Depression. The word is still almost taboo, no matter how far we have come. People will pretend to understand what you’re going through, but they don’t. They don’t actually try, they assume that it’s the same as a bad day, or a bad mood. It isn’t.
Hormones, laziness, lack of exercise and sun, or plain lying. Those are all things that my depression has been attributed as. I don’t think I could ever stress it enough, but the days that I don’t want to leave the house, or do anything for that matter, it isn’t because I need exercise. It isn’t because I’m lazy. It’s because I don’t see a point in doing anything. Except of course, asking myself pointless questions, such as “Why get up?” “What is the point?” “What will my life even amount to?”
As you could imagine, that doesn’t get you anywhere, so I’ve tried multitudes of things to try and get myself out of those bouts. Drawing, painting, writing stories, getting into new TV shows, photography, music, and poetry are some of the non-destructive ones. But when I was 12, I discovered self harm.
It’s not what you expect it to be. Most people see it as ridiculous, just a tool for attention, but that’s never what it was. It was a tool for control. Control over your own emotions. Control over what happens to you, and what you’re thinking of; what you’re focusing on. At around age 13-14, it was all I could do to make the emotions go away, or find one thing to focus on besides drama and heartbreak. It was the lowest point in my life so far.
My mother finding out was probably one of the worst and best things I’ve gone through. My mom was depressed when she was a teenager, but she never resorted to harming herself. It was a different time. She was shocked, upset, and confused in a way, but she was also very understanding about it. We talked for hours, starting from how I had been feeling to just day to day life. That was a turning point for me. After all of the times I had believed that no one cared, I realized that at least one person did, and that was enough for me.
My parents put me into an art class, and I discovered that I was fairly good at charcoaling. It was what I needed. Art was an outlet for my pent up emotions; for the things I wanted to say but didn’t. It was a way to let it out. The scratch of a pencil against paper, the formation of your thoughts coming to life right in front of you, the ability to erase the mistakes; there’s just something about it that has an effect that nothing else ever had for me.
I eventually left art class, but my main outlet never left, it became poetry. Poetry was, and is, even better, especially for a mind like mine. There is so much room and so much imagination in the human language. There is a way for you to express any emotion you want, and that is through the power of words. A power, almost captivating, that everyone holds within themselves.
My love of words is what led me to begin to love myself and my capabilities. You never quite know who you are until you learn to love yourself as you would someone else. Only then will you find yourself. I’m not there yet, but it a concept that I will continue to chase, and that is the purpose of my life.
“Oh, but watch, sugar.
My tears will evaporate into stars.
They will shine brighter than ever, and you will see that the pain that you caused me can be turned into something beautiful.
And I will grow, until I reach those very same stars.”
WORDS AND PHOTOS by Daniele O’Keefe