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Dealing with Depression
Kristen, 16

Depression is something everyone deals with at one point or another. Every teenager has a point where they second think things and wonder if they're really worth while. It's hard enough to deal with being a teen but being depressed is even harder. The way my family was brought up, no one showed emotions... well... we showed them, but not the good ones. Love was never and still isn't a big time thing. I can't remember the last time me and my parents told each other we loved each other. And now it's hitting me harder than ever because my parents are deciding that after 28 years of marriage, they no longer want to be together. But that wasn't the main source of my depression. Or maybe it was. Never being told you're loved can really do a number on your self esteem. So, every teenager goes through it I'm told. Fine. But if everyone goes through it, why did mine last so long.

For the past five years I've been depressed. It's no picnic. I never said anything to any adult because I thought they would be ashamed that their own daughter had something wrong with her. I would go through days, where I would just wake up and feel horrible for no reason. Like someone had killed my best friend. Like I was dead inside. That is the worst way to live. It wasn't always like that, but from my sixth grade on, depression was always something I was battling. I was always a very... defensive person. I always was ready to take someone on. To tell them off.. to hurt them before they could hurt me. Because of that I lost a lot of friends, which only further pressed me into depression. There are days that I wake up and cry, for no reason. Days I feel fine, and then days I just don't know how I'm going to carry on with my life. Thank goodness at that point God had taken a big step in my life and he was there. Especially when my friends, the few who were left, weren't there for me.

Talking to God is like reasoning with yourself when you know the right answer...you just need someone else to tell you it. He's been my strength for the past 5 years. He's helped me along. But with God on my side, I had the answers, I just wasn't using them. I kept going, thinking " God is with me, I can make it. He'll keep me strong, he'll make it disappear." Wrong. If I wanted it to be better, I had to see the signs he was giving me. And I didn't. I continued high school as a wreck. Losing so many people who would have been so much help. I turned cold towards a lot of people, and became known as a cold and heartless person. But I had God...why did I still hurt? Yea... well... just having God and not listening to what he's telling you is like being in a classroom and having a teacher spell everything out for you... and just not listening. It's a guaranteed failure.

Well, finally, two weeks ago I finally had the courage to go to my doctor and tell him what was going on. It was hard. Especially with my mom in the room. I had to tell him how I've wanted to end my life. How I've tried over dosing on pills numerous times, and how I saw no meaning to life. My mom... had this look on her face, as if someone had just slapped her. She didn't want to hear it. She didn't want to understand it. My doctor wants me to go see a psychiatrist. They have an MD... little different from a psychologist. I didn't think I wanted to. I had enough trouble telling a man who I've known for 16 years about this...how was I to tell a complete stranger? Well, I went. With my Dad this time. My mom wanted nothing to do with this "project". That hurt more than anything else. Not having your mom there for you when you needed her most. But my Dad understood me. So off we went.

As it turns out, I'm a manic depressive. And I'm getting counseling I should have gotten 5 years ago. And it's hard. And I still have bad days. But they're getting better with the grace of God. Manic depressive, for those who don't understand what it means... is like being fine one minute...and crying the next for no reason. Just losing it. Having a great day and the next it horrible. Thinking about death all the time. Thinking life isn't worth it. Thinking no one would be at your funeral a lot. About suicide. What your suicide note would say...or whether or not to leave one. Would you go to heaven? Or not? Being down all the time. And you can't get back up, no matter what. Not getting as much fun out of things you used to love doing. Yea. There's a lot of things it is... and a lot of levels of depression.

Every teen goes through it. But... 1 out of every 5 is clinically depressed. And out of 16 million who are clinically depressed... only 100,000 go for help. If God wasn't there with me, showing me the way, though it took time; who knows where I would be right now. Depression is hard, but asking for help and guidance from God, and someone you trust is the first step. And until you take that step, it's like jumping into a hole you know you can't get out of.