Depression. A lot of people consider this a cry for attention, or just some lousy figment of imagination Doctors take advantage of to take hard earned money. I have suffered from it for as long as I can remember, although I never knew until I was in my teen years. Growing up, I was, and still am, the oldest of 5 children. This can be hard for any child, since parents would have difficulty making sure each child got the attention he or she deserves. To make matters worse, we grew up poor. 2 bedroom house with 4 kids in one room and the other room for the parents.
Most of my fond childhood memories revolve around my grandma on my mothers side. I always had a special bond with her, that none of my other siblings ever got to share in. She would listen when I spoke, help when I needed help and as far as I can tell, was never mean to me. At home, I was constantly made to feel small and inadequate. Told I was “A waste of flesh” or “Lower than the dirt under their feet”. This, in my opinion, is something that should never be said to anyone, ever. Anyways, I suffered. Now, I am not saying that I am the only one who was treated this way in my family, but I was the first to feel that sting of inadequacy. I constantly wondered why I was different from everyone else. Why was I wrong? What was I doing wrong? This began the slow spiral into the black hole of depression.
I spent most of my time when I was younger, reading. I love it. It is an escape from everything. Open your mind and let it be filled with a new world, with adventures and characters that make you feel anything other than hurt. I constantly heard the word “anti-social” growing up, but made no effort to change that. Why do I need to have people around, if I am wrong, broken, or a waste of time? Why let people was their time on me, when I didn’t even want to be with myself?
As I grew older and got into middle school, it only got worse. Take some mental abuse, sprinkle it with some physical abuse, add a dash of social awkwardness and pour in some poverty. This was nothing but a ticking time bomb for other kids. In school I always got along better with my teachers, rather than other children. My grades were good, and school was always fun, and escape from my home. I was probably the only kid I knew, who couldn’t wait for school to start, and dreaded when it would end.
Around the age of 12 or 13, I can’t remember exactly, we moved to Florida. This made things so much worse. I was sad that I had to leave my school, teachers and what little friends I had, for some place new and foreign. Keeping to myself, I only asked others to pick on me. I lived in a trailer park, I had second hand clothing and my family were labeled “freaks” from the start. I never stood a chance. I constantly got berated, picked on, and made to feel like I was told, a waste.
Eventually I made friends, not good ones mind you, but other outcasts, other people with whom I felt I could relate. This only wound up to be a terrible decision on my part, since it got me into drugs, cigarettes and drinking. Eventually this only got me into trouble, getting arrested and leaving most of that life behind.
I am only giving a brief description, because my history isn’t that point of this. After going through a horrible depression most of my life, and even contemplating suicide all the time, I began my own process to work through it. I hated how I felt, how I acted and how I thought. I remember the one time I made the mistake of bringing up my depression to a doctor. My father was there too. Their response? “You have no reason to feel this way, you have a roof over your head and blah blah blah.”
I need to say something. I did not choose to be depressed, I do not choose to feel like shit, nor do I choose to feel like I am a worthless person. This shit happens to anyone, for any number of reasons. If it was a switch, I would gladly switch it to off, and break the switch so I would never feel this way again. Anyways, because of this being a constant reaction to my depression, I decided to work on it myself.
The first thing I started with, was how I started each day. I did not change what I ate, or even the time I woke up, but rather, I changed the first thing I thought when I woke up. As soon as I would wake up, I would think to myself, ‘What a great day!’. Seems idiotic, right? Not really, after a while of this, I noticed changes, a brightness to my day, or a less sour look on it. Eventually I added something else. When I went into the bathroom, instead of avoiding the ugly ogre it in the mirror, I would look at it and say something like “You are important” or “You are a handsome man”. Another idiotic thing? Not really, because eventually I noticed that I looked at myself differently. I thought I looked better, or not as ugly, I tried different hairstyles, or even tried harder to make an effort at not being disheveled. I actually started caring about myself, which in turn made others notice that I was different. I am not saying that I cured myself of depression, but if you could compare me to teenage me, you would notice a huge difference.
To me, depression is a mind set. If you can change little things in your mind, on your own, without other people trying to tell you their way of fixing it, you can change the mind set to be better, more positive. How is another person supposed to tell you what you do or don’t need to do to fix a mental ailment? They can’t. You know the expression, ‘Walk a mile in their shoes’? You can never know how a person feels, or doesn’t feel. You can never see through another persons eyes. Every one of us is different. How then, can you know if that happy optimistic person is actually a depressed, suicidal individual? We depressed folk are a highly mysterious folk. Our face can say ‘happy’, while our mind says ‘I want to die’. Even if you try to tell a person how you feel, it is hard to find the right words to just get that point across. Sad never cuts it. It’s like trying to describe colors to a blind person. It’s impossible.
The only one who can change you, is you. Medicine may help, having someone to talk to can help too, but in the end, the only person that can actually make a difference, is you. You are the person holding yourself back, you are the person whispering doubts and negatives in your ear, you are your worst enemy. There may be several factors as to why a person is depressed, but in the end, you are what you let get to you.
There may be no way to completely get rid of depression, but I know that you can at least make your life better while dealing with it.