Although I have already written my story about my walk with depression, I feel as though I would like to share it again. After all , have grown a lot as a person and have a better, more full idea of my struggle and how I am able to conquer it. So here goes!
Almost six (six?!) years ago was when depression decided to walk into my life. I had previously lived in Abbotsford for eight years, but found out I was moving away from the comfortable, easy life I lived. For whatever reason (I still haven’t figured it out) it really got to me. Maybe change isn’t something I embrace. Maybe I don’t like the foundation under me to shake. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. However, I do know that the moment my dad uttered “we’re moving,” it changed my life.
When we moved here it was July. It was boiling hot (Kamloops is a dry, dry desert) and despite the sweltering heat I remember feeling chilled to the bone. I realize now that my depression was beginning to sink in. It really hit me the moment we walked into my new house. I knew that no matter what I could do, we were living here and the chances were slim to none that my life would be the same as it was previous. Clearly embracing change is not my forte.
Then school happened. I started grade six at a new school and from the moment it started I knew that culture shock was a likely thing to occur. Firstly, I clearly was not used to the “public school system,” as I had religiously (pun definitely intended) attended a Christian private school. The thing that really shook me and pushed me deeper into my depression was how I was treated. I was constantly told that I was wrong, that everything I believe is stupid and that I myself must be even more dense to actually believe it. I was labelled a fag, a failure, an idiot, and a horrible person. Although at the time I didn’t see it, I was horrifically and brutally bullied every single day for two years. And as a thirteen year-old, my emotions and hormones made my depression worse.
It felt like everything in my life was falling apart and no matter how hard I tried to keep composure, I fell apart more and more.
To combat this and also to not show weakness (as society arduously states men should not do), I began to plaster on different facades for each group of people I spent time with. Eventually I lost all sense of myself, and that was my darkest time.
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This lasted for about two more years, until I was sitting in my sister’s car, at rock bottom, just talking. I hadn’t let my family know about my depression for four years. And holding up that much hurt, bitterness and rage brought me to a point where I felt I wanted to just die and end it at that. Of course I never told my sister that, instead I ‘lightened’ how I was feeling, not explaining the full extent of my struggles; but at least I had finally begun sharing something. And that was the beginning of change − this time for the better.
And sitting in that car, my sister uttered five words that pierced my heart and changed my life forever: “don’t let this define you.” It was that night that I made it my vendetta to follow her words, no matter how hard I had to fight for it. And so I did.
And so I am here now.
If I let my depression define me, I let it defeat me.
And for four years, it did just that. But no matter what situation you are in, it doesn’t have to be like that. You can choose to not let your depression or circumstances define you. And once you do that, you are libero; you are free.
I’m not saying that it was an easy process either, but it sure as hell was worth it.
Now I know that “Depression” is not a label that is stamped on my head.
Instead, it is a disease that I can learn from. And in that I find peace. And I thank God every day for that.
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