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Aug6
2015

Knowing Depression Isn’t Weakness

By Anies Castillo

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.

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Comments (35)

  1. Jack

    Thank you

    Reply  |  
  2. Marnie

    I read this and it felt that I was reading something I had written myself. Everything. Even the part of trying to figure out a situation that would cause my death without it being suicide. I think that’s one of the best descriptions I have ever read. Thank you. I am once again in the depths constantly trying to find the positives. I keep telling myself a crazy wife and mother is better than no wife or mother. I have to believe that is true.

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  3. j9999

    So encouraging. Been there too

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  4. Natalie

    (Sorry for my English, I’m not a native speaker)
    I kind of experienced the same. Spent half of my life being miserable and whenever you feel like it could finally be better the depression comes back heavier than ever before. It feels like an endless circle and I really hope to one day find the right exit to get out of the circle. Good luck to everyone out there trying the same and thank you so much for the text. Take care.

    Reply  |  
  5. Tori

    I needed this today. Just to know In a real way that I am not alone. I am currently in a very dark relapse and medication is failing to help for the first time. It’s hard not to feel hopeless. Thank you for being open and honest about your experiences.

    Reply  |  
  6. Gina escalera

    I was there…I did the suicide thing, but lived. I love your last sentence, I am still struggling to get there.

    Reply  |  
  7. R. Motley

    thank you for this. You have no idea how timely this was and how much I needed to read this. to know I’m not alone, to know I’m not the only one, this meant the world to me. Best wishes on your continued journey.

    Reply  |  
  8. Dara

    I have not cut in two, almost three years, but some nights it gets difficult. Some nights it seems like the sun will never come. But you, like I have to keep fighting. Thank you for your inspiring, and very relatable story.

    Reply  |  
  9. Kristen

    At 34, I am relapsing from depression and am again on meds. I have friends and ask for support, only to be met with the reply, “everyone’s depressed”. Maybe it’s my friends, maybe it’s society, but I don’t think that many people understand the depths of this darkness. Depression is not sadness, it’s not a bad day, it’s waking up everyday feeling like you have already been defeated. Thank you for identifying and sharing this story.

    Reply  |  
  10. Julia

    Thank you for being open! Very well known feelings you sink in like in a swamp. Even when seems there’s no any tragedy in your life and everything is fine really. But it’s you what is tragedy for your self. And you can’t help but just let it take you deep down. You don’t lie in bed all days being sorry for yourself, you go and live your life, but it’s empty and meaningless and no matter what you can’t find this meaning anymore. But we’re not alone in that…

    Reply  |  
  11. Marlene

    As I was reading this, it so reminded me of my life and my battle with depression. It is a daily struggle for me at times, where I have to take life 2 hrs at a time. I wish you well and thank you for sharing your story.

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  12. Jane

    I saw myself in every word. The dirt time I thought about killing myself was in 1990. The last time I thought the world would be better off without me was last week. But I have vowed this disease will not take my life, and I am sticking to it as hard as it has been. I will not let it defeat me. 🌷

    Reply  |  
  13. Sofia

    But how do you ask for help when no one wants to help you. I’ve tried therapy I’ve tried medicine I’ve tried I’ve tried but nothing helps. I don’t want help I just want a friend. No one cares though bc if I wanted to get better I would be better by now. People don’t want anything to do with me and I’ve given up believing that someone ever will. I’m lonely and I’ll always be alone and I will never understand the point of continuing to live when I am this miserable. I just want everything to stop.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Sofia,
      We’d love to send you some encouragement. Would you please email info@twloha.com? We want to help you believe in the hope that there are better days ahead.

      Reply  |  
  14. J421

    I want to thank you. Every word I read I had felt I personally spilt onto paper. I battled depression since my pre-teens but always refused antidepressants. I don’t frown upon people who take them, I just never found them to be the right solution for me. in 2008 I found myself to be in the darkest place of my life seconds away from ending it all. A month later I lost my cousin to suicide. It was then when I saw the ripple effect and decided to make a change. I still battle depression but what you said about being open about it is so true. Just today I was able to share my story with a good friend to talk him off the ledge. Accepting that dark place has allowed me to convince someone I love so dearly that he is not alone. We should not be ashamed. We are not weak. not one bit.

    Reply  |  
  15. Esther

    Thank you for this. It was very encouraging. I am stuck in a very depressed state and am newly on anti depressants a doctor have had to drop out of my course. I feel hopeless atm so this was a nice piece of hope to hold on to.

    Reply  |  
  16. Gaby S.

    Thank you. Since high school I’ve been trying to avoid it but somehow it always creeps back up on me. Over a decade later I know now it will always come back but I must get myself through it, someday it will be a little better. It’s like that song from Mumford and Sons: “but the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view and we’ll live a long life.”

    Reply  |  
  17. Lynda

    Just now coming out of my latest dark cloud experience. I have heard it said that the opposite of sadness…they meant depression….was not happiness but vitality.
    Most days are moment by moment but I am slowly making my way back from suicidal plans to life itself. Thank you for your words.

