TRIGGER WARNING: THIS CONTENT MENTIONS SUICIDALITY
Dr. So and So : Mrs. W, how long have you felt these symptoms of depression?
Me : Every since I can remember.
According to the most sought after medical expert, WebMD, depression can have a slew of symptoms including but not limited to:
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Additionally, it is said that you have to have one or more of symptoms for 2 weeks or more for it to be classified as a type depression.
Dr. So and so: So you’re telling me that you’ve dealt with feelings of depression for your whole life as long as you can remember?
Kids can’t process their emotions on their own, and I was no different. I was hit with a minor trauma which I will go into later, and the results sent me into a downward spiral of childhood depression. It manifested most painfully in excruciating stomach aches that would start mid-afternoon and last until I fell asleep. I was also very weepy at school, lacked energy to play with my friends, and felt like I was just a burden to be around. No one knew much about childhood depression at that time, so I was given a strong set of antacids when the stomach issues became so bad that I was shaking in my dad’s bed as the reflux bubbled up into my throat.
Moving on a few years, I hit puberty earlier than anyone else I knew and started middle school at a new school where I knew one person a few months later.
Not only was I more physically developed than any other girl in my 6th grade class, I was also the outcast because I was new. Everyone had their “clique,” (read:squad if you’re a young millennial) and I was so uncomfortable in my own skin and awkwardly stuck out like a sore thumb. At least this is how I saw it.
Making friends was not easy, and I was just learning the finesse of sarcasm which I felt gave me an edge. (Sorry, Ma!) The classwork was boring and hard for me to concentrate on (depressive symptom #1). I grew more and more irritable with my family by the day (depressive symptom #2). I was sure that no one liked me or cared that I was there, not even my evil homeroom teacher (who really was a minion of Satan) (depressive symptom #3) And lastly I became unusually fascinated with death and pain (WARNING: depressive symptom #4)
I heard of the term “cutting” while watching Mtv (The TV channel that used to play music videos). I learned a bit about it on one of their segments, and it appealed to me. I felt like I was just bad. I couldn’t get anything right. No one wanted to be my friend. My parents were always mad at me because I was getting bad grades. I had no one to turn to. So I used cut my hands and arms as an outward way to express my inner anguish. I felt like I deserved to be punished for not measuring up, and could breathe a little easier when I was done.
This behavior morphed into thoughts of how I didn’t want to live anymore. How could I kill myself? Would anyone even notice if I was gone? Fortunately, the accessible internet was still young, and I didn’t use it regularly to research anything, so I had a very limited knowledge on how one would kill themselves. Still, the thought raged angrily in my head for months until I was given some relief when summer break came.
I was 11.
The last sentence rocks me to my core because at the time, I felt like I was so mature and so grown in dealing with such heaviness. Now that I take a look back, my chest tightens because I w a s a c h i l d. I didn’t see myself that way then, but I now sob because I see myself from completely different eyes.
Dr. So and so: Sounds like you’ve had a difficult time with this. Let me prescribe you three different medications you can’t pronounce and one that is highly addictive and easy to abuse, but I’ll only give you 30 of those so you’ll be fine. Take those when you feel a panic attack coming on. I would also recommend counseling in addition to sleeping 8 hours a night, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and exercising 8 days a week.
Me: Okie doke! Sounds like a swell plan!
Being a depressed kid is hard because your brain isn’t developed enough to know how to form words and sentences to express the wretched emotions and processes your body is dealing with. If you have a kid or are around a kid that exhibits any or all of these symptoms, do something about it. If a kid can get help while they are young, it can help reduce the chance that they’ll turn out like me and have to deal with it their entire life. The information and education wasn’t available when I was young, so I don’t blame anyone for not recognizing it in me. However, there is plenty on the subject now, and you can help save a kid’s life by acting on it.
Tonight’s post was a little heavy as I took it way back, but I appreciate you sticking it out with me. I hope that you come back tomorrow with your fuzzy blanket, cup of hot tea, and comfy jammies. The content will be hard at times, but there will be some sunshine here and there to make the journey sweeter.
If you are anyone you know are struggling with suicidal thoughts, PLEASE reach out to a professional for some help. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a great resource. You can call them at 1-800-273-8255.