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The Two Lives I Led as a Person With Depression

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I am just a young girl with mental illness… how weird or unusual is that? I don’t think it’s either, but the outside world often sees me as a monster. I am not a “monster” or “crazy” or anything else you want to call me. I am just a girl like you. The only difference is I am battling with mental illness. A few years ago I was officially diagnosed with major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To be totally honest, it is really hard for me to tell you that. It’s hard for me to talk about it, but if this will help even just one person then I’m willing to.

For a long time I’ve felt like I have been living two different lives. There is the life everyone sees and the life only I see. In one life everyone sees me as a friend, a sister, a daughter, a student. If you ask any of them they will tell you I am a happy sociable person full of motivation, someone who wouldn’t miss any party and was a member of so many societies. That’s the life they see. If you ask me who I am, who I really am, I would tell you I’m someone who struggles intensely with depression. I have had depression for the last eight years of my life and it continues and gets worse every day.

For a long time I was two different people, and one person was afraid of the other. I was afraid people would see me for who I am, that I wasn’t the perfect popular kid everyone wanted to hang out with. Behind my smile were struggles and behind my light was dark and behind my big personality was even more pain. I feared myself, and worried there was only one “way out,” and I feared that every single day. That’s the struggle. Depression is something I live with. It’s the voice I can’t keep out of my mind, the feelings I can’t ignore, and the scariest part is after awhile it can become normal for me. And what I fear more than the pain inside of me is the stigma inside of others, the shame, the embarrassment, the disapproval. That’s what kept me from getting the help I needed all those years.

Eventually I realized I had to actually do something and help myself. I started talking to my friends and family about what I was going through, and most importantly I searched for professional help. Of course it wasn’t easy, but I would say it was easier than just going through hell alone. I was so scared they would judge me and make me feel like it was my fault, but I was so happy to realize this wasn’t the case. They were all really understanding and wanted to help me in every way they could. I felt a huge relief. I don’t have to hide who I really am anymore and I know I have people I can turn to when I need to.

It’s really important you know this is not your fault and there are a lot of people out there who love and care for you and really want to help you. I care for you, even if I don’t know you. Trust me I do. If you are going through any type of mental illness in silence, talk to someone. I am sure there is someone you can turn to, even if you don’t feel there is. I am here for you, and I would like to help you. But remember, to let people help you, you need to be willing to be helped.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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Thinkstock image by La_Corivo

Originally published: November 23, 2016
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