Where shall I start? I guess from the very beginning. I had depression since I was 10 years old. I know, I know, I know… how can a kid have depression? What is there to be depressed about as a kid? I can not speak for any child who is currently depressed or an adult who had started their depression young, but for me it was years of build up. Until finally, a lot of things happened at once, triggered it.
What triggered it? I was having problems at home. My parents were constantly yelling at each other. Which always ended my dad laying his hands on my mom. It wasn’t long until he started laying his hands on me. Not only I had to deal with that, but when he went over my homework, I had to deal with him yelling at me. “You’re so stupid!” and “You’re so slow!”. His favorite thing to do is using his knuckles to hit my head like he’s knocking on the door. He screams, “Think! You can’t think! There’s nothing in there?” Ya know, saying things that made me feel like a piece of shit while my mother did nothing.
But before you go feeling bad for my mom, she wasn’t helping with the situation either. She got on me about my appearance. I was gaining weight and she would say stuff like, “pretty girls aren’t fat” and “boys don’t like fat girls”. She would get mad at me when she bought nice clothes and I couldn’t fit into them. She would aggressively sigh and violently pull the clothes off of my body while saying, “They don’t make pretty stuff for fat girls” She would compare me to my cousin and any girl around my age. It was bad enough that her only daughter is a tomboy, but ugly one too? I bet she wanted a receipt so she can exchange me for another daughter.
Not only she thought I was ugly, but the kids at school did too. Puberty was not kind to me. While girls were getting boobs and having their periods, I was getting hairy and fat. I was the fattest and hairiest girl in middle school. Also, I was misunderstood. Any nerdy or geeky references I made, I would get a blank gazes from people. I wasn’t cool and pretty enough to be accepted among peers. So the teasing, backstabbing, and manipulations were a constant thing. Yay!
Since I wasn’t making much friends, I kept constant communication from friends at the old place. However, during that time things were changing. You see, the old place was not a friendly environment. Gun violence and drugs were prominent. I noticed there was a split. Some of my friends were concentrating on school. While the other ones were joining gangs or doing things they weren’t suppose to. The cooler friends were of course the misfits. So when I popped by to visit, I most likely hung out with the misfits. Then I end up doing things I knew I wasn’t suppose to, but did it anyway. Why? I wanted to feel loved.
I wasn’t getting loved at home and I wasn’t getting loved at school. Those were the two spots I spent a great deal of time at. So knowing I had a place and people that loved and support me me for who I am; why wouldn’t I join them? At that point, they weren’t friends. They were family. Was I scared? All the time! Anytime they asked a “favor” I was afraid, but I couldn’t show it. I did it anyway. The way I see it, “If I’m going to die, then so be it. I die for the people I care about”
Unfortunately, some of my misfit friends were getting murder in the streets. That was a lot to take in. But even my friends that weren’t getting into trouble died by the hands of the streets. Wrong place, wrong time. When that started to happen, I didn’t want to live anymore. My home life was shitty, my school life sucked, and most of my old friends were dead. By then, I was 12 yrs old. A lot have happened in the 2 years of depression. I snapped.
I remember it being a Tuesday night. My parents were asleep and I was crying in bed. So many thoughts running in my head. But I remember the last thoughts were, “I want to die” How I remember it was my last thoughts? Because I kept saying it over and over again, as snot drenched my pillow. Until finally, I was determined to do something about it. I crept out of my bed and walked towards my bedroom door. I peep my head out to see if my dad was doing his routine late night surveillance. I slowly walked to my parent’s bedroom door and double check if they were really knocked out. I was relieved to hear the heavy snoring as it was a sign that they were deep into sleep. I quietly rushed to the kitchen looking for a butcher knife. I gleefully found it with my face looking at it as if it was the messiah that would save me from my troubles. I was ready to cut my arm and finally end the pain.
I don’t know what have stopped me. But a tiny little voice in the back of my head told me to wait it out. I placed the knife back with regret and confusion. Drag my legs to my room and lied in bed feeling defeated. Thinking to myself, “I’m so pathetic that I don’t have the guts to end my own life” This was my first suicide attempt. Unfortunately, wasn’t my last. I did the same song and dance almost every night for about a month. Until one day I finally spoke up.
Ya know how in literature class, they usually make you write on your daily journal? Well, in my journal I expressed how much I hate my life. How I see there was no point in living. And how I have been trying to kill myself for nearly a month. I let all of my misery flow from my hand to the paper. I didn’t go into details on what was going on. Just wrote how unhappy I was. I was fed up with the smiles and the pretending. I needed to release everything. I guess, it was my cry out for help.
