I have been really struggling to write a blog post on anxiety recently, I begin writing and end up in a state of panic which ruins the rest of my day. I didn’t realise how much speaking about this type of stuff would trigger my memory and my ‘flight’ reflex. I have a tendency to run away from my problems, I don’t like facing reality and would rather push my feelings far down than begin to work through them.
I first got diagnosed with depression when I was 12 years old, and as I said in an earlier post, I didn’t know what depression was and therefore ignored the diagnosis. I’ve always felt negative about myself; I was bullied growing up. The word bullying got so desensitized from the constant ‘anti-bullying’ campaigns the school would put on to make it look to parents that they knew what was going on in our lives when they had no idea, it lost all meaning. Most of my bad memories from high school are fuelled by these bullies, now I look back on it and I know that those people did it as they were insecure. Insecurity is a dangerous game, it makes us act in truly disgusting ways, but I can’t help but feel sorry for those who bullied me as they never won.
There was a girl, I remember her name so vividly, but she never went to my school. She was a friend of someone who I was friends with, she was the first bully I almost lost to. I was young, I acted confident, but I would cry constantly, I didn’t have many friends especially not at school and I was really struggling with finding myself. This girl didn’t know me, but I was a threat to her, she was jealous of my friendship and she truly did act out of spite. If she remembers me, I’m sure her memories of me are just as negative as mine are of her. She was the first person who told me to kill myself. I was fourteen. That phrase ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’; that phrase is truly bullsh*t. Words almost ended my life and I know others where it did. I genuinely believe I would’ve preferred someone to throw a stick and a stone at me than everything I heard about myself.
Some people reading this will not realize how much their words impacted me. I heard every single joke about my surname, I heard every single joke about my forehead (it is large, got to give you that I guess), I heard every comment on how ugly I was, on how stupid I was, how I would never find someone, etc. I spent years hating myself, picking myself up on every small mistake I would make as I was scared it’d be noticed, and I would be made fun for it. I spent so many years wanting to disappear, I actually wrote my letters to my family and friends. I’m so grateful they never had to find them or read them.
I worked hard with my depression, I started finding my safe spaces and my happy places. I realised that swimming positively impacted me, I met so many great people through swimming and though I don’t speak to really any of them now I honestly don’t think I would’ve made it this far had it not been for them. So grateful. I started going to concerts, my parents will probably note this phase as the worst phase they watched me go through. I was ADDICTED to concerts, the thrill of it, the excitement, it was everything to me. My first concert was my favourite artist ever, Cody Simpson, I was 14 and it’s definitely in the top ten nights of my life. I had no worries, I was happy. After that all of my money went to gigs, my parents actually didn’t know where I was most the time though I’m sure they sort of knew I was lying about where I was. I made so many incredible friends, they really got me through the darkest stage.
I got made fun of a lot for being ‘obsessed’ with these singers that didn’t know who I was. I really didn’t care. That was my safe space, if it wasn’t for Cody Simpson, I never would’ve become a ‘fangirl’ and I don’t think I’d actually be around right now. The community I became a part of truly saved me, I thought I was a lost cause. I hope that one day I will finally meet Cody and though I’m sure my anxiety will stop me I will get the chance to tell him that he saved me. My depression was bad, but music was the only thing that kept me going, I was addicted to the serotonin I would get from music.
I first supposedly ‘recovered’ from depression when I was 13. I didn’t really care. I thought that was the end of the word; I was 15 when three of my friends (from different fanbases) took their lives. I spiralled and then came the second diagnosis. Then came the second bout of depression, around this time was the most suicidal I’ve ever been. I failed mocks and started acting up in school because I had given up with myself. I didn’t actually think I would make it to results day. I had given up with wanting the best for myself.
I was 17 when I got told I was ‘recovered’ again, I didn’t believe that it was true but with the diagnosis of my bipolar disorder it made sense that I always felt depressed even when I wasn’t diagnosed as depressed. The word ‘recovered’ lost its meaning. I was never going to recover from it, I could only hope that I would learn to live with it.
Sure enough, the depression came back. I was 19. I gave up fighting it, I let into it and let it eat me alive. I physically spoke out about how the re-diagnosis meant nothing because I didn’t have it in me to fight it again. So, I didn’t. I am still depressed; I will probably always be depressed. But I am also happy, I have made it so far. I’m sure I will get told I’m recovered again, and I am sure that I will celebrate despite knowing it’ll come back. Life isn’t about the fight though; it took me years to understand that. My life so far has been such a rocky journey, apart from the deaths in my life there is nothing that I would change. I never gave up, no matter what happened, no matter what life through at me I never gave up.
My depression journey is not simple. Sometimes it eats me, and I can’t do anything. I sit and watch Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine Nine or Miranda for the ten thousandth time; sometimes I can go weeks without a low point but other times I can’t go a day without it being low. I believe there’s a reason why I am still alive, there is something I am meant to do before I can die. I look forward to that, and maybe one day I can be free from my depression but if not then I’ll cope. I am not a depression story; I am a twenty-one-year-old graduate woman with so many amazing qualities. I am more than my depression and I know that.