Part 1:Inside the Mind of a Youth Facing Depression
image: Carlos Perez “Teen Dreams”
Note:This essay was authored by a local student to document a personal experience with depression. The writer, with parental support, was able to access professional help. Significantly, the author felt they could not share this experience openly, fearing stigma.
I don’t know how it started, or how it took over my mind and my body, but one day I woke up terrified at the thought of living. My battle with depression transformed me into the person I am today. It was a battle I never imagined I would have to fight. It was a battle I was so afraid I would give up and lose. But it was a battle I fought. I fought and I fought and I won. I conquered depression. From the fight I gained wisdom, strength, and understanding that I never had before.
The slide into depression was gradual. I found myself trapped, drowning inside a world full of sadness, anger, and frustration where there was no way out. The sadness and emptiness consumed my entire being. I couldn’t bring myself to smile, as my thoughts were dull and painful. I couldn’t find it in me to do even the smallest of tasks. Every morning, getting out of bed felt like the start of a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. Frustration was imminent at every moment, as I didn’t know why this was happening to me. I didn’t know why I couldn’t laugh. I didn’t know why I was terrified of the world. I didn’t know why I pushed everybody so far away from me that they couldn’t reach out a helping hand even if they wanted to. So I punished myself. I punished myself in the cruelest of ways to try to escape the world I was living in. I hurt myself and took all of my emotions out on myself because it was the only way I knew how to cope with the pain that wouldn’t leave my head. Caught in this deadly cycle, I couldn’t make myself stop until I finally reached my breaking point. I had exhausted myself from trying to fight the drowning. I just wanted to sink to the bottom and stay there. Forever.
I finally reached the point where I had to call out for help. My life quickly became one big blur of doctors’ appointments, prescriptions, and therapy sessions. In psychotherapy, I was put on medication immediately. As my doctor and I began understanding what I went through, I slowly and painfully worked through everything that had kept me trapped from the outside for so long; every emotion that had consumed my mind and body. Every moment that had caused me to be terrified of myself. As more tears were shed, I knew I was getting better, and suddenly I began to have hope. I began to have hope that I might finally be rid of these feelings, and I could begin moving on with my life. The tears signified my body cleansing itself of the scarring memories. I took each day as it came and started to find my inner strength.
Next week: Part 2: Inside the Mind of a Youth Facing Depression: Recovery