Although depression is often portrayed as vast and looming, my experience consisted of a number of small defeats. Missing homework assignments, crashing computers, and tense family dinners all added up to one big disaster. While each individual moment may not seem so bad by itself, when every day consists of eight to ten crushing blows, it adds up quickly. Contrary to popular belief, depression does not always manifest itself with any rhyme or reason. It chooses to show up one day in one’s mind and then never really leaves.
The variability of my mental state made me very hesitant to seek help. Showing up at the doctor’s office only to say “I’m sad sometimes and I don’t know why,” didn’t really feel right. So I sat and let bad feelings stew and bubble inside me. At first, suicidal thoughts were few and far between. As the months progressed, however, the idea of ending my own life was ever-present, and the matter soon moved from if to when in my mind. Then, it became only an issue of how. I spent countless hours researching and planning, looking for painless yet effective ways to achieve death. Although I desperately sought it, the prospect of a painful exit into an infinite void didn’t exactly sound pleasant. Just as an artist seeks inspiration from a mentor, I was inspired by another famous suicide. As I listened to my friends discuss the death of Robin Williams, I wondered if my own would prompt the same saddened response. If he could do it, so could I, right? However, news reports make suicide seem easy. The real thing isn’t so simple. Real lives can’t be erased with a single keystroke. I had come so far but couldn’t quite complete the deed. I was never really into commitment, and death is probably the biggest commitment of them all. As the days went by after my attempt, something finally snapped and I realized I had never really been interested in dying.
A poor math grade I received at the end of the first marking period landed me, after a quick breakdown and a brief stint in the emergency room, in the office of a psychiatrist, where I was quickly prescribed an SSRI, an antidepressant. With the help of 15 milligrams of Lexapro and a little bit of willpower, my mental state began to improve. My recovery came slowly but steadily, and eventually I was more or less back to my old self.
Given the opportunity, I wouldn’t repeat the last two years. My withdrawn, sullen behavior lost me quite a few friends, my grades suffered, and I won’t get into as good of a school as I should come this December. However, all that is a small price to pay for being alive and relatively well. I’ve been confused for much of my high school career. I’ve been finding joy in small things now, and I’m a lot less withdrawn. The contrast between me last year and this year is huge, which is a great feeling. Although the last two years have been long and confusing, one thing is certain: when being happy is hard, the happy moments are all that much better.