    Reply  |  
  18. Stiles

    I’ve only graduated from high school and that sounds like words that would come from my mouth. Tears that I have shed. I have been on medication for over a year in a half but I have not once taken the medicine because I am to scared that I will never be okay with out them I do not want to have to depend on medicine to make me happy. I am in a happy relationship. But that does not keep me happy. I’m not welcome where I live and I quit the first job to ever give me a chance at life. I just feel like a failure. So to read this it gives me courage to try my medicine and go through with theraph. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  19. Wafae

    (Sorry for my english, I ain’t a native speaker)
    Your text touched my heart depply. And I recognize myself a lot. Today, I don’t how to deal with depression (I guess I’ve it) and this scares me. Depression scares me. I don’t how to ask help, I’m scared that my parents jugde me or mocking me. I’m ashamed of asking for help because people scares me but this is encouraging. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Wafae,
      We appreciate you commenting on this post! We encourage you to reach out to someone you trust to talk about how you’re feeling. We know it’s scary, especially when you’re sharing something like this, but we believe that people need other people and that you deserve to get the help you need. We list resources on our FIND HELP page (http://twloha.com/find-help/), but if you can’t find any near you there, we can send you more information. All you have to do is email info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  20. Becca

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve been battling an eating disorder for about 6 years now along with depression & anxiety. Rehab was a joke along with many other therapist that I saw. I finally, last year in November, decided to try and get help again. Well, my current therapist is amazing and truly cares. I also, after many months of her encouraging me, made an appointment to get back on anti depression medication(s). I still have a long way to go before I can say that I’m recovered. However, I’m getting there…some days slower than others! I found your story encouraging, thank you

    Reply  |  
  21. Stephanie

    This feels all too real to me. I’ve suffered from depression for years. I’ve noticed the past few weeks I’ve been depressed. I’m always in bed when I’m not at work, crying over nothing, overthinking everything. It makes life feel pointless. I feel irrelevant. My two cats are comforting but they’re not enough. My mom lives in Tennessee while I’m down here in Florida. I feel alone. Yeah she’d miss me but who cares? I know God is greater than all this but I can’t seem to make any of it feel like enough. Your story is inspiring, but it still doesn’t change how I feel. But I’m glad someone could get through it.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Stephanie,

      We’re so sorry to hear that you feel alone right now and that you’re struggling with depression. We know that life might seem pointless right now, but we hope you also know how loved you are. The world needs you here, Stephanie. Yes, your mom would miss you. Your cats would miss you. And the world would miss out on what you have to offer too. If you’re looking for more reasons to stay alive, please email us at info@twloha.com. We’d love to send you some hope and encouragement and point you toward resources. In the meantime, please know we list 24-hour helplines here: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/

      Reply  |  
  22. Pingback: Knowing Depression Isn’t Weakness | Dr.Ashutosh Singh

  23. Nieves

    Hi, my name is Nieves.
    I’m from Spain and I don’t know too much english, so sorry…
    I start _______ myself when I was twelve, now I’m sixteen.
    I leave it for a year, but two years ago I started to get bad again and now ___ myself every day.
    Nobody knows it, I’m fighting depression and I really feel that I can’t do this for more time.
    I feel lonely, sad and broken.
    I spend my days locked in my bedroom, all is bad with my family and I don’t know anything about my “friends”, nobody cares about me.
    And now, I don’t know what can I do, I hate my life.
    But, this really helps me and I needed this today.
    So, thanks.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Nieves,

      Thank you for your comment. We’re so sorry to hear that you’re struggling right now. Is there anyone in your life – your family or in your community – who you can open up to about how you’re feeling? If you need them, we list resources (including 24-hour helplines) here: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/. We’d love to send you some words of hope and encouragement. Would you mind emailing us at info@twloha.com?

      Reply  |  
  24. Carys

    How do you get help if you’ve tried and tried asking your parents to get you a counselor and they say that you don’t need help and that everything is in your head?

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Carys,
      We’re so sorry to hear that you’re in this situation right now. We’d love to send you some encouragement and work to find some resources for you in your area. Will you please email info@twloha.com with more information?

      Reply  |  
  25. Pat

    I’m reading this post right after wondering, in my head, how I could, somehow, put myself in harms way…without actually committing suicide. I see all the contact and help listed, and know I should…but somehow can’t. Yet. There are a number of reasons, but I think, deep down, I simply don’t deserve help for considering something as selfish as…harming myself. At least, that’s what I know my daughter would say. I am very happy that you have found that place inside, that peace. And that you have help because your family loves you, not just because you are useful.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Pat,
      Thank you so much for commenting. We’re so sorry to hear that you’re having these thoughts right now and that you think you don’t deserve help. That is absolutely not true, Pat, and we’d love to help convince you of that. We want you to know how worthy of help and love you are. Please email us at info@twloha.com. We’d love to send you some hope and encouragement.

      Reply  |  
  26. Bridget

    I needed to read this today. It tells me that someday i will overcome my demons. I go to this site because i love reading i’m not alone. it’s so hard and no medication has helped me thus far. i cannot figure out the reason. i should be happy everything is going great but i feel terrified to leave the house. i can’t even go to work without freaking out. I have too much motivation to live to quit now, I fight tooth and nail through the days with my emotions. I keep trying to fight my demons and leave but i feel cornered and they seem too strong, and I let them win and don’t leave…It’s just so much more comfortable to…then at the thought of leaving I get extremely nervous…My depression started in 2010, anxiety in 2012. I’ve been fighting for 6 years and plan to fight for so many more for my family. I cannot get a therapist in my area as well. It’s hard. Things will seem hard but I am a firm believer that I WILL get better. Keep fighting!

    Reply  |  
  27. Jennifer

    Anies, thank you so very much for sharing your feelings. I hope that you are continuing to feel great! Your story has truly touched my heart and soul! I really needed this inspiration right now! Thank you for being you! Keep up the excellent work towards your own happiness. Keep shining your light!

    Reply  |  
  28. Pingback: Depression, my own heart – writemebackblog

  29. Rebecca Mills

    Thank you…your story has lifted my spirits. Everything you have gone through, I have too. Right now going through another relapse. Thank you again for sharing, it helps to know you’re not alone💜

    Reply  |