Stopping the Stigma

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Lauren A, 27

Years Battling: 15

Posted November 09, 2018

"I feel compelled to share my story because, although I don't believe it's unique, I don't see many other stories on here that sound like mine. I first remember having depressing thoughts around age 12. I would fantasize about my death and write stories with that theme, always sure to destroy them when I was done. I knew it was something to be ashamed of and would get into trouble if discovered. This was the start of me repressing my emotions. Growing up I always struggled with why I felt justified to have these thoughts. I had a great childhood. I had a loving family, many friends, played sports, and did well in school. I had no reason to be depressed. What kept me moving forward was the dream of what I was going to be when I was an adult. I had high functioning depression, but never came to that realization until much later. Freshman year of college was when my several years worth of emotions came crashing down on me. I was completely overwhelmed on my own. During the day I was like any other college student and by night I was texting my high school best friend about how much I wanted to die. I would lay awake every night for hours with obsessive thoughts until I eventually cried myself to sleep. I never made plans to kill myself. I did however hope something or someone would do it for me. I've learned this is just as toxic. I wished for horrible things to happen. Accidents and illness were always on my mind. On the weekends parties were a staple and the alcohol always amplified my depression. I would occasionally cut so I had a reason to feel pain. This cycled over and over until finally my best friend couldn't take it any longer and texted her mom. Her mom then showed up at my parents' house and told them everything. My parents came up with a way to get me some help. They sent my older sister on a 3 hour drive to pick me up. I didn't know anything was going on until my sister texted me that she was on campus and she wanted to see me. My friend texted me how sorry she was. I cannot begin to explain the pit in my stomach.They knew I wouldn't come with them if I had any idea of what was going to happen. That night was a blur. I agreed to go to the ER in the morning. All I felt was a profound sense of embarrassment. I remember sitting in the inpatient unit, crying, saying, "I'm not as crazy as these people." I knew nothing at 19. I was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety. It didn't take too long to get on the right doses of medication, including medicine for hypothyroidism that was discovered while in the hospital. I was able to go back to college after a few weeks, but came home every weekend for therapy. Anxiety attacks, depression, and how to deal with them were now a significant part of my life. Fast forward to now, I still have struggles but not nearly as encompassing as they once were. I'm still searching for my true purpose and I still feel insignificant the majority of the time. Many of my friends and coworkers don't know my story. I still feel the embarrassment and have a desire to keep it private. Writing this submission is a big step for me. Including ways to identify myself like my name and picture are terrifying but necessary steps. I hope this connects with someone and helps to end the stigma. To anyone reading this, keep fighting and stay strong. Thank you for reading my story."