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I’ve gotten at least ten emails this month from people who want to write for Mental Health Monday about depression.
I’m so happy they choose Uninspired as their platform, but it’s also a sobering reminder that depression runs deep in my audience. It makes sense though. My readers are generally women in their twenties (sorry if you don’t fall in that category, I’m so happy you’re here, too!) and they’ve got a lot going on. There’s a ton of pressure that comes along with building your independence, and feeling like you’re not where you want to be is certainly depressing.
As a matter of fact, I started this blog when I was feeling down about my place in life. I’m in the middle of building my independence myself, and I felt like I was wasting my entire life just building for tomorrow. It was like a dream where you’re running down a long hallway but you never get closer to the end. So, I decided to start living more passionately, and urging you to do so as well.
Long story short, I don’t think I’ll ever say no to someone who wants to write a story about depression on Uninspired. Every story is different because every person is different, and yet tons of people can always relate. It amazes me every time.
Enough of my talking though– we’re here to talk about Courtney, who is also known as Unfiltered Mama. On her blog, she talks about the struggles of motherhood, and advocates for mental health issues. Her guest post today, as you might’ve guessed, is about her struggle with depression and self-harm when she was in her teens. It’s extremely emotional, but it has a happy ending, don’t worry!
I Beat Depression.
“When I was introduced to cutting, a whole new side of me was born. I had finally found something to take over my inner demon. All the stress capturing my body was being replaced by pain that I deserved. Each cut, every drop of blood, was a thought being released by my crazy mind. I was addicted to the sensation it brought me and I wanted more. I didn’t realize how badly of a turn my life had just taken, but I was okay with it. This lifestyle was made for me… and it instantly won me over.
What the hell was going on with me? One minute I was playing manhunt with my friends around the complex, and then suddenly I turned into a couch potato who wanted nothing to do with breathing. There were many times I found myself face down in my pillow, praying that I would doze off and never wake up. The music I played described a slow, yet peaceful, death. All of which sounded like a fairy tale. My heart beat stuttered in anticipation, waiting and waiting for the day to end. But then I remembered how essential it was to end the night with that relieving pain. I usually made sure no one was awake to avoid any disturbances. I sat in front of my body mirror and watched myself draw a line with the piece of glass I saved for special occasions.
When I saw the dark red color appear, I looked away so I could finish the job.
It wasn’t like me to be squeamish in situations like this one, but I wasn’t always fully prepared for the worst to happen. When I thought about ending my life, it seemed ideal and it was easy to come up with a way for it to come true. But knowing that I was the one in control made reality set in and I hesitated numerous times. It was a battle within myself that needed to be tamed. I was suffering from depression.
There was no way around it- depression had taken its course. I didn’t know why or how long I’d have to deal with this, nor what to expect. But my world flipped from bright yellow daisies into mood swings and rain. My friends turned their backs on me, and I felt like the last person stranded on the side of the road. My hand signaled for help, but no one felt the need to respond. “It’s just a phase,” they said. They were blind to the dark route headed my way… full speed. Right when they thought I’d grow out of it, I was hit head-on with anxieties and a strong wave of depressing thoughts and cravings. I felt like there was no way out from here. Either I’d survive this burst of sadness or I’d fall for the temptation. The question was, which one would I choose?
When my family didn’t know where else to turn, they decided that seeing a therapist would be the best way out.
I sat in agony every time I was forced to speak to this woman who wanted to know every detail of my day. Her perfectly brushed, blonde hair was fixed behind her ears so it didn’t fall in her face. Her clothes were always up to date with the latest fashion, jewelry and all. Instead of paying attention to her advice and techniques, I judged every little thing I could find wrong with her. I was too ashamed to admit that I was the one who needed fixing. Yet every Thursday, that chair waited for me to rest my body in, and I longed for the usual conversation starter. “What has you depressed today? Are you feeling the urge to harm yourself?”
As I continued to see a therapist, it dawned on me that I couldn’t exactly find a reason why I wanted to hurt myself. I dug deeper into my soul to pick apart why I deserved such pain. Here’s the kicker… I didn’t. I was a teenage girl, a normal high school student who had a fairly large group of friends. The support system I had was beyond this world. So why did I feel the need to release all waves of anger upon myself? Jessica, my therapist, helped me realize that no pain was worth scarring my innocent body. She pointed me toward the light and gave me a little push, in hopes that I would eventually no longer need her guidance. I didn’t ever believe I would make it without her but I surprised myself, along with a lot of other people who always stood near my side.
Jessica taught me ways to cope with the depression that tortured me daily.
When I felt the need to self-harm, she told me to put an ice cube against my skin. The cold water replaced the need for the glass meeting my arm. I had to hold the ice there until it ached. That’s the feeling I craved, wasn’t it? I used this technique every night until I stopped feeling the urges. Along with the ice, I wrote a poem or story in support of what I was feeling at that moment. Sometimes this method worked better than speaking out loud. I’ve written thousands of pieces to express my deepest emotions. I could be as gory as I needed, without fear of judgment. I was me again… it was a long time coming.
My shell slowly opened and allowed me to blossom all over again. My arms displayed scars that couldn’t be erased, but I wasn’t ashamed. I was proud, and still am, to say that I went through a rough patch. One that put me into a realm of suicidal thoughts and actions that almost fell through. But without my scars, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t be able to help those in need of reassurance that everything will be okay. I can tell you, by experience, that you will stumble and you will fall. But once you get back up, you’ll be secure enough to take care of your every need. Don’t allow others to push you into places that you’re not ready to face. When you’re ready, you’ll know it. You, and only you know what’s best for yourself. Are you ready to fight this battle?
Depression didn’t beat me… I beat depression. I’ll say that until red in the face. I am a survivor and I am proud.
You can be, too.”