Disclaimer: Names were changed for privacy reasons.
I open my eyes to bright light flooding through my mother’s bedroom window. It’s early afternoon now, I’ve missed school again, and I am just waking up from a deep sleep. Sleep seems to be the only thing that is easy for me these days. It’s a heavy cloud resting on every moment of my day, until it slowly creeps into the corners of my eyes and takes me with it for a few more hours, or days, what I hope will be an unending dreamless word. But this is the hard part. Waking up.
I started seeing Carol when I was fourteen. It was nearly impossible for my mom to find me someone in our town; all of the specialists were overbooked. Carol saw me on her lunch breaks, she normally worked with small children, but she was the only person who could make time for me. Before I started going to therapy, I never understood how a complete stranger could be any help at all in solving my problems. Whatever was happening in my head was deeply rooted, and personal. It was a demon that I alone could wrestle with.
What I didn’t understand was that someone else could help me get to it. Someone else had to help me unbury the things I had so desperately pushed down. At fourteen, I had to completely change my world view, and understand personal flaws most don’t face until adulthood, I could not have done that by myself. I owe my life to a lot of people, for getting me through all of the low points, and Carol is not an exception.
When I was younger, I didn’t think kids could be mentally ill. I thought depression was something that only happened to adults that had been through something really traumatic, but I know now that it can happen to anyone. Any age, any walk of life. You don’t have to experience some extremely tragic event to suffer from depression. For me, it was the little things. I let all of the bad things that happened stack up, one on top of the other, without ever confronting them, without ever sticking up for myself, and it wore me down over time.
I developed into someone who was dependent on the acceptance and adoration of others to be happy. Slowly, but surely darkness crept into my life, and it absorbed me for years. It took a long time, and a lot of support for me to untangle myself from my depression.
As an adult now I see many of my peers and loved ones struggling with mental illness. Darkness weaving its way through the delicate intricacies of everyday life. As someone who has been there, know that you are not alone. I can see that same familiar fog coating the lives of people around me. That yearning to sleep all the time, to withdraw. Recognize it, and learn how to fight it. Know that getting help is not weakness; others will help you find strength. Fighting depression alone can feel impossible, and as hard as reaching out can be, it makes a world of difference. Waking up is always the hardest part; don’t go through the rest of it alone.
Recognize it, and learn how to fight it. Know that getting help is not weakness; others will help you find strength. Fighting depression alone can feel impossible, and as hard as reaching out can be, it makes a world of difference. Waking up is always the hardest part; don’t go through the rest of it alone.