I believe that depression is something of the inevitable whether it’s in a mild, medium, or an insanely intense form.
Her depression is like this: “It’s a shapeshifter. Sometimes it’s as small as a firefly in the palm of a bear, and other times it is the bear.”
She was diagnosed with depression in October and couldn’t remember the exact date. She doesn’t even remember the name of the pills they gave her. To be honest, she doesn’t remember most of last semester. But she sensed she had depression before the doctor even confirmed it.
She consulted the Oxford Dictionary, which described depression as “a mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep”.
Jesus, she must really be fucked up. A mental condition? Is she crazy? Is that what this means?
As she looked at the definition over and over again, she knew she had all of these symptoms.
She felt like she was drowning.
Drowning, yet able to breathe, all the while feeling dragged down to the bottom of the ocean with no hope of being pulled out by herself, let alone others.
A party that she didn’t even want to be at.
She felt everyone everywhere was saying only bad things about her. Then she reminded herself that no one gives a shit. That is another problem: Who actually cares?
She couldn’t eat, and when she did, it was only because someone was forcing food down into this hollowed out body she didn’t even know anymore.
Was she a blonde or a brunette? She didn’t even know.
And who would people like better?
Will people like her again– if she just cut it all off?
She tried to counter her depression with alcohol, while finding herself drinking constantly.
She thought to herself that where the alcohol was taking her was a better place than her reality.
Jokes on you, girl. Alcohol is a depressant.
A vicious downward spiral…
Drowning. Drinking. Dying. Repeat.
Then one day she was driving and an idea popped into her head.
“What if I drove right off this cliff? Wouldn’t take much but a step on the gas and I wouldn’t be hurting anymore.”
At that moment she knew she needed help. She broke into a violent cry and sobbed for someone to help her, to at least get her out of the car so she wouldn’t go through with her plan.
She knew therapy wasn’t going to help her because she didn’t have a good track record with therapists.
What does she do? What can she do?
Her parents didn’t understand what was wrong with her.
She knew when she started feeling this way and didn’t understand why it grew and grew until she broke.
She went seeking for help. The Health center, she thought, yeah they can help me.
As a student, she knew she was allowed six free counseling sessions.
They gave her a grad student. Who told her that he couldn’t help her. That he could only find words for her, and not give her any tools. She had the words, she was screaming at him: Words upon words! How she wanted to end her life.
Again, he told her that he couldn’t help her…
She left in a state of fury and rage; the health program didn’t take her life seriously.
The Health Center describes their services like this:
What is counseling?
The Health Center describes counseling as a meeting with a mental health specialist to discuss some aspect of your personal or interpersonal life. It involves talking about and working through concerns and problems. Counseling can help you clarify personal issues and emotions, help you set goals, help improve relationships and help you free yourself of disturbing thoughts and feelings.
This is their bit on depression:
Depression and suicidal thoughts are serious problems. If you feel down, discouraged, tired all the time, “blue”, or have trouble with your sleep or appetite, you may be depressed. Call for an appointment to see one our counselors. Talk with the counselor about how you feel and the counselor will help determine what the problem is and help you do something about it. If you feel suicidal or are thinking often about death or dying, talk with someone nearby right away (e.g. a residence hall advisor or professor) and come in to the Center immediately to get some help.
Ha! Yeah right, Health Services. She only needed one session to realize she’d never come back again. Thanks for nothing.
She thought and she thought for hours, why was she feeling this way? She had the life. College sports player, supportive family, friends, she was pretty. Why was she depressed?
Earlier that year she had messed up, bad. She knew she did. And she now, was getting what was coming to her.
She had never really dealt with adversity ever in her life and she didn’t know how to handle it. Losing friends, being heckled and harassed, hiding, crying, shaking. Hearing rumor upon rumor and people looking at her like they were true. People staring into her apartment. For an entire semester she kept her blinds closed. The whispers, the pointing.
Worst of all was the ignoring. Ignoring to the extent that she questioned if she was even a real person. Being a person but not feeling like one, to her, that was depression. This carried over to her sport. She avoided the gym at all costs. Not wanting to interact with anyone there. She started losing muscle, which meant losing weight, which turned into her not being able to compete with the other girls.
“It seems like someone stole your sunshine,” her coach said.
She had her days, where she was okay. She managed to avoid everyone everywhere that day, and make it home to her bed.
On other days, the same feelings, over and over again. She felt like she was dying.
Her parents couldn’t take it anymore, even after they researched, cried, and made phone calls, until one day they found exactly what she needed.
They found someone who could give her the hope that she needed. Who showed her that everything that happens in life is a gift, because it shapes us into the person we were meant to be. Mistakes were meant to happen as well as bad things, because without the bad how would we know when we’re feeling the good?
She was like a seed that was planted.
For the seed to grow it needs to be completely destroyed before it can bloom into something beautiful.
And I know for a fact, that she is ready to start growing.