Looking back, I believe that I had been living with depression for years before being diagnosed and properly treated. At 14 I was not well informed on this subject, and when I decided to do my own research I did not want to believe my symptoms were associated with a mental illness, so I ignored it for many, many years. My depression became part of my identity.
I was popular in high school and college and had many enjoyable memories. However, the good times were often followed by many dark, scary times. My friends and family assumed that constantly being tired, sad and moody was part of my personality – part of who I was. In reality, I had never felt less like myself.
After graduating college I ended an emotionally, and sometimes physically abusive relationship. Although it was over, the hurt still lingered and the memories weighed heavy on my mind. This was around the time I began a non-paid internship (it was difficult finding a job during this time) where I was expected to sometimes work 16-18 hours a day. I felt that life would always be like this, that I would always be taken advantage of in both my career and relationships. I needed to end the pain.
I attempted suicide unsuccessfully. Afterwards, I was sent to a hospital that gave me the opportunity to escape my pain in another way – through therapy, medication and the support of those who love me. It took a long while, but now I have never felt more like myself. I am not ashamed of what I have gone through and the fact that I am living with depression – in fact, I am proud of how far I have come and who I am. Looking forward, I see myself continuing to be the happy, strong, smart girl who was hiding in the dark for far too long.