This is my story.
I’m 20 years old and I’ve suffered with severe depression and anxiety since the age of 11 (officially diagnosed at the age of 16). I’ve tried so many different things in order to help; counselling, medication, yoga, exercise, etc. But none of them have really worked for me. So hopefully this journal will help.
When I was 4 years old, my baby brother died. It crushed my family. Me, my 4 older siblings, my mum and my dad had to build our lives up from the bottom. This has brought us really close as a family. But since I was only 4 at the time, I was rebuilding a life that I already didn’t understand. There’s no good time for an event like this to happen, but it happened at a time where I was transitioning from nursery school to the first year of primary school. I will never resent my parents for crying in front of me, but I’m a fixer. When someone cries in front of me, I need to help make them smile again. So when I saw my mum or my sister in tears or my other sister fighting with whoever she could, I felt the need to make things okay again.
From the age of 5, I was bullied. School became hell for me and I was terrified of going. My mum would walk me to the classroom and I’d follow her back home. Between the ages of 5 and 11, I didn’t really have solid friends at school. I had people who pretended to be my friend in order to hurt me. It was a time of mind games, playground politics and pure dread. My way of dealing with it was to act out, to become the people I was afraid of. So I’d lose my temper and I’d lash out violently or verbally at anyone who did so to me. To this day I’m still ashamed of my actions and behaviour during this time of my life.
Secondary school was better socially. Ages 11-15 were the ages that I turned inwards. I had more friends, my school life was happy, and everything looked fine on the outside. I kept smiling because that’s just what you do during rough times; you make sure no one knows you’re struggling. But if I’m not acting out at other people, who is there left but me? My coping strategy of anger and violent acts became something I did on my own and to myself. The darkness of depression convinced me that people were using my friendship still and I needed to lie about myself so I didn’t give anything away that they could hurt me with. So I did. I made up random little facts about myself that weren’t true at all merely so no one could use them against me. My anxiety developed this theory into just not talking when I felt uncomfortable; which became every time I went outside.
Sixth form was when things took a huge nosedive. School work got harder, friendships, other than those which I made online, became strained or broken and suicide was something that became an everyday thought. It didn’t scare me that I was thinking about such drastic actions, what scared me was that my family would lose another member. I failed my final exams in everything but my Performing Arts qualification. I used my performing as an escape; I didn’t have to worry about my issues when I was being someone else.
Now I’m out of school and trying to make a career for myself, things are harder than ever. I only really have two close friends, they’re the most fantastic and wonderful people I’d ever hope for in my life. But they live 200 miles away from me. I love them with all my heart and they’ve been there for me to remind me that life isn’t how my disorders make me see it. But they do have their own lives and can’t always be there, which is fine and I understand. I just wish it were different and we lived closer. I’m forever thankful for what they’ve done for me, but my depression gets frustrated – or happy – when they’re busy. That’s something I need to get rid of in my head.
I’ve got loving friends and a close family. But that’s not what Depression and Anxiety see. They see a world where I should be alone and anyone in the way of that needs to go.
So this is my blog. A place where I can vent, rant, cry or share good things.
Until the next post.