Depression

Depression

Battling the big bad blues.
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I am writing this to anyone and everyone who has had to experience depression one way or another. Generally speaking, a person will experience some form of depression at least once in their lifetime. It is normal to feel sad once in awhile. However, when that sadness lingers and disrupts your ability to function, it turns into depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “In 2014, an estimated 15.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States had, at least, one major depressive episode in the past year. This number represented 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults.”

That is too many people suffering to be ignored. I know all too well the devastation and turmoil that depression invokes. I know because I've battled the big bad blues for over seven years now. In all that time, I never thought it was possible to be where I am today, advocating for positive change. I am going to share my story with you in the hopes of spreading awareness, dispelling the mental health stigma that is sadly extremely prevalent in America and to inspire all of those who are suffering, and/or know someone who is, to seek help. Suffering is part of the human condition, but we don’t have to suffer alone. It helps to share that burden with others who care that you may be crushed under its weight. I am living proof that it is possible to beat depression.

As far back as I can remember, I knew depression was always been with me, like a shadow glued to my side. It all went downhill seven years ago, strolling alongside me since high school. It was like a bag was put over my head and I was forced to suffocate to death, slowly but surely. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I wasn’t ready for the impact. Over the years, depression grew on me like a cancer, as if my lungs were filled with my tears instead of all the oxygen. It started off so innocently. I never imagined how much of a war it would be for me, in my life, for my life. It’s been a daily battle since the age of 15. That was the year I entered high school and when depression became me.

I was like any other student at the time: new, naive, and unknown. I made a few friends along the way, some who I am still best friends with today. I tried my best to be an all around stand up person. I came to school every day with a forced smile and chatted with my friends to blend in. At home, I did all of my chores and kept my head in a book, which my single-working mother approved of. Nonetheless, I desperately let my normality disguise my true inner torment so no one would suspect a thing. I spent every day alone in my room. Every day was a set and calculated routine. I would wake up at 5:55 a.m. every morning, go to school, come home and repeat. The days became weeks and the weeks became months, which became years. Before I knew it, time was just a subjective illusion that I could measure my pain with. I spent my 16th birthday alone in my room and didn’t socialize with anyone. I hated the fact that I had been born. As time dragged on, so did the depression. I would hurdle it around like a camel carrying water stumbling through an empty desert.

At the age of 17, my depression got so bad I became catatonic. I was nothing more than the darkness in the corner, brewing ruin in my damaged DNA. Every night, I slept for two hours, turning me into a zombie and wishing I would never wake up for the next day. My eating was erratic; sometimes I would eat and sometimes I wouldn’t. I was a prisoner of war inside my head and the loneliness took its toll. The only escape I knew of was death, as I spent most of my time just thinking about it since that was all I could do. At the age of 18, depression nearly took everything from me as I finally started to realize my life was hanging by a thread. Fast forward to now, I still think about death regularly. The difference now is in knowing that no matter whether or not we succumb to death, our souls will still go on. We will still be fighting for our lives.

Depression is like trying to run a marathon while being zapped by 100 tasers. It is like a leech; it latches on to some part of you where you cannot reach to remove it. It sucks all the life out of you until there is nothing left. It’s like trying to remove a slug stuck on your forehead with your tongue, it’s just not possible. This isn’t something you can just get over through wishful thinking. It’s never that simple. In order to take off the leech, someone who is willing, able and genuine has to help you take it off. You cannot do this alone. It took me many years to understand this. Help will always be available. The hardest part is taking the first steps on the road to recovery. No matter what, you can do it! We can beat this together! Here is a poem, “The Spider In The Night,” I wrote many years ago describing my depression. I am hoping it will help others feel less alone in all of this and inspire you to reach out for help.

“It’s dangerous.

And it’s scary,

how it gets you,

so quick and fast.

You don’t even realize it. You don’t realize anything.

It’s like a spider in the night.

It creeps up, as small as it is,

and gets you—just like that.

So quick, so sudden

and it kills you.

It makes you sad, makes you mad,

makes you bleed, and die inside,

even when you don’t know why.

