When I was about 10 years old, I knew something felt different.
I felt very sad. There didn’t appear to be any particular reason why, I just did. I felt sluggish, did not sleep well most nights, and cried more often than not. Expressing these emotions was very difficult, as I was surrounded by family members who were not comfortable with them.
I knew something felt different. I just wasn’t sure what it was.
As I got older and the symptoms persisted, I decided to start looking into them myself. What I found as possible causes: Depression and anxiety.
Deciding that enough was enough, I spoke up. At this point in my life, I was living with my Dad. Expressing to him that I thought I had depression was not met with the warmest sentiments. Instead, I was met with, “You don’t have depression.” Or, “Why would you think that? That doesn’t make sense.”
Since I couldn’t talk to my family, I thought maybe I should talk to someone else. A professional. Yet again, I was met with negativity. “Why would you talk to someone you don’t know? You should always talk to us, your family.” I remember thinking how contradicting his words were. But no matter what they told me, I knew. I knew that I had depression.
There I was, a teenager, battling depression without any outlet. Battling depression without an understanding of where it stemmed from. I felt so alone. I did everything I could to keep my mind off of these feelings, but somehow they always popped back up.
No matter how hard I tried to contain everything in neat little boxes in the furthest corners of my mind, it was impossible. The boxes were frayed, ripping apart at the corners, about to explode because of everything I tried to cram into them.
I’m 23 years old now, and I still battle with depression and anxiety. Now that I am an adult and can make my own decisions, I recently made the decision to go to therapy. My first session was last Saturday, and I am looking forward to more. I also started a podcast as an outlet, called “HonestlyHaley,” where I share my story with anyone who would like to listen.
I’d also like to share with you statistics I found from The Huffington Post about depression, written by Lindsay Holmes, posted on 1/20/2015:
“350,000,000: The number of people globally who are affected by some form of depression.
11%: The percentage of adolescents who have a depressive disorder by the age of 18.
70%: The percentage by which women are more likely than men to experience depression in their lifetime.
16,000,000: The estimated number of U.S. adults who had at least one major depressive episode 2012. This made up approximately 6.9% of all adults in the country.
14%: The percentage of women from a 2013 postpartum depression study who had the disorder four to six weeks after giving birth.
30%: The number of college students who reported feeling depressed, which disrupted their ability to function in school.
$80,000,000,000: The estimated annual cost of depression in the U.S. due to lost productivity and health care.
$8,000,000: The number of ambulatory care visits from a 2010 CDC report where a major depressive disorder was the primary diagnosis.
50%: The percentage of Americans with major depression who don’t seek treatment for the mental illness.
10%: The estimated number of American adults age 65 and older who have a diagnosable depressive disorder.
10-20: The number of weeks psychotherapy treatments for depression usually lasts.”
It takes strength to seek treatment, and it takes a while to find that strength within ourselves. Especially if we have been trained to tuck our emotions away and not acknowledge them.
If you are reading this today and know that you are struggling with depression, I encourage you to talk to someone. Find your outlet. Know that you are not alone in your fight.
One of my favorite actors, Jared Padalecki, ran a Represent campaign benefiting TWLOHA (To Write Love on Her Arms) not too long ago. The slogan on his Represent merchandise is “Always Keep Fighting.” I hope you remember to do just that.
Author: Haley Asselstine
Assistant Editor: Leah Krol/Editor: Travis May
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