Depression is a very scary and real thing. I’ve dealt with it since I was a child; mostly because all of the abuse that happened to me at home. Unfortunately, my mother struggled with addiction to methamphetamine and it put me through a lot. Luckily my father was able to clean himself up and in many ways he rescued me.
Growing up, I had no recollection of how my mother’s addiction impacted me. I was such an angry and frustrated kid. I still remember that day when I was seven; I asked my dad “why is she not here? Why doesn’t she want me?” and my dad, being completely open and honest, sat me down and explained everything the best that he could. It was hard to hear what he had to say and it broke my heart. I know what you might be thinking, “7? You’re too young to be depressed.” This is part of the reason why I’m sharing my story. I want to help more people understand that depression is a mental illness and it can impact someone at any age.
It’s hard to share with you, but for much of my life I felt hopeless. I just didn’t care much about anything. When I was 14, I became addicted to prescription medications, started drinking, and started cutting myself. Why? I didn’t want to exist, I wanted to escape, and I felt like my life was spinning out of control.
Do you understand how hard it is to this day to have to look my friends and family knowing that I have lied to them? Little do they know that I constantly hid behind this mask and made people believe that everything was alright. Hiding didn’t make anything better thought. Then I met Rise Together when they came to my school in 2016. This is when I was still living in Minong, Wisconsin. They touched my heart and convinced me to let go of the things that were dragging me down and encouraged me to never give up.
Then it happened. October 31st, 2016 my life took an unexpected turn. My father and step-mother separated. My little brother went to Arizona with my now previous step-mother and my father and I had to move back to Des Moines, Iowa. To make things worse, I felt like it was my fault. All these negative thoughts and feelings started to flood my brain. 2017 was just a total shitshow.
I tried to not let the depression get to me. Early in the year, I somewhat pulled it off for the most part. Then I started crying every night. That turned into wanting to run away. Then that turned into thinking about suicide every night. I got put on medications, talked to therapists, and felt like I was doing everything. I think the pills made me even more depressed; it even triggered my old addictive behaviors. The pills made me feel like a mindless zombie; emotionless. Before you know it, I stopped going to the therapy; I stopped everything.
Then October rolled around and that was my breaking point. I stopped going to school, I skipped work, and fought with family and friends; even the ones that tried to help me. I would lie in bed all day and go out all night. This is when I started drinking heavily. There wasn’t a night that would go by that I wasn’t drunk. I started cutting myself, burning myself, and just stopped caring. It had felt like my life just didn’t matter and I was letting everyone down.
On December 23rd, 2017, I planned to kill myself. I just wanted to fade away. So I caught a bus and went down to the train tracks that were still being used by the freight trains that were shipping things all throughout the state. I laid on the cold steel tracks and just waited for the next train to come and hit me. It was then, almost out of nowhere, that I started thinking of Rise Together and their message of HOPE.
I also started to think about how destroyed my little 8 year brother would be if he got that call saying that I killed myself. I could hear his voice, saying “Please get up, you can do it, fight for me”. These two thoughts became lifesaving messages. They both encouraged me to get back up again.
It was then that I got back on my feet. I just ran, and ran, and ran till I got home. I cried myself to sleep that night. I kept fighting through and eventually I found the support that I needed. I also found someone that understood what I was going through. We both share and listen to each other’s struggles. This helps us both to be stronger and reminds us that we are not the only ones who are going through a hard time. The love that we share is so powerful and while I still struggle with depression, I am learning how to let it go more often. No longer do I let it consume me.
For those reading this story, I want you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Find something to live for, something you can believe in; something you can fight for. Don’t worry about the judgment, the rumors, what others will say, and don’t let people put you down or try to hurt you. Surround yourself with people that can support you, that can love you, and accept you for who you are.
Rise Together, thank you So SO much for everything you do, and thank you for letting me tell my story and struggle with Depression. I’ll always be happy to support this wonderful organization.
Never give up,