By Kimberly, age 19, California
A person telling family, friends or anyone they come in contact with that they battle depression is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it is a sign of courage to admit that something is off in their lives. When hearing of depression the thinking turns to a negative point of view, and some things about depression are sad, but there is such amazing growth that comes with battling depression.
I am one of those people who battles with depression every single day, and it takes a lot of strength, courage, and the right mind frame to battle it. Depression is not something that can be taken lightly and it is one of the most overwhelming feelings a person can have. This is especially true if it is an everyday struggle to want to get out of bed and do the things a person used to do. The feeling of emptiness and sadness, like nothing in the world is working for you, and having a big heavy black cloud over you is what depression feels like.
There are many forms of depression, and different people have different types, but there is help out there. Everyone has had a depressed moment in their lives, but for some of us there are a lot more of them. Something like depression does not go away by wishing it away or by burying the feelings deep inside because down the road it explodes and it will end up tearing a person apart. I know this from experience.
My experience was always having the feeling of not being enough or being pretty, or having the right hairstyle, big enough boobs, or feeling that I was alone in the world. I felt no guy would ever want to be with me and I would die alone. These are just a few things that were always in my head growing up. It was nothing specific that happened, but I always had thoughts like these. No matter what I did to try and change those thoughts, they were always in my head. Through the years it just got worse and worse to the point where some days I did not even get out of bed. I slept all day. I always hid the pain I was feeling from family and friends because they all knew me as an outgoing, friendly, self-confident girl, but inside I had the deep dark hole that I tried to keep from taking over. That was just the start of it, and then it grew into always feeling sad and depressed, not wanting to talk to anyone in my life for days at a time, and things like that.
People deal with depression many different ways, and there is not just one way to deal with it. For me, it got to a point where I would cry myself to sleep every night because of the way I felt about myself and the people around me. The point is, one night I actually did try to kill myself with a bottle of pills. It was one of those moments I have with me to this day.
My Big Brother called 911 because I was talking to him by way of text messages as I was taking the pills and he was worried. The ambulance came and took me to a hospital. Being in the ambulance at the time did not phase me at all because I was in a totally different state of mind. I spent the night in a hospital with tubes in my arm and everyone worried to death about me. Laying in the hospital bed I could not believe that I had let it come this far, to the point where I did not want to live anymore. The tears were falling like they never had before.
The day after that all of my closest friends who knew what had happened were so happy to see me. In that moment I knew that I was being selfish and there are people who loved me and would miss me if I died. After that near-death experience I started going to counseling where I had someone to talk to about all of the things I was feeling. To this day I still continue to go to counseling on and off, and I take depression medication that does help a little with the mood swings that I have.
One of the main things I learned about depression is that it is not my fault and that there is help out there if I wanted to get better. I found out the hard way that killing myself isn't the answer and that there are better ways of dealing with the numbness or pain I may feel. I also learned that depression just doesn't go away and that it takes hard work and effort. For me, it's a struggle every day to want to get out of bed and not see life in such a depressing manner. But I give it my all and push through. Of course, some days are better than others, but as long as you continue to fight for yourself and what you want, then there will be nothing to stop you from overcoming depression.
So please remember, hurting yourself is never the answer, and there is help out there if you want to take advantage of it.
Editor's Note: If you or someone you know suffers from depression and is seeking help, start with your family doctor, guidance counselor, religious leader, or school nurse, any of whom can refer you to a qualified professional. Friends, family, and online resources may be of some comfort and help in understanding your issues, but serious depression is not a "do-it-yourself" cure. You need not suffer in silence; you need not suffer alone. Above all, realize that harming yourself solves nothing and is simply a bad choice. Professional help can make a real difference, but you need to take the first step.