When I started this blog, my plan was to base it on surviving with depression. Granted, I didn’t want every post to be about depression otherwise this blog would become a bit of a downer. I try to keep it upbeat with my “Quote of the Month” posts and my “Get to Know the Blogger” posts. On occasion, however, sometimes I need to write a post like this one.
I am one in ten.
One in ten adults suffer from depression. In my case, I’ve been living with it since I was twelve years old. I suffered from it for five years before it got dark enough for me to reach out for help. I was seventeen years old. I had just started my senior year of high school. I was in the middle of a wood shop class when a very dark thought crossed my mind. I had seen the table saw we were about to be using and my brain… well, I’m sure you can all use your imagination.
I was in the middle of writing a note to my mother, one telling her how sorry I was and how I just didn’t know how to keep moving forward, when another student just happened to glance down at my notebook. The next thing I knew, he was dragging me to my guidance counselor’s office. I used to tell people that I was strong enough to know I needed help and went on my own. Truth is, I was closer to ending my life than I let on.
I was evaluated and admitted into an inpatient therapy program at the Reading Hospital in Pennsylvania. It was there that I finally explored the causes of my depression. It stemmed from many factors, some that I didn’t let come to light and some that I did. I confronted my father on what he did that caused me to shut him out since I was twelve. I confronted my inner fears of never being “good enough.” I started writing what my therapist called my future book: a series of letters to people in my life that explained how I felt, why I felt that way, etc. However, they will forever be letters that I never sent. I burned them several years ago as a way to put it all behind me.
Fun fact: burning letters or rants that gets all your thoughts out is slightly unhelpful.
While I was in the hospital, it was the first time I had realized I wasn’t alone. There were other teens like me. There were kids like me. There were adults like me. I learned coping strategies. I learned more about myself in that one week than I had in seventeen years.
In the ten (almost eleven) years since then, I’ve learned that depression is much more common that I had thought. Like I have mentioned, one in ten adults suffer from it. I wanted to start this blog to share my experience with it and may give a ray of light to someone out there who feels like the darkness is too consuming. I can’t promise you that the depression will go away, but I can promise there will be better days and brighter moments. It doesn’t stay dark forever. We develop from the darkness. We grow and adapt and learn. We become better versions of who we were.
I’ve been surviving for almost sixteen years with a rain cloud that always seems to be hovering. I have found things that help me keep the storm at bay. My things are artistic: writing, drawing, painting, photography, and anything else creative. Plus I have a wonderful support system: my friends, family, and kids. They keep me strong. And when my strength begins to wither away, they’re right there with a pick-me-up or a shoulder to lean on.
I am one in ten.
If you are one in ten, I hope you’re surviving well. I hope you have a support system. I hope you know how to battle your darkness. I hope that you talk to someone when it gets to be a little too tough on your own. You can reach out to me. Comment below, or send a message on my contact page, or reach out to me in some way. (I’m on Facebook and on Twitter.) You’re not alone.