I want to do something a little bit different today. I want to give you an inside look at how my depression has not only impacted my life, but how it also impacted the lives of those who love me the most.
Depression isn’t something that’s easy to cope with, and while we often focus on the internal struggles that are associated with depression, we often forget about the impact that it can have on those around us.
I had the idea of doing a “Question and Answer” series where I sit down with some of the people closest to me such as my parents, my sisters, and some of my closest friends. It’s easy for me to sit here and describe my depression through my perspective, but I am only a piece of the puzzle. I think it would also be beneficial to see how others viewed my depression from the outside looking in.
Talking About My Depression With My Mom
Q. When did you first know that I was struggling with depression?
A. I would say the first time was during your freshman year of college, but when I look back and see the signs, I would say in highschool when you would spend so much time in your room playing video games instead of socializing. You would say that you were playing against your friends, so part of me thought that was normal and just being teenage boyish. But in looking back, knowing what I know now, I would say highschool.
Q. What are some of the signs that you saw?
A. Sociability, or lack there of, keeping to yourself, not being outgoing, no excitement, no spark. But when it really got noticeable because of being closer to home, was during your sophomore year of college when you transferred schools to be closer to home.
Q. From somebody who only has so much control, what was the hardest part about seeing me struggle?
A. When you transferred closer to home. Nothing made you smile, nothing made you happy. You were in a total fog – almost as if you were stoned all of the time. Every time we came to see you and left, it was a total fog. When we would leave, there were even a few times where you cried. It was like the culmination of it all. Between the fainting, the glassed over eyes, and void of any desire, it was like you were far away from reality.
Q. What was one thing you wish you could have instilled inside of me that would have maybe helped me to cope with my depression before it became as severe as it was?
A. Confidence. I don’t know how parents instill confidence, but if I could have read a book to figure it out, I would have. The more that you grew, the less confident you were. I mean, as a little kid, you didn’t lack any confidence. But as everyone started to grow, your confidence just began to go down.
Take prom for example. Most people are excited about prom, but for some reason, you just weren’t willing to take a chance on that. I don’t know if you ever knew what confidence was, but as a kid, you just didn’t hold anything back. Nothing stopped you from anything, but something happened that started to make you pull away.
Q. What do you think has helped me the most in battling with my depression?
A. Medication. I don’t think that you would have been able to heal had you not have gotten your brain rewired. You needed somehow to rewire your brain, and medication was the key – it was the only key, and after your sister went through her struggles before you, I knew that.
Me: That makes sense because when I started taking meds, I ended up transferring schools again, and while I still had my fair share of struggles, that’s really when I finally began to enjoy college.
Q. What is the one thing you think I still struggle with the most?
A. Habits. You have habits that you get into that you cannot break, and even if it’s unhealthy, you still have a difficult time breaking them.
Me: I definitely thought you were going to say food.
My mom: That’s part of the habit, though. You got into the habit of counting food, you got into the habit of blogging every day, and no matter how tired you are, you will never allow yourself to miss a day. It doesn’t matter if they are good or bad, you get into habits that you can’t break out of.
Q: Was there ever a time where you lost hope or ever feared for my life?
A: Yeah. Once and I turned around. I never feared for your life up until that one day. There was something weird in the air that caused me to turn around. I knew you were sad and you were going through shit, but I just knew how much you loved your family and didn’t think that it was something that you would ever do up until that one time.
Q: How am I today compared to where I was when I first started writing every day? Like one of my other lows points in life?
I think that you have learned a lot. With the books that you have read and the introspection, I think it has helped. But I think it has also hindered you. I think with writing, there are other parts of your life that have suffered. Like you want to do all of these other things, but you won’t give up writing, even if it’s just for a day. But I think your reading has really helped. You have gotten some good advice from the books that you have read, but part of me still feels as if you’re still hanging on too tight to your blogging.
You have gone out and started having fun with friends again and you have started taking risks, which is good. You still need to be coaxed, but because of your reading, you have slowly but surely started to make progress.
Q. What would you like other mothers out there to know who may be in a similar situation now that you were in with my depression?
A. That the minute you see something that starts to become consistent, immediately do something about it. Don’t be scared of medications. If something becomes a habit that is not normal, get doctors help right away. Don’t fear the stigmatism around medication. Even if your kid gets put on medication, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
As a mom, your kid isn’t going to really come out and admit exactly what they’re going through. You need to add up all of the little things and kind of solve that puzzle in your mind. Once one thing starts to change and it becomes a habit, it’s just going to lead to other habits in life.
Like with you, you just withdrew from friends, from socializing, from everything. As a mom, I saw that and had we not have forced you to go to a doctor, you would never have gone. You didn’t have the experience of a life-lived and wouldn’t have been able to put your feelings into words had we not have forced you to seek help.
First of all, I want to thank my mom. Not just for taking the time to answer my questions, but also for never giving up on me and for always being there for me. It can’t be easy to relive and talk about her son’s darkest days, so I just want to say thank you to her.
Secondly, depression isn’t something that should ever be taken lightly. No matter how severe we may believe it to be, it’s important to seek help and to learn to cope with it before it’s too late. One life lost due to depression is one too many. We need to come together as one and put an end to an illness that has taken far too many lives.
If you or somebody you know is going through depression, seek help immediately. You can visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-8255.