoughts, which my teacher felt was a bit out there. My explanation went as the following:
“We see people dying on a daily basis and we can get through that. Whether it be from war or an illness, we hear and see it everywhere. So why is it that when we talk about suicide we try to avoid it? Sure it’s a hard subject to talk about, but I want people to hear that it okay to talk about. Because how can we help them if no one is willing to talk? We make it sound so horrible yet it happens everywhere. Let me try to change the way people see suicide, rather than fear it or shame it let me show them how important it is”.
She was happy that I was so passionate about the subject, and after my explanation, she gave me the okay and I went on with it. I presented that project to a group of grade 9’s, and they enjoyed it. Of course, when I started it off it was a bit awkward, but after some time and understanding they felt a bit more comfortable about the topic. It turned out great in the end, and that’s all I could ever ask for.
So the question is where am I now with all of this. Well, I still have Depression, It’s not something that can be thrown away willingly. I stopped taking medication because the way it made me feel…didn’t feel right. For me it felt like suffocating on a wave of emotions, it was so bad I couldn’t even cry. However, that’s not the message I want to send to you guys. That’s how I felt towards those pills, and I was always given other options to try. I’ll put it this way though,
Medicine doesn’t cure this on its own, you have to put in work too.
I realized that the only way to be happy was by putting some effort into it. I didn’t want to be unhappy, for a while I chose to be that way because in my mind I believed that it was my only option. I needed to do something that made me believe I still had purpose,
Helping others understand what it’s like to have Depression, and showing compassion to others who deal with it.
Nothing made me feel more fantastic then helping others learn about this mental health issue. Showing people that we can make a difference, we can help others and it’s okay to talk about. There’s almost like an aura surrounding Depression like it’s taboo to talk about. However, if no one talks about it then how do we help those in need of support, love or understanding? I decided this is where my view of life takes a turn for the better!
It’s been around 4 months since this all happened and things have changed, I have changed. I don’t look at problems so negatively as I used to, I’m now happier knowing I’m accepted by other, and I’m comfortable talking about my Depression around others! Just because I have this mental health problem doesn’t make me a freak, I’m as normal as I’ll ever be. People understand me now, well, for the most part, a great majority know now. My Depression isn’t a topic of discussion when we chat, but they always ask how I feel. Knowing that people who truly love and support you for who you are is so important. Many people can’t get through Depression without someone behind them. Always help them when they fall down, or when they feel unwanted. I would hope that for anyone reading this would want to
I would hope that for anyone reading this now understands how difficult having a mental health problem can be, but with a little support and a positive attitude, a little bit can go a long way. I always like to look at the positives in life, which can be difficult sometimes. However, I hope for the best, which is all that matters to me. I always look deeper into those who caused me pain, realizing that they’re not all bad people. I hope to continue thinking this way for the rest of my life.
So that’s it… I have Depression. Hopefully you don’t think any different of me, I’m still the same goofy “adult” everyone knows me to be. I’m proud of the work I do, the people I make smile, and the advice (no matter how terrible) I give. My friends still see me like they’ve always seen me, a smiley individual. Now that I can be happy with my Depression, the smiles I show are a lot more truthful then they used to be. I choose to no longer bottle up my emotions, if I feel horrible then I’ll talk to someone about it. I hope to continue learning and experiencing the wonders of life, meet new people, and be happy all with having Depression!
I think I’ll be okay with that 🙂
Thank you all for reading and supporting my posts for this long! Reading every comment and reading all your blogs really makes my day. This blog is basically my outlet, for when I’m feeling down I can always count on you guys to cheer me up with all your posts! So my question here today is…
How do you stay positive? When life gets you down, is there something that makes you feel good that you do to cheer yourself up?
For me it’s reading blog posts, chatting with my family and friends, writing stories (whether it be real life based or fictional, both are fun to create stories out of!) and watching my favorite YouTubers! These things make me smile on rainy days, and hopefully you all have something that make you happy too! Even If you can’t think of anything maybe some people will suggest what they do, maybe you might be inspired to try their passion or hobbies 😉
Final note for this post, and I can’t say it enough. Thank you for being there for me, it means so much to have supportive people reading and loving what I do ❤
Talk with you all soon xoxo