It takes you away and it leaves you with nothing.

Oh how it creeps up on you like a spider in the night,

slowly but surely, deadly silent,

it takes away your world, your friends, your everything,

like a spider in the night

it crawls

it sneaks up on you and gets you

just like that.”

It may not seem like it, but you are not alone. Depression can kill you if you let it. I am here to say that no matter what, everything is going to be OK! If you are currently struggling with depression, there is hope. It is possible to win battling the big bad blues. Help is always just a call, text, hug or a moment away. Never be afraid to reach out. I wish you all the best of luck and hope on your journey to recovery. With all my love, stay strong everyone!

United States Various Hotlines

  • DEPRESSION HOTLINE:1-630-482-9696
  • LIFE LINE: 1-800-273-8255
  • TREVOR PROJECT: 1-866-488-7386
  • SEXUALITY SUPPORT: 1-800-246-7743
  • EATING DISORDERS HOTLINE: 1-847-831-3438
  • RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT: 1-800-656-4673
  • GRIEF SUPPORT: 1-650-321-5272
  • RUNAWAY: 1-800-843-5200, 1-800-843-5678, 1-800-621-4000
  • EXHALE: AFTER ABORTION HOTLINE/PRO-VOICE: 1-866-439–4253

WORLDWIDE SUICIDE HOTLINES:

  • AUSTRIA 01-713-3374
  • AUSTRALIA 1-800-817-569
  • BRAZIL 21-233-9191
  • CANADA 514-723-4000
  • CHINA 852-2382-0000
  • HOLLAND 0900-0767
  • HUNGARY 62-420-111
  • INDIA 91-22-307-3451
  • ITALY 800-86-00-22 (ROMA) 199-284-284 (TRENTO)
  • MALAYSIA 03-756-8144
  • MEXICO 525-510-2550
  • NEW ZEALAND 4-473-9739
  • NORWAY 815-33-300
  • DENMARK 70-201-201
  • EGYPT 7621602
  • FINLAND 040-5032199
  • PORTUGAL 239-72-10-10
  • REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 1850-60-90-90
  • RUSSIA 8-20-222-82-10
  • SINGAPORE 800-221-4444 OR 000-227-0309
  • SOUTH AFRICA 0861-322-322
  • SOUTH KOREA 2-715-8600
  • SPAIN 91-459-00-50
  • SRI VINCENT 1-692-909
  • SWEDEN 031-711-2400
  • SWITZERLAND 143
  • THAILAND 02-249-9977
  • TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 868-645-2800
  • UKRAINE 0487-327715 OR 0482-226565
  • UNITED KINGDOM 08457-90-90-90
  • UNITED STATES 1-800-SUICIDE (7842433) OR 1-800-TALK(8255) OR - 1-800-827-757
  • Self-Injury Support: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288) (www.selfinjury.com)
  • Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention: 1-800-931-2237 (Hours: 8am-noon daily, PST)
  • Eating Disorders Center: 1-888-236-1188
  • Help Finding a Therapist: 1-800-THERAPIST (1-800-843-7274)
  • Panic Disorder Information and Support: 1-800-64-PANIC (1-800-647-2642)
  • TalkZone (Peer Counselors): 1-800-475-TALK (1-800-475-2855)
  • Parental Stress Hotline: 1-800-632-8188
  • National AIDS Helpline: (UK Only) 0800 567 123

Various Depression Hotlines

  • Suicide Hotline (US, UK, Canada & Singapore): 1-800-SUICIDE (2433)
  • Suicide hotline (New Zealand): 0800 543 354
  • Depression hotline: 1-630-482-9696
  • Suicide Crisis Line: 1-800-999-9999
  • National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-TALK (8245)
  • National Adolescent Suicide Helpline: 1-800-621-4000
  • Postpartum Depression: 1-800-PPD-MOMS
  • NDMDA Depression Hotline – Support Group: 1-800-826-3632
  • Veterans: 1-877-VET2VET
  • Crisis Help Line – For Any Kind of Crisis: 1-800-233-4357
  • Suicide & Depression Crisis Line – Covenant House: 1-800-999-9999

