*Name has been changed to protect identity.
My struggle with depression
I can stand in a crowd and be distinguished only by my age, race, and gender. But there is one invisible thing that does make me different from many people. I suffer from depression.
Depression is a serious medical disorder that affects about 10 to 15 per cent of the population at some point in their lives. These statistics suggest that 140-210 out of 1400 students at Merivale may experience it in their lives.
There are a variety of different forms of depression that have completely different symptoms. I suffer from bipolar disorder, which is a severe form of depression that lasts a lifetime. With its drastic highs and lows, it can affect my mood at the drop of a hat. Real Stories Real Life
Most depressions can be treated effectively with anti-depressants and psychotherapy. Only recently, however, has it been shown that teenagers and children, as well as adults, can be treated with medication; in past years it was dealt with using therapy only.
You have to be sure that you want help, because if you don’t really want it, you’re not going to get it. When I came into high school I was a veteran of depression, so-to-speak. I have been dealing with my own personal demons since I was 12. The beginning of Grade 10 was a very stressful time; I needed someone to talk to, so I went to my guidance counsellor. Mrs. Dickson helped me immensely that year
Even now she is still helping me, and I check with her even when things are going well. Within the school there are also peer mediators who can help by listening and giving advice. Another outlet within the walls of Merivale is your teacher.
Teachers are not only there to teach, but to help you. They are a perfect example of trustworthy adults that you can open up to. Real Stories Real Life
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Outside of Merivale there are many more options for teenagers: help phone lines, family physicians, parents, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc. The resources are limitless. The only thing is that you need to be able to own up to your feelings and have the strength to tell someone something only you know.
My first step was talking to my parents about how I was feeling. Then I talked to my family doctor. After telling my doctor about my down, unmotivated moods he diagnosed depression. This illness runs in my family, so it was easy to diagnose and treat. I went on medication and was a happier, more jovial version of myself.
When I was off anti-depressants, I hit rock bottom, feeling even more useless and worthless than I usually did. Every time I was upset I would take large amounts of painkillers in an attempt to end my life and self-medicate. Every morning I would wake up, still alive and have another day with either a headache or nausea due to the overdose. Real Stories Real Life
The first time I tried to kill myself I was 12. I had been having an unfounded feeling that my parents were deeply disappointed with me. My parents being the only family I have, this feeling hurts to no end; it’s the kind of mental pain that afflicts your whole body and makes you feel sick everywhere. Even though my parents had made it clear they weren’t angry or disappointed with me, the feeling wouldn’t cease. Real Stories Real Life
One day I came home after school and found household cleaner. I knew that it was corrosive and would surely kill me, so I poured myself a glass. I sat in my room crying and contemplating whether I would drink the thick blue liquid. I got myself in the mindset of “Nobody loves me and they’d be better off if I were dead.” I took a sip and my tongue went numb; I didn’t drink any more after that.
I soon became fear stricken and went and told my mom and dad what I had done. They were deeply saddened that their child had tried to take her own life.
My overdose did not stop there; it only got more frequent and resourceful.
After about a year off medication and numerous suicide attempts, I knew it was best to start taking anti-depressants once again. But before I knew it, I was sick of being moulded by medication, and started taking more than I should.
My escapades didn’t last long and just sent me into deeper depression. I started self-medicating once again with overdoses of household painkillers.
I still woke up after my attempts to take my own life and just wanted to find another way to feed my lust for self-destruction. The only way I could feel alive is if I took risks with my own life. It was the only way I could suppress my pain.
I remember in Grade 8 a few ex-junkies from Harvest House came to talk to us.
One girl mentioned that she cut herself and was now unable to wear shorts and short sleeved shirts because of the stares she got because her many scars. his was the first time I had heard about cutting, but then I noticed it in movies and teen magazines.
I started cutting myself a little more than a year ago. I started off like most cutters do, scratching myself to inflict pain. My long bout with depression on suicidal thoughts led me to cut. It became my alternative to overdosing on medication every time. I was upset, and it worked well for me.
My weapon of choice when I cut is nail scissors. One time in particular I had just gotten home from an after school outing with my friends. I went to my room right away. I couldn’t seem to get myself away from this empty feeling, even when I was trying to occupy myself with music or television. I took the scissors from my dresser and began to run the tip back and forth across my flesh.
When I began to cut that night I wasn’t intending to massacre my leg, yet I ended up with 13 blood cuts about one and half to two inches across. For some reason the emotional pain I’m feeling is released through the transfer of it to physical pain. I always feel relaxed and content after I cut. For about six months I was able to cut myself without my parents noticing. Then my mom found out and I went back on anti-depressants. I was still cutting, but they were always done on easily hidden parts of my body.
In September of last year I reached the end of my rope and sliced up my wrist quite badly. I once again hid my cuts from my mom. Through September and November I cut up my left arm very badly and both of my legs. After I did an exorcist-worthy job on my arm, I was referred to The Royal Ottawa Hospital. I was part of their live-in cottage program for a week and went awol on my second day. I didn’t believe that I had to be taken out of my home to get help, but my mom didn’t agree.
So far this spring, things have been going better for me. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep my urges under control and continue to seek help.