Out of the Darkness

Stay the course on difficult road to depression recovery

Recovery. It’s something everyone struggles with despite how different our situations are. Whether you break a bone or suffer from depression, the aftermath of both takes healing. It’s taken six years to get where I am today. I’ve recovered from a lot, and I think it’s super important that everyone knows things will be OK.

I was 11 when I was first got diagnosed with depression. Every week I spent time in a tiny room with a therapist trying to figure out why I wasn’t happy like every other kid my age. In a lot of ways I didn’t understand what I was even feeling, but I knew something was wrong when the ideas of suicide found their way into my mind. So, I was put on my first rounds of medication to try to even out the chemicals in my brain.

When I was 12, I found myself in a psych ward. After an attempted overdose, my parents were advised to place me in one for my own safety. It was hard. I felt like I was going insane. Pain consumed my life, and I was young. I still couldn’t make sense of the things I was feeling. It probably stemmed from my insecurities, but your mind has a way of resurfacing hidden memories, and that can destroy you. After eight days, I was home. I was happier than I was the previous eight days, and for the following six months everything was OK, but depression doesn’t go away.

Through junior high, things got bad again. I harmed myself, and I stopped caring about my grades and almost flunked out. My medication changed, and although it calmed my anxiety, I wanted to lock myself in my room and never come out. For days I stayed in my room, and I lost a lot of people because I isolated myself.

This was around the time I believed in the idea of not getting better. I tried so hard to be happy. I tried connecting with other people, but it was too hard. I was always overwhelmed. Being around anyone made my stomach drop, and I found myself crying in bathrooms at every social event. I hated myself for not being able to function like a normal person, and I struggled getting through junior high. It took a lot of therapy and support to get me through.

As I started high school, I was still a wreck from freshman year. I was quiet, and I depended on my medication and naps to keep the pain away. Again, it also took lots of therapy to help me get through school. When you’re depressed, doing anything feels like you’re drowning. Everything you once enjoyed becomes nothing more than a gray area, and it’s easier to just lie in bed and stare at the ceiling. That’s also the thing about depression; you can stare at a wall for hours without feeling anything. It’s complete isolation, and falling into that is something risky.

I started feeling better my junior year. Things became easier, and I hadn’t harmed myself in years. I still have scars, but to be able to pull yourself out of self harm is something to be proud of. It takes a lot of strength to do so. To my surprise junior year wasn’t terrible. I had a lot of bad days, but I’ve learned how to handle those times.

As a senior, things are so different than the time I was 11. I still struggle some days. I still take a heavy dosage of medication, but I’m no longer scared of not getting better. Looking back it breaks my heart to think that for years I thought my life was doomed to depression. But it isn’t. I’m no longer letting it control me. It’s hard to do that, but once you realize you’re alive to do incredible things, you start fighting for your happiness.

I’ll admit, some days I sit in my room and do nothing. I’ve lost weight because I quit eating, but slowly I’ve been looking for the joy in things. I also started eating more. Depression makes you lack self care, but I promise you recovery is possible. It’s taken me years to get where I am today, and things still aren’t perfect, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

I’m glad to be alive. I’ve fought hard to be happy, and it amazes me where I’m at today. Like I said, I have bad days. I have days where I wonder if fighting through the pain is worth it, but I love life for once. I want to experience everything I can. I want to do incredible things, but I can’t do that if I let myself fall back to where I once was.

Recovery is so hard, I know. It takes a lot of time too, but in the end it’s so worth it. Happiness will always find its way to you. At this very moment your life and feelings are just a small fraction of your whole life. You have a whole future ahead of you. If you give up now, you’ll never know the endless possibilities of life. There’s so much out there for you. Don’t let sadness ruin your entire life.

Safe Ways to Cope with Depression

•Write poetry

•Read

•Play with cats or dogs

•Rearrange your room

•Explore the woods

•Drink tea

•Take a shower or bath

•Meditate

•Cry

•Aromatherapy

•Bake cookies

•Listen to music

•Build a fort

•Make a list of good things

•Color in a coloring book

•Go buy something

•Hug your mom or dad or best friend

•Dance or sing

•Scream into a pillow

•Punch a pillow

•Make a paper airplane

•Get a piercing

•Cut or dye your hair

•Sit outside and take deep breaths

•Watch funny videos

•Eat pizza or ice cream or both

•Look at old baby pictures

•Call your therapist or hotline

•Go for a drive and blare your music

•Take another shower or bath

•Go to Barnes and Noble

•Make a tie blanket

•BREATHE

Whatever you do, do not harm yourself. There are healthier ways to cope that will make you happy. Harming yourself doesn’t fix anything.

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