Maddie, Mill Valley
I have had major depression since I was in about 7th grade. I didn’t know how to talk about it. I felt guilty about it and I was afraid if I said anything about it then I was going to get people worried and they’re going to think I was just trying to do things for attention. But then I got to a point where I needed help so I talked to my parents about it and they were understanding. They got me help and through that and medications I am able to function now, whereas if none of that had happened, I can’t say for sure if I would even be alive today.
Something that people don’t realize is that it doesn’t just go away as soon as you start taking medication. You can still have bad days and it still affects your daily life, but that doesn’t excuse me from having to function as a person. I had to figure out a way to manage it. I’ll be like, ‘It doesn’t matter at all right now, but it will matter to me in the morning. It will matter to me when I get a bad grade so I need to sit down and do my homework.’ I have to get out of bed and go to school. It’s not that I want to cut everyone out of my life, it’s just that I can’t find any motivation to connect with anybody and it takes so much energy to do anything besides just get out of bed and go where I have to. It’s just tough.
Most people go to social media to talk about those things because that’s the only outlet they have, cause the people around them don’t understand and don’t listen. I don’t blame people for not understanding or not knowing how to talk about it. How could they? No one talks about it. Depressed isn’t just ‘I’m sad.’ Anxiety isn’t just ‘I’m a little stressed out.’ It’s a lot more real and a lot more harsh than that. But people don’t really understand that because the only way they’ve really seen it portrayed is in the media. If people were to talk about it and share things about it, it would help get rid of some of the misconceptions and stereotypes.
It may be scary for you as a parent and it may hurt you a lot to find out that your child is going through that, especially if you didn’t realize it. You’ll have those feelings of how did I not notice this? But do your best to not present that part to your child because chances are, they already feel guilty enough. They already feel like a burden. We constantly see ourselves and our mental illness as a burden to other people that they shouldn’t have to hear about or deal with. So when you’re a parent with a kid who has a mental illness, don’t make them feel like they are responsible for something that’s out of their control.
There are #ZeroReasonsWhy you have to go through it alone.