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Depression

Makenzie Weber
United Township High School
East Moline, IL

From a young age I had a strong, unreasonable force of sadness within me. I did not have many friends in school, and there were problems at home, but that did not explain the severity of my thoughts and feelings. I would constantly think about why I was alive, and why I hated the person I was. It was normal to me. It was normal to feel like every day was a battle to live, and I was completely alone in that battle.

My mother decided to transfer me to a different school because she thought it would make me happier. Luckily, it helped. It was a completely different atmosphere. Everyone was welcoming and I soon made two friends who would be there to help me throughout middle school. I was my happiest self, and finally I knew what it was like to have friends, which helped me love my school life.

Although my school life was now filled with positivity, I was still struggling with myself at home. Every night I still had those lingering insecurities and bad days.

From being with my friends and observing their emotions, I realized they were not like me. That was the first time I fully acknowledged I was different and I started to think why that was. Depression and anxiety are mental health issues within my family, but was rarely talked about, especially at my middle school age. I didn't completely understand it, but it was the only logical explanation for why I was the way I was.

I tried to find ways to cope with it to be like my friends. At that age, my way of dealing with it was to ignore it. This helped as much as ignoring anything helps. It was fine until it was really brought to my attention. I didn't know what to do, and I decided to go to my mother. She suggested therapy and medication. I was initially against medication. I thought it was the worst thing to do! I thought it made you weak, changed who you were, and only gave you artificial happiness. So, we tried therapy and I did not like it. I wasn't a person who liked opening up to people. It was nice to talk to someone, but I did not see much progress from just my therapy sessions.

Over the next couple of years my mother would bring up visiting a psychologist. I said no every time. I was too stubborn to realize I couldn't deal with it on my own. So, I struggled with the constant insecurities, the worrying, and the sadness.

I thought I was doing pretty well, but one day I wasn't. Depression can be like a constant boulder on your chest. Sometimes you do not realize depression's toll until it's too late. My seventh grade year, my depression progressed. I stopped doing things I loved, I stopped caring about school and I became less sociable. All I wanted to do was sit in my room and stare at a wall, and a lot of times I would do just that. My grades dropped as the number of missing assignments started to skyrocket.

I started writing to cope with my struggles, and one of my teachers told me I was good at it. I started caring about writing, and it snapped me back to reality.

I started to see the negative changes within myself, and I decided it was time to think about getting help. I talked to my mother once more and she immediately made me an appointment. Unsure of the outcome, I gathered all of the courage within me and went to the psychologist. She was a nice, bubbly, woman. The first thing she did was give me a "paper test" to measure the severity of my depression and anxiety. I scored a nine for depression and an 11 for anxiety. I finally had to deal with the fact that I had severe depression and anxiety.

Something I did not know about was testing genetics to figure out the right medicine for me. After going through a list of medications, we talked for a while and found the first medicine I would try. Since then I have been on four or five different medications, but now I have found the medication that works for me.

It has been about two years now, and I've changed a lot in that time. I've been learning to love myself, I started writing stories, writing for Love GIRLS Magazine, earned amazing grades, and became a support system for people who are struggling with depression.

I do not regret my decision to start using medication. It has helped me grow into the person I am today. Medication does not give you artificial happiness, it does not change who you are, and it does not make you weak. It helps you to be the best version of yourself. One thing to know, however, is that medication is not a cure all and is not for everyone.

If you are going through depression seek help from parents and then a professional.