I finally conquered my depression a couple years ago. Until then I had kept a lot of my life story private but I eventually learned to open myself up completely and stop keeping the pain inside. Nowadays I'm completely honest with myself and others.
My depression plagued nearly my entire childhood and lasted from around fifth grade to my senior year of high school. Throughout the majority of that time, I did not have a single true friend. I scared off the people who did try to befriend me because of the way I acted towards them. It was a vicious cycle where the longer I went without making any real friends, the less chance I ever had of getting one.
My parents, frantic and frustrated, brought me to see several different therapists throughout the years. I believe the count ended at around 10 different psychologists and psychiatrists, all of whom gave up on me at one point or another. I was diagnosed with every three-letter mental issue in the book, from ADD to OCD. They said I was bipolar and oppositional, everything you could think of. As a result, I was put on an ever-increasing catalogue of medication, the doses always rising. I'm one of the cases where medication did not work at all for me - I maintain that it made things worse. All the different medication I was on battled with each other, fighting and wrecking my body and mind. I got sick from it a lot. The worst part for me - what hurt me the most - was that whenever things started to get better... whenever I was happier, or stopped getting in trouble at school, or was able to socialize and talk with other kids my age... the medicine got the credit. "The medicine must be working!" I never got the credit. It was never ME overcoming my problems, it was always the medicine. And when things went wrong, I got blamed... then it WAS my fault. It was my fault that I got suspended, but it was because of the medicine that I got an A on that test.
All of this time, I had to deal with the shadows inside my own head. I constantly craved attention and always acted out in front of my peers in misguided attempts to be accepted by them. I was the weird kid who sat alone at lunch, some days making strange noises aloud or repeatedly slamming his fist into his forehead. Weird shit like that. Who could blame the other kids for making fun of me? Another vicious circle. I acted weird because I had no friends, and I had no friends because I acted weird.
I got a lot more chances than most people in my situation got: I was sent to a military boarding school for my freshmen year of high school, where I was able to start fresh. My parents were fed up with me, rightfully at their wit's end. They simply didn't know how to deal with a child who hated himself so much. But the fresh start, that's what's important. Predictably, though, I messed it up. In no time at all, I turned everyone against me: my peers, the adults above me, my teachers. This is where my depression hit the hardest. I contemplated suicide every day, fantasizing about ways I could kill myself, trying to calculate the best way to do it that would get back at everybody for ruining my life. That's how I thought back then. Sometimes the only thing that kept me from actually killing myself was the fact that I wouldn't be able to see everyone's reaction when it was over.
I vividly remember setting up a makeshift noose out of my uniform's belt. I stood on a chair in my room, belt wrapped around my neck, with my door wide open. I waited for people to walk by so they could see what I was doing. I wanted the attention more than anything else. I wanted to die not only because I hated myself, but because I wanted to get back at everyone else. I wanted them to feel bad for neglecting me. I thought the world was so unfair.
The problems escalated until I was eventually expelled from the military school. My dad picked me up and brought me home. He and my mother discussed what the next step was. they were furious. They didn't know what they, as parents, could have done so wrong to have a child this destroyed in his head. My mother told me she wished I was a miscarriage. She didn't mean it - she loves me so much, it was just frustration speaking - but the words were scarred into my brain. After the longest week of my life (I spent most of it in my bed staring at the cieling in pure terror at the nothingness that lay ahead in my future), my parents told me they were sending me to another military school. This one was in Wisconsin.
I didn't last there very long at all. The kids hated me and I hated them. They beat me up while I was sleeping and nobody ever did anything about it. I hated myself more than ever. After a long string of events that I'd rather not get into right now, I ended up getting expelled from this school as well. Since it was in Wisconsin, states away from my home, they were sending me back on a plane escorted by two staff members to make sure I got there safely. At the airport, I was stricken by the pure terror of having to go home and face my parents... and I made a run for it. Airport security grabbed me and hauled me off in a police car to an out-patient mental institution.
I stayed there for a week and I practically fell apart. It was all teens there, just like me... but they weren't just like me. I watched them. They had serious problems, worse than mine. They had parents who had abused them, neglected them, abandoned them... I had parents who loved me and wanted nothing more than for me to be safe and happy. The biggest obstacle blocking me from being happy was myself. Watching these other ruined kids, thrown to the wayside and devoid of hope... it was an enormous wake-up call. I could salvage my life if I tried hard enough, because I had people who truly cared about me back home.
I returned to public school and continued to battle with my depression. Eventually I decided to stop taking my medication in an effort to win this fight independently. I needed that - I needed to stop taking my medication - but for most people this is not the case. In fact I really shouldn't have stopped. It certainly made things rockier for a long while as my body and mind tried their best to right themselves.
As time went on, the suspensions stopped coming and the weird cries for attention stopped happening. Small periods of time popped up where I found myself actually happy with life, satisfied. I slowly made friends. I gathered my sanity and shoehorned myself into the normalcy of a working society. The suicidal thoughts stopped coming, and pretty soon I was amazed that I had ever thought death was the right option. There was so much to live for.
Now... I'm happy. I haven't had any serious bouts of depression in over two years, though on occasion I've felt the feelings seeping in. I still don't take any medication, and it's a wonder I managed to overcome my depression without it but I am ever-thankful that I was able to. I don't think I could have ever done it if the medication had still been around to take credit... but remember that for some people the medication is the one thing that really helps. I have more close and caring friends now than I could have ever asked for, and I truly love them all even if I don't flat-out tell them so.
I missed out on my childhood but I'm all the better for it. I have an appreciation for life that isn't easily earned.
If I could travel back in time and tell my younger self how happy I would be one day, I think younger-me might fall to his knees and break down in a waterfall of rubbery tears, hugging me so tightly that I'd be gasping for air.
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