The #OurStory series is my attempt at sharing the stories of others, of showcasing different perspectives and viewpoints. I named it 'Our Story' because I believe we have more in common than separates us, that we're all here trying to figure it out, that if we spent more time looking through others' eyes we could see a whole lot more. These are people's stories, but this is also my story. This is your story. This is our story, as a whole. --Robert
I was in the last semester of my senior year of college when I told myself I was worthless. It was the first time in my life that self-harm sounded comforting instead of scary. I picked up the phone and called my mom.
“I can’t do this anymore.”
“Any of this, Mom. I can’t do it.”
I had given up; I had thrown in the metaphorical towel. I let depression tell me I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t loved, I didn’t matter.
I reached out to my mom and she told me I was more than worthless: I was priceless. I was more than unlovable: I was unconditionally loved. I was more than weak and undeserving: I was strong.
I can’t pinpoint when depression and anxiety began for me. I guess you could say it runs in my family. I started taking Zoloft in 4th grade for anxiety. Thunderstorms were my kryptonite. Dark clouds and a chance of rain threw me into a panic. Seriously, I couldn’t leave the house if there was a gray cloud in the sky. I missed school, I missed friend’s birthdays, I missed the little things.
I met with doctors, and upwards of four counselors. After two years, I eventually felt strong enough to get off of my meds and use the relaxation exercises I had learned. Clenching and unclenching my muscles, closing my eyes and imagining something else, deep breaths and blaring loud music.
Things were great (as great as things can be when you’re in middle school) until 8th grade when my mom had a routine colonoscopy and doctors found a cancerous polyp. They said if she had waited any longer, it could have been terminal. She went through chemo and radiation, my family and I were terrified. I reached out to friends for support and instead received ridicule. “Your mom’s cancer isn’t that bad, it’s not like she’s losing her hair.” I was devastated.
I hated going to school, I hated coming home. I hated myself.
High school and a strong circle of friends drew me back to happiness. By my senior year, I was headed to a liberal arts university to study English.
My three and a half years at college were some of the best years of my life. I joined a sorority, loved my major, had a serious boyfriend, and was doing well in classes.
But, there was a hitch. I had to stay an extra semester, I wouldn’t graduate on time. My friends left me behind, moved on to big cities and corporate jobs. I felt stuck in a relationship that felt more and more like a friendship.
I got stuck in my own head. The idea of not being good enough, that I would fail after graduation, that no one liked being around me, that my friends were living better lives than I was, that I was awkward, that no one understood me, that I was a failure.
I remember walking home from class, crying for no reason, thinking 'it’s really not worth it anymore.' For the first time, self-harm sounded appealing. I thought maybe it could offer me some release.
Instead, out of sheer fear and realization at what I was about to do, I called my mom. My best friend. The next day I was sitting in my university’s counseling office taking a survey that confirmed what I already knew. I had “major depression.”
I got help. I talked to a school psychiatrist who got me back on Zoloft, who talked me through my dark thoughts, who told me it was OKAY to feel lost and alone. I wasn’t alone in those feelings. If anything, it was so common and so consistent that I was far from being alone.
No one has it all figured out. It’s okay to need help and it’s okay to ask for it.
I am at my happiest. I am still dealing with depression and anxiety, and I will always be dealing with it. It’s just the way it is. But every day I remind myself that there is no shame in it.
You are worthy. You are not alone.
Interested in sharing your story? Find more details here. I'd love to hear from you!
Other entires in the #OurStory series can be found here.
Stories are posted with minimal editing for grammar or structure, not content. To change what someone else wants to say to fit a narrative I want would be to betray the underlying belief behind the project.