Various Teenage Hotlines

  • National Youth Crisis Support: 1-800-448-4663
  • Youth America Hotline: 1-877-YOUTHLINE (1-877-968-8454)
  • Covenant House Nine-Line (Teens): 1-800-999-9999
  • Boys Town National: 1-800-448-3000
  • Teen Helpline: 1-800-400-0900
  • TeenLine: 1-800-522-8336
  • Youth Crisis Support: 1-800-448-4663 or 1-800-422-0009
  • Runaway Support (All Calls are Confidential): 800-231-6946
  • Childline: (UK Only) 0800 1111
  • Kids Helpline (Australia) 1800 55 1800
  • b-eat youthline (UK): 08456347650 (open Mon-Fri 4.30pm - 8.30pm, Saturday 1pm-4.30pm)

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Hotlines

  • National Association for Children of Alcoholics: 1-888-55-4COAS (1-888-554-2627)
  • National Drug Abuse: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  • Al-Anon/Alateen Hope & Help for young people who are the relatives & friends of a problem drinker): 1-800-344-2666
  • Alcohol/Drug Abuse Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  • Be Sober Hotline: 1-800-BE-SOBER (1-800-237-6237)
  • Cocaine Help Line: 1-800-COCAINE (1-800-262-2463)
  • 24 Hour Cocaine Support Line: 1-800-992-9239
  • Ecstasy Addiction: 1-800-468-6933
  • Marijuana Anonymous: 1-800-766-6779
  • Drinkline (UK): 0800 9178282
  • Frank (UK): 0800776600
Cover Image Credit: Volkan Olmez

Popular Right Now

I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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views

Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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I Am Pro-Life, And I Am Tired Of Being Attacked For My Opinion

I am pro-life from a secular and logical standpoint.

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We live in a country based on free speech, so why are pro-lifers verbally and physically attacked for merely their stance on a controversial topic? Why is Instagram censoring pro-life voices? Social media users should be given both sides of the argument, then allowed to make an informed decision, but by showing them only pro-choice content, their opinion will be biased.

Harmless pro-life posts are being shadow-banned from popular hashtags, lowering reach and engagement. There is a problem when non-violent, non-hateful posts showcasing people holding up signs that say, "Voices for the Voiceless", are censored.

Why are pro-choicers allowed to share their opinions on social media and be praised, while pro-lifers lose followers for sharing a pro-life post? It is vital that people have different opinions, and shunning pro-lifers encourages homogeneity of political opinions. Pro-lifers should not lose friends. Pro-lifers should not be attacked. Pro-lifers should not be scared of speaking up for what they believe is right.

I am pro-life, but I respect everyone's opinion. Instead of shunning the opposite side, I try to hear them out and understand where they are coming from.

Instead of dismissing pro-lifers as being old white men trying to control women's bodies, why not hear them out and try to understand the reasoning behind their opinions?

I used to be neutral on the topic of abortion, until a month ago, when I saw something that completely changed my perspective. It was around the time Governor Kemp signed the fetal heartbeat bill in Georgia, and it was a hot topic, so I decided to do some research. I came across a sight called "Priests For Life". "Oh great", I thought, "This site is going to impose its Christian views of abortion on everyone." Once on the site, I clicked on a tab titled, "America Will Not Reject Abortion Until America Sees Abortion."

I clicked on the gallery, and was confronted with the cold hard truth. View the gallery with extreme caution, because the images/videos are VERY graphic.

From this site, I also discovered that planned parenthood harvests and sells the body parts of aborted babies. Keep in mind, Planned Parenthood, providing 1/3 of abortions in America, receives $500 million dollars yearly from taxpayers. Having taxpayers' money going toward reforming foster care would be a better idea in my opinion.

The Declaration of Independence states, "Endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". The difference in opinion on whether the law should protect unborn children is a major factor that divides the pro-life and pro-choice movements.

In my humble opinion, I believe an unborn child should be protected by the law once a heartbeat is detected. We cannot dehumanize unborn children with euphemisms such as "clump of cells" or "potential life". We were all once "a clump of cells", and we still are. Can you name one non-living thing with a heartbeat? There is none.

