At the beginning of 2012, I had just graduated from college, and the future looked bright. I was excited about what was about to come, but little by little, I began to change. I found I could spend the whole day in bed. Life began to feel heavy. I had no appetite. I felt lost and confused, as if some unknown force was dragging me down. It felt like something had turned off the light in my head. I had never met anyone who was dealing with depression to this extent, making it difficult to recognize what was going on with me. I would talk to people in my family, but they didn’t understand.
You have everything you need to be happy.
You shouldn’t be sad.
And because I lost 15lbs in less than a month, they’d beg: Tell me your diet secrets.
I would look in the mirror, and I wouldn’t see myself; it was as if I was looking at some strange, ghost-like version of me. The stars had left my eyes, and there was no joy in my laugh anymore. Finally my mom realized that I really did need professional help, so I started therapy and got on anti-depressants. Slowly, some light started to come in. I was getting better. Things were working the way they were supposed to again. This lasted for about a year.
In February of 2013, I was working a 9-to-5 job with no creative outlet. For someone whose life revolves around music and film, it was a very strange work environment. I was still on anti-depressants and going to therapy, but all of a sudden, I was very miserable again. I would cry at every lunch break because, once more, a sense of dread and hopelessness was taking over me. I remember one night in particular: a night that I wish I could just banish from my memory. It was a night that I wish no one on this planet would ever have to experience. I was sitting on my kitchen floor, planning out how I was going to end my life. Crying, I debated my own beliefs about heaven and hell. If I killed myself, God would understand, right? He knew the pain I was in! My dog, who would not leave my side that night, was trying his hardest to lick my tears away. Then the image of my mom came to me. I thought of how devastated she would be and how she would probably blame herself for my actions. All of this made me stay.
After that, I was put on more meds, which helped tremendously. Within a few months, I was doing so well that my doctor got me off anti-depressants completely. I was becoming the girl I used to be when I graduated college: happy, loving life, and looking forward to the future. I even moved to New York City.
Last November, one year into my life in New York, depression snuck up on me once more. I was in denial that I could be relapsing; I wanted to believe depression was like chicken pox: Once you had it, you didn’t have to worry about getting it again. But the days were becoming very dark and grey. Again, I had no desire to do anything. Everything just felt like so much work. I felt dead, as if nothing would make me happy or excited. Mad, scared, and afraid of living, I felt hopeless.
One night while taking the train home, I thought about what would happen if I put myself into some sort of situation that would increase my chances of dying – but without it seeming as if I had purposely tried to hurt myself. The amount of excitement this brought to me was terrifying. Thank God my brain was able to recognize that this was not normal and that I needed help. I am on anti-depressants again, and I am at a better place right now, taking things one day at a time.
Now I’m doing things that will make me feel better, like going out for a run, making time for people, and finding something to be thankful for on a daily basis. Since my relapse, I’ve had to look so many of my demons in the face and deal with them. While struggling with depression, I have beaten myself up for feeling too much and for thinking that feeling too much was a sign of weakness. It’s taken me a while to realize that I am not a weak person, but now I know I’m not. Owning my darkness and being open about it has given me the ability to bring light into the lives of others because I’ve let them know that they are not alone.
If you are going through something similar, please don’t be ashamed of asking for help. I know it’s easier said than done but your life is so worth it. At times, it’s been tremendously painful but also very liberating. I’m finally living life for me and not for a society that shames mental illness.