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Learning to smile despite my depression


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Photo by: harold.lloyd

My story of being neglected, depressed and coping

All through my elementary schooling, I used to wonder why everybody was so happy…and why I wasn’t. Why they didn’t feel like not going home in the afternoon. Why they didn’t think of running away because they didn’t feel wanted at home. I felt like an outsider in my own home, as well as at school, and I only had a small handful of very good friends - only one of which I keep in contact with now - all the other kids seemed insincere and I knew that most of them didn’t like me. I was always introverted and shy, but by the time I reached 6th grade, nobody but my closest friends could get a peep out of me. And I was lonely.

I didn’t have a good relationship with my parents. I felt neglected, sad and unwanted every day. I tried to convince myself that they wouldn’t do that to me - because they were my PARENTS, and parents didn’t do that to their kids. But I have acknowledged now that I was neglected, and my little brother was also diagnosed with Autism (a mental disorder) when he was 5, and I don’t think that helped either.

Come high school, I changed. I was more outgoing and confident and made friends. I liked high school, nobody gave me a hard time, and I felt more independent and happier. Unfortunately, it did not last. Throughout freshman and sophomore years, I became lonely again and my depression became more noticeable, but I brushed off all the unpleasant thoughts I was having - wondering if my parents would finally care about me if I committed suicide. I retreated more and more into myself and pushed everybody away, I even pushed God away and made a mask for myself - one so convincing, even to myself.

It was only last year, when I was a Junior, that I got fed up and started asking myself why I felt so bad all the time. I didn’t want to think about the possibility of depression, but after about 3 and half years of suffering, I couldn’t stand it any longer. A number of times, late at night, I had to fight to keep myself from going into the kitchen and hurting myself. I just wanted it all to end.

When getting my hair cut I spotted the business card for a counselor. I picked up the business card and called her a few days later. I was so scared, but she has been a huge support and the worst is now over. I’m on anti-depressants to combat my occasional anxiety attacks and I’m still seeing my counselor. She has been a huge help. I felt like I couldn’t talk to my parents, I still really can’t talk to them about important or personal things, because I don’t think they understand what’s going on my head. I don’t know if they want to. I always looked forward to counseling because it gave me a big break from home - which didn’t really feel like home. For once I felt like it was ok to feel how I felt, and that someone accepted me for who I was and just didn’t dismiss me as being a teenager with a bad case of angst. That helped get my self esteem back up a bit.

My parents, when I first told them that I was diagnosed with depression, tried to convince me that I wasn’t really depressed, I just thought I was. That was garbage. Feelings are important. It is just ridiculous that they had this mindset that I just thought I was suicidal and sad and lonely, but I really wasn’t. I didn’t listen to them, this was real, and I didn’t see how it couldn’t be. 

Getting confirmed was one of the things that have helped me the most, I am sure of my faith and although my relationship with God can be on the rocks sometimes, I know that He’s always there, waiting for me to come back. He is one of my sources of strength and it’s a comfort just to know that He understands every thought I have -and He will LISTEN TO ME.

When I told some of my friends at school, they were as shocked as I was. But they have been a big support as well, even though many of them have not dealt with something like this before. They were surprised that I was depressed - I was so ‘happy’ all the time, I did well at school, I had friends…depression can affect anybody, not just the homeless or those with parents who are divorced or those who are abused - anybody - me, who seemingly had everything. They have been supportive in listening to me, and they make me feel loved, like I’m important, that I’m worth something and not just a troubled teen - which is the attitude that my parents have taken towards my depression.

Also, one of my teachers and my school counselor have been very supportive, not just with the personal stuff, but with informing my teachers that I may need extra support in class or with home or class work. I’m managing school quite well - because for a while, it was the only thing that kept me going, my good grades were the only good thing in my life, but now, thankfully, they aren’t the ONLY thing.

My relationship has not really improved with my parents. They are still much the same as they were. I, however, feel that I have grown so much in the last few months and I am proud to say that I did it all by myself, I haven’t had much help from them.

I don’t regret being how I was before - sad and lonely - because it has taught me to look after myself and I’m very independent as a result. I’ve also learned to trust people again, instead of just pushing them away. I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is that suicide is not a solution to anything, and that help is always available in abundance to those who will ask.

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