The level of development of a human does not detract from his/her rights. All lives matter!

The most common pro-choice argument is "My body my choice." Yes, your body your choice, but when it's not your body, it's not your choice. The baby has its own unique set of DNA, its own organs, its own limbs, brain activity and a heartbeat. Just because a woman carries a baby does not give her a right to end his/her life.

Some may say the fetus cannot survive on its own, but a 1 month infant cannot either. A one month old infant depends on the care of a mother or guardian, and if it were to be left without food or water, it would not be able to fend for itself. Someone on life support cannot survive without the incubator. Elderly people with dementia depend on the care of staff in senior centers for survival.

The parasite argument is also a common one. Basic biology can refute this one. An unborn child in the womb is not a parasite, because for it to be a parasite it would have to be a different species than the mother, which would cause an adverse immune response.

"Everyone has the right to choose," is found on almost every pro-choice protest sign, and yes I agree. You have the right to choose to do whatever you want, but the second your actions harm another human's rights, a line must be drawn.

A women's right to choose ends when her baby's right to life begins.

Another common argument that is condescending towards pro-lifers is that they are pro-birth but not pro-life. Tell that to the thousands of pro-lifers adopting multiple children, giving them the best possible life. Tell that to the people outside of planned parenthood with signs that say "I will take your baby." Tell that to the numerous churches helping pregnant women. Tell that to the government who is giving single mothers tax breaks, food stamps and countless other resources.

The foster system may be flawed, but that is not justify ending the life of a child. More than 18,000 American families successfully adopt newborn babies in the United States every year.

Regardless, suffering is inevitable; you cannot end a child's life because he/she will live a difficult life. Instead, legislation should be passed to improve the foster care system and the adoption process. When a child is not aborted there is always hope, a chance, a possibility.

Some "pro-lifers" say, "I am pro-life for my body, but pro-choice for everyone else". This reasoning fails in many ways. You never hear anyone say, "I would never abuse my child, but I would never take away a parent's choice of if they want to abuse their child or not". Being pro-life means advocating for the defenseless, which means every single child, not just your own.

Women can do whatever they want with their lives, as long as their actions do not end the heartbeat of another human being.

All over social media, you see people sharing posts that say the women will be sentenced to 99 years of jail for having an abortion and 30 years for a miscarriage, but this is false. Often celebrities are the ones using their platforms to share these false statements. People should also fact-check the things they see on Instagram before believing them.

One line all pro-choicers say is "No uterus, no opinion". Let's not forget the people who made abortion legal were old, white men. This line is hypocrisy at its finest. If the line was "No prostate, no opinion", World War III would break out.

Most people are outraged by the fact that majority of the politicians who signed the heartbeat bill in Georgia were men, but let us not forget that Georgia residents vote for these representatives knowing the policies they advocate for. Around 40% of Americans are pro-life, and around 40% of women are pro-life, but these percentages are significantly greater in Conservative states, which explains the election of conservative representatives in Georgia and Alabama.

Pro-choicers often paint an image of pro-lifers as men who want to control the bodies of women, but that could not be any further from the truth. Abortion allows men to use women and not be held responsible for the consequences. Banning abortion teaches men responsibility and loyalty.

The purpose of the pro-life movement is not to control a woman's body but rather grant an innocent, unborn child the fundamental right to life.

Regardless of my pro-life stance, I do believe abortion should be allowed in RARE cases; for example, when the mother's health is in danger.

I agree these anti-abortion bills put a lot of stress on the mother, so I am all for increasing the involvement of the father. Whether it be increasing the amount and frequency of child support payments or making the father co-parent, it takes two to create a child, so the father should pull his weight.

Dr. Martin Luther King Sr. once said, "Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate."

This article is not meant to shun anyone who has had an abortion or is pro-choice. I respect your stance 100 percent. The purpose of this article is to address the social media bias towards liberal views of abortion and the stigma of leaning toward the right on abortion. There is no one right answer to this debate. It is not always black and white; that is why the abortion debate has been going on for decades.

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