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How Talking Helped Save My Life After Depression

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm, suicidal thoughts or an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741 or “NEDA” to 741-741 for eating disorders. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here

My depression began with spontaneous spurts of crying. I cried on the bus on the way to school. I cried looking at pictures of my neighbor’s cat. I cried when I woke up and I cried before going to sleep. At a certain point in time, however, you run out of tears and your body reacts by damaging itself further, so I stopped eating. Food became the least important activity of the day. I ate for sustenance, and at times, water was all I needed to keep going. Until I looked in the mirror and saw the outline of my ribcage poking out, my cheekbones contouring my otherwise chubby face, my legs so thin and weak and unable to carry the weight of what was left of me.

When I no longer enjoyed food, I decided to take things a step further. I was no longer content with crying and lack of food and needed something physical to override the mental battle I was enduring. I came up with the theory that when the emotional pain becomes too much, one should occupy themselves with the physical pain. And then I believed this theory. And then I lived by it. A self-harm tool became my best friend.

I was covered in band-aids, and then when time passed by, I ended up with clear scars on several parts of my body. I had lost complete control of myself. I did not recognize myself anymore. I was never taught about mental illness, and I was far too ashamed to seek help. To admit you have depression is to validate its existence. I refused to believe I was sick, and I refused to let anyone in. I bottled up all the negative feelings that rendered me a mess of a person.

A few months went by and my depression became a part of me. I went about my life, thin as a feather; careless as a whisper. Waking up in the morning was the start of a new battle I could not avoid. My life was going. I continued to suppress the pain by keeping it inside, and it seemed to work. Until the most feared, yet awaited, day came. The day I decided to end it all. The day where everything became nothing. The day I became nothing. The day the pain became too much to handle and I decided I never wanted to see another sunrise.

I could see a reflection of myself, attempting to end the life I was given. I had no purpose. I did not belong. And atop the feeling of emptiness, I knew I no longer needed to exist. I started to imagine my life 15 years ago, but I couldn’t remember anything of it, and I thought death would be exactly like that: a permanent feeling of nothingness. I grabbed my weapon with committed hands, ready to let everything go in spite of the protests inside my head. I saw my reflection crying, screaming, wanting to be gone.

But I couldn’t do it.

I woke up the next day, trying to remember the events that occurred before I blacked-out. My eyes were puffy and my hair a mess. I felt so weak, yet so empowered. I put on my clothes and went to school. I ran into the arms of my best friends, and I bawled my eyes out, trying to recall the disgust I felt and the pain I endured. One minute I was crying with my head buried in my hands, the next, I was in the waiting room of the counselor’s office. I still remember the feeling of fear that consumed me. I had never told anyone of my depression and what it caused me to do. I wasn’t ready to show that side of me to anyone, but I was frozen still in my seat, waiting for my name to be called out.

I never knew what a therapist’s job was, but I know that when I was sat in that well-lit office, venting out all of the trapped feelings inside of me, I felt a sense of relief like never before. My body was sweating and my eyes crying, endlessly. I can safely admit I felt good for the first time in years. I never understood the impeccable impact of human connection. The moment I opened up to another person, I felt a heavy weight lifted off my chest, freeing my caged soul from all the darkness I endured for far too long. I felt free for the first time, and it wasn’t until that moment I realized I just want to be free.

I was taught to create an outlet for my anger and sadness, and so I did. I picked up my pen and I found the old, dusty, empty notebook I was gifted on my doomed 18th birthday, and I began to tell my story. I never wanted people to know what I went through, but I knew I may have some helpful advice for those who feel trapped. I too felt alone and without purpose, like the world was a piece of paper crumbling up around me. But I persisted. And I lived.

Talk to your parents; talk to your friends; talk to the countless amount of counselors available to you. When you feel like drowning and unable to breathe, there is always a way out, and it will be worth it in the end when you look back at the turmoil that took place and see yourself as the wounded hero who overcame one of the hardest obstacles imaginable. Mental illness is, truly, the silent killer, but we mustn’t let it determine the course of our lives. I do not regret what happened to me; I only regret not seeking help as soon as I could have.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Getty Images photo via Rawpixel

Originally published: December 5, 2017
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