When depression sneaks in

Published 3:52 pm Friday, July 24, 2020

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Many of us have been struggling lately, and I am no different. Between the racial tension, the Coronavirus and a series of personal issues, I have found myself battling with depression.

I thought I beat depression several years ago, and when I moved to Bainbridge to take this job, I fully believed that chapter of my life had closed and I was looking at it in my rearview mirror.

Unfortunately, the depression has set in again and unlike last time, it has grown stronger, while maybe I have grown weaker to its grip.

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I was first diagnosed with depression as a freshman in high school.

My grandmother had just passed away, and while most of my family had accepted the fact that life without Grandma Judy was the new normal; I couldn’t. I did not understand why God took away a woman who was like me in so many ways and understood me in ways that often others didn’t.

I was struggling to maintain lasting friendships in school, and while I think that was a trend for girls my age; it appeared I was the one pulling back.

My parents noticed all this and took me to the doctor, who then diagnosed me with dysthymia.

Mental illness is not openly discussed in my family. In fact, my dad still to this day does not believe in it. He believes the doctor just didn’t want me to think I was crazy for my feelings.

I say that to say, it’s been an uphill battle.

I was not put on any medication, I chose to journal.

You could often find me late at night, curled up in my bed with my lamp on, furiously scribbling down notes about the day, words that were said to me, etc. This worked for me at that age, but would not work forever.

My time in college was a roller coaster of emotions. But, the emotions really became a problem the end of my freshman year, when I had a panic attack. We were practicing door songs for my sorority, and all these girls were bearing down on my back. I suddenly remembered, standing in that door as an incoming student and just panicked. I remembered every mistake I made during recruitment, how I dressed, my conversations and just started crying and panting.

I went home and attributed it to exhaustion. It quickly became apparent it wasn’t exhaustion, when I flew to see my roommate in Texas and had a panic attack in the airport.

I couldn’t find my way out of the parking deck; they were reconstructing it and most entrances were blocked off. I started sweating through my clothes and crying when I couldn’t find my way out. I sat down on my suitcase by the entrance and flagged down cars to ask if they knew the way out. Eventually, a security guard came and got me. He must’ve seen me on video.

I knew I needed help. My doctor put me on a medication, and since then I have been better or so I thought.

When Coronavirus reared its ugly self, I found myself drowning in change. Things were changing at my apartment, changes were happening in my daily schedule, changes were happening with my relationships, and I felt overwhelmed and a little lonely.

As with my previous stories, that’s when I started becoming emotional to insignificant things. Everything became extremely personal, and felt like an attack on my character, my thoughts, my self-image and me.

I sought help this time. I bravely admitted to my parents that this was happening again and I needed to talk to someone.

My dad didn’t understand it, but I found someone to talk to, and with their help I have realized that I am worthy of a great life, that is full of joy and happiness.

I am battling self-defeating thoughts every day, but I know that even in this darkness there has to be some light at the end of this tunnel. This can’t be all in vain.

If you like me, struggle with seeing the good and feel panicked and desperate at times. Please don’t be ashamed and please know that you’re not alone and there is always someone to talk to.