Friday, August 15, 2014

My Story: Depression at 14.

When I was 14, someone whom I thought was one of my best friends, told me that I should commit suicide. He told me that I wouldn't be missed and the world would be a better place without me in it.

It wasn't the way he told me or even the reason; nor was it the stern, vicious look in his eye as he glared at me across the lunch bench. What got me, was that he put the thought into my head. A thought that I had never even blinked at, thought of because I didn't accept that people can actually do something like that. I had lived in denial that just the year before 2 kids from our high school had commit suicide. One was our age. And the thought of someone taking their own life terrified me. That was until this so-called friend of mine put it in my head that it could be an option in my life. 

You see, at 14, the world is full of color. 14 year olds don't see the world for what it is but rather a huge pool of adventure and unknown. We are, so we think, invincible. I was 14 and I had just began high school, I had great friends, and I had just landed my first ever solo in choir. (This was a big deal, obviously). I had friends from every walk of life, some from great homes and some from broken, abusive homes. I had friends whom loved God and I had friends that were experimenting with drugs to escape their realities. But then, there was little ol' Me. I had been through more things in my life then kids my age. 4 open heart surgeries before the age of six. I was set out to be an outcast from the beginning, but luckily for me I was outgoing, social, and I chose to see the good in the world. I thought things were great. I loved my friends. I loved my high schools atmosphere. I felt safe. It didn't occur to me that not everyone felt the same way I did. Some people were scared, hated high school, didn't have the best of friends, and didn't like themselves.

Depression was never a factor in my life. I had anxiety and I was, what my mom called me, a worry-wart. But someone whom battled with depression? Never. I would get my feelings hurt, I would cry, and be down for a day or two. But depression was never on my mind. But, when you're 14 and someone tells you nobody would miss you if you're gone..it hits you like a semi-truck. The days , months following I wore black, I didn't take care of myself, my hair was always in a messy pony tale, makeup wasn't an option, and I didn't smile. And for anyone whom knows me, they know something is wrong when I'm not smiling. I'm always smiling, laughing, and being energetic. I barely spoke to anyone, I would cry myself to sleep, and I would sit in my room every night on the floor just looking at myself in the mirror. I would ask myself things like, "What do I have to offer the world?" "Would I be missed?" "Is this all my life is going to be? One big lame mess?" and I would tell myself I wasn't worth it. Because lets face it, nobody would ever fall in love with a girl whom has a huge scar down her chest and around her back. Nobody. And then I realized, Depression was real. Depression had taken over my life and had become a pill that I knew I would never be able to swallow. I was never going to shake it. Depression, Anxiety, Worrying. They consumed my life. But I would never admit it.

And then one day, my best friend brought me a gift basket. Yes, a gift basket. Home-made with some of my favorite candies and a card written from her to me. She told me that she missed my smile, my laughter, and the way I would dance around campus like a crazy person. She missed the best friend she had since she was 5 years old. She told me that I was worth it, that I had so much to offer the world and people who truly love me can see that in me. As I read this, I cried. I bawled. And I squeezed onto the girl who just pulled me out of my darkest of days. That night, I went home and looked at myself in the mirror and promised myself that I would no longer let the hurtful, negative words and thoughts of others bring me down. I was worth it. I survived heart disease and I was a fighter. Depression, Anxiety, Fear. They may always be factors in my life but they would never control me. And I vowed to always be an advocate, a helper, to those whom don't think they can voice their fears and dark thoughts; even their opinions. Even if it was just giving them a "random acts of kindness" gift basket and a card. I'm not saying a gift basket is the answer to stopping depression or suicide, but for me, it was a start, to know that someone was there and they wanted me here. I'm very lucky that I had someone in my life, who picked up on my sadness and who I knew I could run to, because I know that not everyone has that option or feels like that have that option. 

Depression is real. It's personal and it's scary. Depression is never the same, it comes in different forms to different people. Some know how to deal with their depression and sadly, some aren't sure how to not get consumed in their battle. I think the quote, "Be kind to everyone, you never know what battles they are fighting" is fitting for my life. I've always tried to be kind and even in moments of anger I don't spit out harsh words towards others. I know the battles I have dealt with in my life and continue to fight with in my life. I am 24 years old and I'm still battling with anxiety, depression, and worrying. But, I also know that my life is GREAT. and the reason my life is great is because I AM GREAT. My Husband, whom fell in love with a girl with huge scars down her chest and around her side, brings light into my world every single moment of every single day. My family is the most perfect, loving people in the world. My Friends are incredible. and I will always have God on my side. I have found a way to not let my depression and anxiety bring me down. I am not afraid to live in a crazy world. And it breaks my heart that there are people who are afraid to live in a crazy world and don't know how to break loose from the illness that pulls them down.

As a Blogger, I understand the backlash that we get when someone doesn't agree with a post we write. I know this very well due to the blog I had for 6 years, prior to this one, I opened my heart and wrote freely about my opinions and my feelings. And there was backlash, people telling me that the words I say affect people, poorly. But I knew that wasn't true, I knew that my words had opened their wounds that they so badly wanted to keep closed so they didn't have to face their demons. And that's okay. I understand what it's like to want to keep the demons away and the skeletons hidden in the back of the closet. But, I also know, that talking about what we are going through is therapeutic for us and it may help someone else, without us even knowing it. Depression, Anxiety, Sucicidal Thoughts - they are real. And although I haven't been in that dark place since I was 14, doesn't mean that it never happened and it doesn't make it any less real in my life. It just means that I overcame, I was one of the lucky ones. And I'm not ashamed to admit that. I'm not ashamed to share my story that only 3 people know about, but now, all of you know about. And that's okay.

You are Beautiful. You are not weird, emo, dramatic, seeking attention, stupid, or an outcast. You are Human. Don't be afraid to let the world know it. Someone, I promise you, will be there for you. You will change someones life, Maybe you already have. But you HAVE to keep your head up and keep moving forward onto those better days.

IN MEMORY OF ROBIN WILLIAMS
Thank You for a life time of laughter.

2 comments:

  1. Ashlee, this is incredibly brave, poignant, and inspiring. Thank you for posting this, and I hope you keep writing.

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  2. Thank you, Torry for your kind words on here and my Facebook!! I truly hope this post does inspire people, no matter where they are in life!!

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