It is incredibly difficult to read about depression. It is even harder to write about it. Depression is like an evil mist, infecting your mind, surrounding your body telling you that you are all alone in this battle, that no one understands, no one cares, and no one will notice if you are no longer around.
But I (and a wonderful collection of talented writers) are here to tell you that you are not alone. Someone does understand. Someone does care. We care. I care. No one should ever have to suffer alone.
My struggle with depression is not a very tragic one. I have never faced a major loss, never been a victim, never had anything heartbreaking happen to me. Despite that, I AM a victim. I am a victim of depression.
I have suffered on and off for more than 10 years with depression and anxiety. The roots of my depression go back to middle school and the days of being bullied and probably further, to my parents’ high exceptions of me and my feeling that I would never do well enough, never be good enough to please them. I have always been awkward around people my own age, either talking to much or being too introverted. I’ve struggled for a long time to find friends that I fit in with, who understand me. All of this leads to feels of inadequacy, loneliness, and eventually, depression.
My depression came to a head twice in college when I had mild breakdowns. The first over not knowing and being comfortable enough with guys to find a date to my first sorority date party and the second over my anxiety in dealing with my roommates. Both breakdowns were really just fronts for all the problems and feelings I mentioned earlier and both times I sought help. Help the first time came from my mom who called my university’s counseling center and got me to talk to someone. I wasn’t given a formal diagnosis and I’m fairly certain I tricked my therapist into thinking I wasn’t as sick as I really was. Which lead to me not being treated correctly and to my second breakdown. The bad one.
This one had me obsessively organizing everything I could get my hands on and losing sleep over the fact my markers weren’t in the correct order. It had me freaking out over spoons. It had me missing class, sleeping for hours, laying awake for hours, not leaving my room, forgetting important tasks. It had me standing in my bathroom with a bottle of pills wondering how long it would take someone to find me and what things would they say about me at my funeral. But I didn’t take those pills. I went back to the counseling center, got a real diagnosis, some medication, a better outlook on life.
After seeking help the second time, my eyes were really opened to how many people battle depression, bipolar disorder,and anxiety. They were all around me. They were the basketball player who had a therapy appointment right before me. One of my roommates who had struggled for years on her own. One of my sorority sisters, several of my friends, my own mother. It made me realize that I am not alone in this battle to get my life and my happiness back. Even now, as I’ve retreated back into that depression pit, I know that I am not alone. I can call my friend Megg (whose story is in the book!). I can call my best friend who saved me from suicide. I can call my mom. They all understand and they make me feel less alone.
Read the book. It’s hard. Seeing yourself in those other people is hard. Reading about their stories and their battles, and then writing about it, is one of the hardest things I’ve done in a long time.
You are not alone. You can get through this, you will get through this. And the best way is to understand that there are others who know what it’s like to fight the battle everyday. To get out of bed, to go out in public, to share their stories proudly. We are here. We want to hear your story. We want to help you.
You are not alone.
Disclaimer: I was given a free electronic copy of Not Alone: Stories of Living With Depression, edited by Alise Wright for review purposes. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions on why you NEED to read this book are mine alone. All Amazon links are affiliate. This post is linked to Alise Write.