“I hate living here!” was carved into my bed. I would sit on the floor and stare at it for hours. We had just moved and I had to leave behind all the friends and the memories I had made.
It was the end of my sixth grade year and I was just about to go into seventh grade. I found it hard to adjust to new surroundings and I wasn’t ready to start fresh. I was nervous, confused and angry. Since the move my mom and I had been arguing.
The situation between us didn’t get any better over the next few months, and instead of carving into my bed I was carving into myself. My mom eventually saw the cuts and said she was concerned about my wellbeing and scared I might do something worse. My mom told me I was going to see a counselor to help me understand why I felt the way I did and to stop the cutting. “I’m not crazy!” I would yell. I would think to myself, “If I can’t help myself, what makes them think they can?”
I had never been to a counselor before so I didn’t know what to expect. It felt nice to just have someone to talk to about whatever was bothering me.
I started to feel relieved. I told my counselor after seeing her for two sessions a week for about two months that I felt better emotionally and that I felt like I didn’t need her guidance anymore. My home life had improved with my mom and I wasn’t cutting any longer. My dad had just gotten out of jail after 12 years and was granted visitation to see me. I was so excited. I was starting to feel optimistic again about things.
Just when I thought things were getting better, it all came crashing down. My dad started acting strange and distant towards me. I got fed up with it and decided he shouldn’t be in my life anymore so I cut all ties. Shortly after, I found out that he was on drugs and got locked up again. I haven’t heard from him since.
After that, my mom noticed a dramatic change in how I was behaving. I was moody. I didn’t want to go to school. I got in trouble more often. I slept all weekend and ate all day. I was some kind of lethargic hog monster. My mom said she had noticed signs of depression because she’s battled depression herself and was familiar with the symptoms. She wanted me to go to a doctor so that they could fully diagnose me and I could start on medication.
The doctor prescribed me a light dosage of antidepressants to see how I reacted. I noticed that after about two weeks of taking the medication every day, I was happier and more energetic. I had the endurance to do stuff and walk down the street with my hair done. I felt good and taking the meds everyday wasn’t as big of a challenge as I thought.
I felt happy again. It was like the sun was always shining down on me. I began to think that my problem was solved. I believed I was cured from the darkness that hovered over me for so long.
I decided to stop taking my medication. I didn’t tell my mom. I just said “yes” every time she asked me if I had dosed. I wasn’t aware that I had to keep taking them even after I felt better. In the following weeks, I started to notice the sunshine was fading away.
Now it was partly cloudy. I could feel myself becoming lazy and uninterested. My mom and I drifted apart because she was so focused on a custody battle over my little brother. With my mom being distracted, there was no one to notice how I was starting to change. I morphed into another person. I was a walking human shell. It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore that I realized how big of a hole I had dug myself into.
I started with my medication again, but this time, once I started to feel better, I kept taking them. I began to feel lighter than the darkness I was cast under. I felt like I had finally come out from the deep, twisted burrow I was shoved in.
I remember going through my depression but never understanding what it was fully. Depression is a common but serious illness that can interfere with daily life and normal functioning. Depression is painful for both the people dealing with it and those that care for them.
Today, I still struggle with my depression. My current treatment is taking antidepressants, and they keep me in check. I used to think that I would never be happy again or live a normal life, but now I can say I am doing what I once saw as unthinkable. I now know that I can still be happy and live life without this keeping me back.
This story originally appeared in We’Ced Youth Magazine. It has been edited for length.
Photo: some rights reserved CrazyFast