Reflection on depression: Caitlin Costa

A lot of people think they know my story. They think they know exactly what happened, where it happened, and who was involved. But really no one knows my entire story, and that’s because I’m not always willing to share it. I don’t want pity for what happened to me. I’m telling my story now for the people I might help—maybe even inspire.

Once upon a time, in a beautiful college town, there lived a girl who sat on her bed checking her social media accounts. One day out of nowhere, she stumbled across millions of disturbing comments. They ranged from comparing her body to a tin of lard to telling her to kill herself. The little girl closed her computer, turned off the lights, and cried herself to sleep that night. For the next week she decided to pay strict attention to everything she did. She skipped meals hoping to lose weight and made sure to be nice to everyone. She hoped that the comments would stop. When she got home and opened her computer, it was flooded with new queries. “Why didn’t you eat today? Ha, you’re anorexic now? Thank the Lord!” This would happen almost every day for two years.

Now I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t she delete the account? All of her friends begged her to. They kept saying that the comments were completely untrue, but the girl didn’t listen. She wanted to prove to the people on the other side of the screen that they did not hurt her and that they could not control her. But really she was just hurting herself.

After years of wearing chunky bracelets around her wrists and “forgetting” her lunch at home, it was now time for the girl to go to high school. When she entered she was blindsided by how difficult the transition would be. Already having her depression controlling her life, her anxiety also started to emerge, together drowning her in negativity. A teacher at the school began to bully her. This teacher was calling her worthless to her face, and embarrassing her in front of her peers. When her parents were notified by one of her friends about her problems, they decided to take action. She voluntarily went to a behavioral health facility to help with her depression and suicidal thoughts. It was in this facility where everything changed. When asked how bad her thoughts were, she picked a six out of ten. This six seemed to be too high for the doctors to allow, so they shipped her off to a boarding facility outside of her hometown. While she was there, she saw the most disturbing images: someone trying to strangle themselves with a sheet, a girl ripping her hair out because of “the voices,” her roommate mutilating her own body, and much more. On March 9, 2013, something just as disturbing happened to her: she was attacked. She was holding the door open for her roommate, while talking to the girl next door, when she heard her roommate fall to the ground after being kicked in the knee. As she turned around, she was met with a fist. She opened her eyes to see the hard tile floor move side to side as her head was repeatedly bashed against the floor. After her attackers were finally pulled off of her, she was contained in a room alone until morning. The next day, her parents picked her up, and she never saw that place again.

She is now on antidepressants and goes to therapy once a week. Her confidence began to rise and is now higher than she ever thought possible. She has found ways to love herself and, when needed, coping devices to help with the occasional negative thoughts. While she is now waiting to hear back from colleges, she knows that the future will bring her happiness. She is hopeful that one day she will be thoroughly content, and the dark cloud in her brain will have drifted away. She has realized how important it is to take care of yourself, and even more so to love yourself. Sometimes it has to get worse before it can get better. And trust me, right now, that girl is so much better.

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