First off, let me just say hello to this new world I have plunged myself into. In writing, I hope to flicker a light inside of you that will allow you to take this journey with me in finding a way out of the darkness. I would like to welcome you to my teenage brain.
Depression is a Bitch
Depression is a bitch. This disorder feeds on grabbing you by the ankles and knocking you on your ass. It thrives on your sadness and pain. It survives on the taste of your tears. And I allowed it to.
I was always a happy girl. My family would joke that I was “the bitchy one” (they weren’t wrong), but anyone who didn’t live inside the same four walls would describe me as “the happy one.” God, were they ever wrong. No one – for a long time – knew that I was struggling. No one knew that I was crazy.
I Used To Call Myself Crazy
Crazy. I use that word when describing myself in this situation – a lot. People often quickly respond with “You’re not crazy,” as if I were saying it in hopes that they would feel sorry for me, when in fact I use it as a way to find humour in my struggle.
I found myself crying often. More than the average person. More than what felt normal to me. At first it was something I could hide. I’d cry into a towel in the bathroom or underneath the steaming hot water as I took my morning shower. I’d cry myself to sleep with my head buried deep into my pillow or during the 5 minute walk to my grade 7 junior high school. There was no reason for these tears, which made me cry even more. For the first time in my life, I felt crazy.
I Swear, My Mom Had Mind-Reading Powers
I vividly remember the first time I broke down in front of my mom. She often questioned me about my mood. Mom somehow knew everything. It was as if she could feel what I was feeling. She could sense my madness. I guess it’s a mom thing, but I swear my mom has secret mind-reading powers.
I couldn’t seem to catch my breath and I couldn’t explain what I was feeling or why I was crying, but somehow, she just got it. She understood my sadness when I couldn’t even understand it myself. That was when she told me about this “thing” she had: depression and anxiety disorder. I had no idea what these words meant at the time, but for some reason, this all made sense to her because she began to cry too.
It’s Okay Not To Be Okay
This was a big day in my journey to overcoming depression and anxiety disorder. Simply because I admitted to what I was feeling. The words “No, I’m not okay” left a sting in my throat as they rolled off my tongue, but I suddenly didn’t feel so heavy in my chest anymore. My dad also always knew what to say, and in that moment, he said something that has been tattooed into my brain ever since and is now in permanent ink on my skin:
“It’s okay not to be okay.”
I wasn’t doing this alone.
The first step on this road to recovery is building your support system. It’s important to talk. Open up. Admit to your feelings. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and don’t be afraid to let others in. Please, don’t struggle in silence.
And always remember,
It’s okay not to be okay.
Reproduced with permission, originally published here