So when did it all begin? Well I was a fussy baby and very sensitive from the start. I had severe separation anxiety, so much that my mom quit her job and started working at my daycare center. I was so sensitive that my mom had to literally drag me to first grade sometimes because I thought my teacher was mean. If I didn’t get my way I would throw tantrums, like the time I threw my best friend’s jelly shoes at her because she wouldn’t let me wear them. I was a moody little shit sometimes and always a little anxious, but nothing to be overly concerned with. I didn’t say much because I was super shy and still am somewhat to this day. It is easier for me to type my thoughts and feelings than it is to talk about them.
My first major depressive episode started my senior year in high school as my parents were getting divorced. It hit me like a ton of bricks and by the end of my senior year my dad was living over four hours away and I wasn’t speaking to my mother. It felt like I lost my family overnight. Then I tried to go to college near my dad, but I hated being so far away from my friends and boyfriend. I felt completely alone on campus. I cried my eyes out when my boyfriend and dad left me there. I only lasted a week. I went back to my hometown and stayed at my boyfriend’s parents’ for a few months. I still struggled even though I was back home. My boyfriend worked a lot so on the weekends I would spend hours in bed watching tv. I stopped hanging out with my friends and often found myself crying for no reason. When I would visit my dad, I would stay up late by myself crying because it felt so strange not having my family together. Holidays were the worst. I dreaded them. The first year out of high school was painful, but I never thought about seeing a doctor. I never thought that there was something wrong with me, but clearly there was.
I struggled with my self esteem in college. I went on birth control which gave me some small broken capillaries on my legs which I thought was the end of the world. I obsessed about them constantly. I would hide my legs, wearing long pants even in the summer. I was convinced I was ugly, stupid, and worthless. I never spoke up in class for fear of what others would think. I was so distracted with my negative self talk that I had a hard time focusing on school work. I still got decent grades, but I am sure I could have done better if I wasn’t dealing with such nonsense in my head. I had a difficult time picking a major because I was convinced that I was too stupid to do anything. I settled ironically on Psychology because I was interested in it and the bachelors of arts didn’t require much math or science. Even though I studied mental health, for some reason it didn’t click that I was mentally ill. I did very well in my classes and I knew all of the signs or symptoms, but it never occurred to me that I needed help.
It all came to a head as graduation approached. I had to figure what I was going to do to make a living. Since I felt like I was an idiot, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I interviewed for jobs in my field and was offered one to work in a group home for children with emotional and behavioral problems, but I turned it down because I didn’t feel like I was emotionally equipped to handle it. The stress of looking for a job took it’s toll on me. My immune system was affected and I ended up at the doctor twice in one month with swollen glands. The doctor thought I might have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma which of course made me freak out even more. It ended up being a virus that caused me to breakout with canker sores in my mouth and throat. It was extremely painful I could hardly eat for days. My anxiety was at an all time high and I ended up seeing my doctor about it. She asked me if I had typical symptoms of anxiety and depression and I think I said yes to every single one on the list. I was crying hysterically. I did not want to admit that there was something wrong. At this point I was very good at pretending everything was fine. I was a great actress. I had been clinically depressed for five years and I don’t think anyone around me knew. I didn’t want to admit it to myself and for some reason I felt like I would be letting my dad down. My doctor prescribed an antidepressant and I started feeling better a couple weeks later. It kicked in when I went to Florida to visit my mom and stepdad. I was like turning on a light switch. Oh, this is what life is supposed to me like! It made me realize just how sick I was. I felt like a kid again. Every experience felt like it was happening for the first time. I was in love with life and for the first time truly happy. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was probably experiencing a little euphoric mania induced by the antidepressant.