My Battle with Clinical Depression
By Lindsey, age 17, Indiana
Editor's Note: Lindsey answered questions with the Sweet Advice team in 2007-08 when she was 14-15. Below are photos of Lindsey then.
There are many different kinds of hurt and pain that all people experience throughout their lives. My very first memory of extreme pain was at the age of five. Two of my brothers and I were in our basement playing the silly games that kids always make up. I was sitting on a pile of pillows next to the couch when all of a sudden I felt extreme pain in my right ankle. My little brother had jumped off the couch and landed right on top of it. I had to be taken to the emergency room and was put on crutches at such a young age. At this point in time I did not realize this was only a small amount of pain I would feel compared to my future.
At the age of 12, I came across the biggest conflict I will experience in my entire life. It was at this time that my chemical and inherited depression came about. I was so young and didn't know how to deal with it. I tried to be strong and fix it myself, but it finally got to the point where I knew I had to tell my parents. I was put in therapy with a psychologist and put on medication by my psychiatrist. I was no longer comfortable with my psychologist, and my psychiatrist recommended me to a therapist I still see today.
There was a time when I overcame my depression and was no longer in therapy, but still took medication. Then it came back and I am currently fighting against it, and in order to be a happier person I will have to struggle with this conflict my entire life. Thankfully, there are people in my life who support me through everything.
Adela* is the best friend I have ever had in my life, and she always will be. She saw that I was without the Lord and wanted to save me. I needed happiness and love, and she saw that. At the age of 14, I was saved and fell in love with my savior. The love I experience with Him is the most exciting and treasurable love any person can have in their lives. You can get mad at Him and lose trust in Him, which I do often, and He will still always love you. It is a never-ending love that will always exist.
Since my freshman year in high school I had been on the color guard (flag) and pom team, which is called Vikettes because of our mascot the Viking. Unfortunately, I had to quit in late December 2009, leaving me at two and half years of experience. For me this was a big loss because I had to give up something I loved. This past year as a junior my social anxiety and depression worsened because of how I was put down during practices by the person who was supposed to be an authority figure. After struggling for three months to just work through it, it got to the point where I could no longer handle feeling this way and putting up with the insults. At this point in time, I know leaving was the right decision. The worst part of it all is not seeing my friends I made through Vikettes as often. So along with losing the activity, I lost the friendships involved with it.
After quitting Vikettes, I felt a lot better, but only for a little while. I was having these emotional highs for a few days and then depression again for a few weeks. A little into January 2010, I got so depressed that I became extremely suicidal. I had a plan to take all of my medications around me so that I could overdose. I took a few more sleeping pills than I should have, but stopped because I didn't want to leave my family behind. At my next therapy appointment I told my therapist what happened. She told my mom and put her in charge of my medications. My therapist also suggested that I go to the Behavioral Health Unit in a hospital about 45 minutes away from where I live.
At first, my parents and I were resistant to the idea. I told myself that I wasn't going to go. That changed when the following Saturday I had another episode of deep depression. I was hanging out with my friends for one of their birthdays, and no matter what, I just couldn't enjoy myself. I tried to force myself to enjoy myself, but I just couldn't feel anything. After the birthday outing, I drove around town bawling and screaming to myself that I just wanted to die! I was suicidal again and wanted to drive myself off the road. Luckily, I didn't. I went home crying to my parents. They asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital and I didn't respond. After calming down a little bit, I went to bed.
The next morning, I took a shower and made myself ready for the day. I went downstairs and waited for my mom to come home. As soon as my mom walked through the door where my dad, my brother, and I were, I said, "I need to go to the hospital." So there it was. I admitted it, and I was admitted into the hospital. I got out in three days, which is the minimum time to stay. While I was there I made sure I did everything to help myself get better so that I could get out that early. The hospital was a lot of different types of group therapy all day long. I know I made the right choice to go there now.
When I got out of the hospital, I definitely felt better. The problem is that my depression isn't just going to go away. It is something I'll have to deal with my whole life. I am currently seeing a therapist individually and going to group therapy each once a week. I have to make sure I regularly exercise and not isolate myself. These are all things, plus more, that I have to do for a long time and some maybe even my entire life, but if it means staying away from feeling depressed and suicidal, then it's worth it.
At this point in my life I now have so many hopes for myself. I hope to overcome the depression and anxiety I experience every day. To help do this I need to be positive, which is also something I hope to accomplish. When I get to the point where I can control these problems, I want to become an adolescent therapist. With my previous personal experiences, I hope that it will be something I can succeed at. I hope to be stable with myself in order to help others with similar problems to mine. It is something I enjoy doing, so it would be wonderful to do it as a career someday in my future.
* Name has been changed.