It took me more than half my life to come to the realization that I have depression. It’s the type of depression (yes there are different types; just like there’s different types of people) that comes and goes and how long it lasts is always a toss up. It’s like an ache from an old injury, or that one embarrassing memory that no matter how much you try to push it far far away, it randomly comes to the front of your mind while you’re washing dishes or shopping.
I first had depression when I was eight years old. I felt alone all the time. Even when I was surrounded by my classmates, I felt like they were in separated world from me. I remember time didn’t make sense. When I thought I had enough time for a project and then all of a sudden my project was due (my teacher gave me many extensions). I liked sleep. What child likes sleep?
My mum tried to spin this when I got older by saying I just liked manipulating people so I used the feeling all alone as an excuse to not do anything. My parents always seemed to see the worst in me at the time. When she told me that, I didn’t tell her that at eight years old it got bad that I almost took her pills so that I could sleep forever. I didn’t tell her that until much later when her heart opened bit more. But it was her explanation that made me not say anything whenever it happened again. And it happened quite a few times after that.
The second time it hit, I was twelve. You know what I love about that age though? Adults just write off your behavior because of it. I went to a doctor recently and unsure of how I’m supposed to ask for help with depression I told her that I’ve had depression before. She asked me when, I said twelve. She wrote it off as “Oh everyone goes through that at age!” Discussion closed.
She is right though, mostly. A lot of people do go through it. But I’m not sure why it’s just written off. Quite a bit of classmates had cut themselves because they were unable to feel or because they already felt so much they needed to be distracted from it. A lot of us got through it. I’m now curious if it’s because adults expected us to so we did without fully getting to the heart of it all.
How are we to do that anyways?
Twelve was a bittersweet depression. I hid it well at school. Faking that you’re alright a lot sometimes makes you believe that you are. Then I would go home, shut the door and not move from my bed for hours. Not even to eat. I’d shower. I’d read. I’d do homework. But I didn’t come out of my room if I could help it. I can’t even remember if I did anything else on the weekends than just stay in my room.
Onward to the three year depression that was probably the worse mostly because it was the longest. It didn’t help that when my depression started a whole bunch of other things happened as well. I started getting bullied. Daddy issues were brought to the light. I was basically being treated like a bag of crap set on fire on someone’s porch. Emotionally broke down three times in front of my family, whose reactions were surprising and interesting. Once just to my sister. Seriously considered suicide many times. Cried myself to sleep at least several times per week.
What’s weird that kept me from swallowing pills or jumping off the rocky cliffs was the worse phrase ever: “It’s not as bad as every one else’s problems.”
When you compare your mental health with the starvation of others, you start to think less of what you’re going through…sometimes.
After I turned twenty, and after I had my little one, the depression has started to go in cycles, like my period except where I’ll have my period for a week tops, a depression cycle lasts for almost three weeks at its longest. I don’t always realize I’m in my depression because I feel like I’m doing great and then I start noticing how I’m dreading doing a simple thing like bathe my daughter because I don’t want to move.
In the middle of it, it’s hard to remember that feeling like this doesn’t last forever. I still look towards the end though. Being mentally exhausted won’t last forever. Feeling useless and unable to do anything right won’t last forever. That wanting to crash my car into the guardrail going 55 mph with my seat belt off isn’t going to leave my family better off.
Staying optimistic that it won’t last forever helps me for now. But I’m planning to see a counselor or a therapist who can hopefully give me more tips.
Thank you for reading!