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Depression is like a thief in the night. As if someone broke into my home and robbed me of my happiness. Sometimes it even feels as if I'll never be able to feel joy again. I used to think it was because I wasn't popular or because I didn't have many friends, but as I grew older I realized it was much bigger than that. It was as if a thief had stolen my purse and took off running. I'd try so hard to run after the thief as fast as I could to take back what was mine. My purse. My happiness. No matter how fast I ran I couldn't catch him.
Growing up in my home, I felt as if I could never speak about my feelings. Don't get me wrong, I had a great childhood. I just felt that my parents wouldn't take me seriously if I told them that I was "sad" or didn't have the will to want to live anymore. As time went on, the thoughts of suicide and sadness became a normal thing for me. I would be at a sleepover or soccer game and want nothing more than to be in bed. Once I got into bed, I wanted to be out with my friends. It was a never-ending struggle to find happiness. Being young and naïve, I thought that maybe it was my appearance that was making me happy. Maybe if I looked more like the popular girls in school, I'd be happier. I tried every fad diet that the celebrities were doing. I'd even went as far as taking laxatives and bulimia. When I got to my goal weight of 110 pounds, I was still unhappy.
I then tried to commit suicide.
Unsuccessful, I then realize that I had created even bigger problems because I was trying to hide one problem. I reached out to a depression counselor later that week.
My counselor suggested that maybe I should give group counseling a try, that maybe it would help me to know that I was not alone in this battle. She was right. During my first session, I mainly sat there afraid that I would be judged. That I would be looked down upon because I needed help. It was then I realized that everyone in this room is like me. Everyone came here to try and make sense of why they are feeling this way, and that I shouldn't hide how I feel. I mean hiding my feelings landed me in the hospital. Maybe if I had spoken to someone sooner, I would have gotten the help I needed.
During my time in therapy I learned that this was not my fault. I didn't do this to myself. Depression can happen for many different reasons including trauma, abuse, and even genetics. I had also found out that depression runs in my family on my mother's side. My grandmother had it and my mother, as well as one sibling.
The truth is I never know when my joy will be taken away, but when it does I know that there are people there willing to help and that what I'm feeling will pass.
When I am feeling robbed of my hope and happiness here are some things I try:
- Meditation: For me, meditation helps to interrupt my negative thoughts.
- Interact with a pet: My cat has always been able to help turn my mood around. I like to think she knows when I'm feeling down.
- Reading: This might only help if you actually like to read. It always helps me to get lost in the words of a great novel.
Sometimes I still find myself chasing the thief that stole my purse. Somedays I am able to catch up to him, and take back what's mine! Other days I run out of breath as the tears stream down my face. I know this will be a never-ending chase, but I know that if I stay positive and continue my treatment things will get better.
I am in no way a doctor, but my only advice is to open up to a trusted source and talk about it. I know it can be hard for one to talk about how they are feeling, but there are people that sincerely want to help people like us. Whether it is your parents, a school counselor, therapist, doctor, or even a friend you should talk to someone. Understanding is the first step toward finding the best course of treatment suited for you. I started going to my group therapy sessions five years ago, and believe me when I tell you, IT WILL GETS BETTER!