The next day, my classmates and I were lined up ready to start our next period class. My literature teacher opened the door to let the kids in, but pulled me aside. She told them to start reading the next chapter of the story then closed the door behind her. Of course as she was closing the door the kids were peeping through the closing gap and shouting, “Oooowww, Michy is in trouble!” then giggle among themselves.
The teacher looked at me with a concern look on her face and I knew what it was about. Right then and there I started to regret what I wrote, because I knew what this might lead to. She pulled my journal behind her back and held onto it. Then another teacher, who taught science and religion (I know, ironic…), came out of his classroom and closed his door. The questions began. “Are you okay?”, “What have been going on?”, “Is everything fine at home?”, “Are there kids that are bothering?” and etc, etc, etc. What did I do? LIE!
“Yes, I’m fine!”, “Home is great!”, “No, nobody is picking on me”. Then the questions started to get more specific and then I start slipping up in certain questions. Before you know it, I’m at the guidance counselor office answering more questions, talking, and crying. After it was said and done, I splashed some cold water on my eyes and try to carry on through the day. I don’t remember getting picked on, but I remember being in a daze. My head was in la-la land until it was almost time to go home. I fell head-first back to reality, and the last words the guidance counselor said to me, stroke fear onto me. “We will be calling your parents about this…”
My parents? MY parents? MY PARENTS!!!!! As soon the bell rang for the end of the day I ran to the guidance counsellor office, but she have already left. It was too late. She probably made the call anyway. So I walked home very slow that day. Thinking this would be the day I die. I knew I wanted to die, but by my own hands. Not the hands of my parents. That was not the plan!
I nervously open the door. My mom sitting on the couch stressed out and upset. My dad pacing back and forth furiously. They both turn their heads and looked at me. They told me to come inside and close the door in creole. My parents were pissed. They were yelling at me. “WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO BE DEPRESSED ABOUT? YOU JUST HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL AND GET GOOD GRADES!” my mother shouted. My dad putting his fist so close to my face that his hand slightly grazed upon my tip of my nose. He said, ” I have something for you to feel depressed about!” As they were continuing to yell at me I felt their energy. You would think shouting it all out would make them calmer, but it actually mad them more mad. As soon as I felt their angry energy was through the roof, I have gotten a beaten. The longest and most painful beaten in my life.
Maybe it wasn’t that painful. Maybe the pain was just as bad as a regular beaten. Probably what made it so painful is that, I was clearly emotionally and mentally bruised up. I finally have the courage to speak my pain. Instead of getting understanding and love, I have received more pain. There was no escaping this. I am alone. After my punishment was done I went to the bathroom and cried on floor resting my head on the ledge of the bathtub.
I was already a kid that kept to myself. But that day I had to learn to really bottle everything up. So I bottle everything up until the age of 16 and I confess to wanting to kill myself with the guidance counselor. Then I exploded again about the age of 20 and decided to see therapist that the college provided. That’s when I has diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I had another episode around the age of 24 which lead me to outpatient treatment. When it happened again around the age of 27, I was in a psychward for about a month, then back to outpatient treatment. I am currently 31 and haven’t had another break down since. Well… not yet…
I have dealt with depression for 21 years and still counting. When I say that, I sometimes feel so pathetic. 21 years? Of depression? What? Just kill myself already! It’s very frustrating and discouraging hearing that. Like, am I ever going to get my shit together? I’m just a walking mess. Why can’t I be normal for once? But sometimes, I’m kinda proud. Stop making that face! Hear me out. I could have ended my life at the age of 12. Ya know what I would have missed out? Being an aunt of two beautiful intelligent nieces and nephews. Meeting some of the coolest people in my life. Having a pet cat that clearly adores me even though he acts like he doesn’t. Getting to travel to California, Mississippi, Indiana, and Florida. Missing out on the Avengers movie? C’mon! Like, who wants to miss that? Not me!
Now I’m not saying my life had gotten better. But the people we meet and the experiences we have (big or small), matters in our lives. So yea… I’m went through 21 years of depression and still counting. At least I didn’t give up. At least I’m still going even though I have no motivation to keep moving. I guess… I want to tell my inner 12 yrs old self that, “Life sucks! It will suck more. But we made it kid! We did it. Despite it all, we did it” Maybe that’s what I’m waiting for. That moment to prove to myself, no matter how many years of depression, that I did it. It can be 50 or 60 years of depression, but as long I lived my life to my fullest, then it was worth it.
So… how long have you been managing your illness? How was your journey?Tell me your story. I would love to hear it.