"Floating, just keep floating"
That is what I tell myself when I feel like I'm being pushed down and drowning in water and that is how I describe depression to others. Prior to my experience with depression, I had a friend pass away of suicide. Her name was Amber, she committed suicide when I was in the 8th grade. I remember hearing of her passing while taking choir pictures. When I was told what happened, I didn't believe it. I had seen her a couple of days prior and she appeared to be happy. That is when I learned a harsh lesson. Anyone can smile, but smiles can hide so much hurt and pain people never know about. I still think about what she would be doing with her life if she had not committed suicide. I think about what could have happened if people heard her cries for help when she needed someone. I often wonder if I saw her cries for help, but just did not notice.
Fast forward to now: I was diagnosed with depression a few years ago. I ended up telling my family and friends in 2015, because in November 2014 I wanted to end my life. I remember sitting in my living room crying. I was at my wits end. I had been crying out for help for the longest, but felt like no one really heard me.
That night, I remember praying and talking with God, because I did not know the cause of my depression. I did not know why I would want to harm myself in that manner. I had so many emotions circling through my head. My determination to keep afloat was replaced with waves of problems drowning me. I remember a friend calling me. She came over, because everyone was worried about me. She stayed with me that whole night because I was afraid of what could happen if I was alone. That night I asked God for peace and told myself that I shall have peace. Until that moment, I have never wanted to fall asleep so badly. I just kept repeating it over and over again.
“I will have peace. I will have peace”
Almost 2 years later, I have a better grip on my depression and life. Typically, I can tell when I am reaching my limit. I have learned to identify when I need to stop and focus on myself. On those days, I stop take a couple of days to relax and be alone.Becoming more vocal about how I feel and my mental health journey has helped me out a lot. I still struggle, however, I am making progress everyday. I think back to a couple of years ago. Mentally, I was in such a dark place. It all felt cloudy and desolate. Ultimately, the stigma of seeking help for my depression placed me there. I told myself I don't ever want to be in that spot again. I don't ever want to feel like that again.
After my experience, I made a promise to myself that I would help younger girls who felt like they didn't have anyone to confide in. Today, I do everything in my power to be a positive influence to those younger than me and help make sure that they have a strong support system.
I want the chains and stigmas of mental illness to be broken. So that a proper dialogue can take place in our communities.
SHANA, 25, MUNCIE, IN
cover photo credit: tumblr.com