Back in my freshman year, I was the new kid, again. It had been a week and I knew nobody within 300 miles of me. First day of school, I’m all by myself, as per usual, but this time it feels different. It feels wrong. But hey, it’s probably just first day nerves so I leave it alone.
“You’ll get over it. It’s just new kid jitters. You’ll make friends.”
Now a month in, I still don’t have any friends because I haven’t spoken a word outside of class. It gets harder and harder to do things because I always feel so tired and sad. I’m not in any clubs, I never hang out with anyone, I just go to school and come home.
“They don’t know what they’re missing out on. Don’t be afraid to go up to people. You’ll have friends in no time.”
Two months in, I miss a week of school because I felt so bad, I couldn’t even get out of bed. I don’t move for the whole week. By the time I do get up, I’m so weak because I’ve eaten little to nothing and was severely dehydrated.
My first words: “Mom. Dad. I need help.”
A week later, I’m diagnosed with Atypical Depression. This means I can have days that are completely normal, and then have days where emotions and even movement are unfathomable. I have no warning of when it’s going to be a bad day, so I live in fear of going numb.
“It’ll be ok sweetie. We’ll get through this.”
A month later, I’m on antidepressants. They’re helping. I talk to people. I hang out with people at lunch. I even went on a couple of dates. I still fear my bad days, so it’s not perfect, but it’s better.
Three years later, you can barely tell I have depression. I’ll have days where I’m a bit down, and on weekends I don’t do much outside of the house, but I have friends. I have a social life. I’m participating outside of school. I seem happy.
Most people don’t see the everyday struggle, but it’s always there. I usually win and can go about my day as normal. There are days when I can’t, but I get through it. There was a girl at my school who talked about her own struggles with mental health and hearing her talk about it so openly gave me the courage to share my story. Now my friends know and they help me. They check up on me and help bring me out of my head if I’m having a rough day. Being open about it and being able to hear that other people struggle with depression too really does helps.
Don’t be afraid to talk about what you’re dealing with, and always know that there are people who care and will help. Enjoy your life and don’t hold yourself back. Never be afraid to ask for help. You are smart, brave, beautiful, kind, and you are the best you. Don’t let anything bring you down.