Depression: fighting to regain myself

When I first began to self-harm, it was last fall. I was slowly falling apart, piece by piece. I was in a dark place. The pain I felt was unbearable, and I didn’t know who to go to or what to do. So I began cutting.

The depression and self-harming didn’t start out of the blue. I struggled with depression on and off for many years, however, not like when I started cutting.

At first, the cutting was minor, but after a month or so, I started doing it more often—almost every few days—and the cuts got worse.

Eventually, I knew I couldn’t continue doing what I was doing to myself. I told a friend first and then went to my coach. He helped me tell my parents who provided me with the support and the resources I needed to fight my internal battle.

The thing people don’t realize about those who struggle with depression and self-harm is that it is not a choice. Depression overtakes the mind and often times you lose control of yourself. The depression drives you to do things that you wouldn’t normally do, like cutting.

There were times when I would look in the  mirror with my tear-streaked face and puffy eyes and wonder, “Who is this girl?” I didn’t recognize myself. There were nights when I would lay in bed and plead with God to make the pain stop. At times, I felt almost suicidal, thinking that I couldn’t handle the suffering anymore. I wanted an out, but even though I was broken, I knew suicide was not the answer. I knew that I had so much to experience and that suicide would be a selfish, easy way out.

I was constantly trying to fight off the dark cloud that would consume me. There were days—and there are still days—when I lose that battle, and I let the depression eat away at me. Those are the days when I did and still do rely on my support network.

I have a number of people who I trust enough to see me in a state that would send many running. However, there have been a few people who couldn’t handle what I was going through and left me to self-destruct. I’m not angry with them. I understand that they aren’t prepared to handle some of the things I struggle with. I just wish I hadn’t lost them as friends.  I would give anything to have them back in my life—just as friends—not even close ones.

My journey to recovery has been a long one and is not over. It may take me years to finally be free of the pain and sadness. I know that there will be times when I relapse and I will  have to rely on those around me to pull me back up.

While I never want to go back to those dark months when the cutting was at its worse, I was blessed to have met some of the best people in my life today.

The biggest door I opened that  led me to some amazing people was back in January on a very special night: New Year’s Eve and, a few hours later, my birthday.

There had been an incident a few days before my birthday that had caused me a lot of grief and hurt. Despite the fact that I was surrounded my friends on New Year’s Eve to celebrate, I couldn’t shake my negative feelings. At 3 a.m., I was curled up in my bed, alone, bawling my eyes out. This is when I made one of the best decisions of my life.

I scrolled through my contacts and sent a text to a senior girl who I had been sort of friends with during cross country season. She responded immediately and came to my house and sat with me in her car in my driveway while I told her the whole story and cried. She hugged me and talked me through it. A few weeks later, she recommended I go talk to the soccer coach, someone she trusted very much. This inevitably changed my life.

The first time I talked to him, I realized that he had advice beyond his years and would do whatever he could to help me through. I began working out with him on a daily basis and just that support of knowing he would be around if I needed something helped me. Through him I was introduced to other students with whom I’ve developed friendships with.

Becoming involved with him turned things around for me. Since I started spending time with him and the other students who do stuff with him, I’ve started getting better. I’ve made vast improvements in just a few short months. I’m no longer as lonely as I once was when I have a bad day. I’ve become more outgoing and more comfortable with myself. I’ve learned that no matter how hard I think my life is, there is always someone who has it worse than me.

I still sink into a depressed state from time to time, and I still see a therapist on a pretty regular basis. However, I’m stronger than I used to be. I know how to get through the stress, the darkness, and the pain no matter how unbearable it may seem.

I’m not writing this post to get attention. No, my intentions are the complete opposite.

Recently, I have noticed and become acquainted with other students who are going through some of the same stuff I went through. It makes me sad to see them fighting with no support. It makes me realize  how lucky I am to have parents who care and can afford to pay for treatment and people to hold me up when I can’t support myself.

I’m writing this post for the kids who will never speak up for themselves. I am speaking up for them. No one should have to go through what I did alone.

No one talks about these issues because many people feel uncomfortable doing so. I want to break that barrier. It’s time to talk about this stuff.

I hope that through writing about my own experiences, I can instill the courage in someone else to ask for help or to advocate for someone else who is going through a rough spot.

Lastly, I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way. You saved me.

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