When I was about fifteen years old, I was diagnosed with depression. This depression came from environmental sources; my stressful environment collectively consisted of my home, school, and local area.
Though I was nurtured in elementary school by incredible teachers and a warm environment, this drastically changed when I entered seventh grade. There was no middle school to attend. I was thrown from a small elementary school directly into a high school with thousands of people much older than me.
My grades quickly fell from straight A’s to C’s and D’s. These new teachers ignored me and turned me away. The students bullied me and isolated me. My past friends acted like they had never met me before. My best friend had gone to juvenile detention and quit school altogether. I was all alone in a frightening, new place.
I skipped many days of school due to the overwhelming anxiety and fear I experienced whenever I attended. I clearly remember one study hall in which I had a full-blown panic attack at my desk. No one seemed to notice or care that I literally felt like I was going to die.
My family would scream at me to get my grades back up. This did not help me to raise my test scores. I was not offered a tutor or any other resource. I was treated like a spoiled or stupid person, when I was suffering from terrible anxiety and stress. Eventually the depression became so great I would not leave my bed.
I was finally sent to therapy. It was meant to be as a punishment for going to a party in New York City with some teenagers I had met on the internet. Though I had only been looking for a brief escape from my life, this foolish event blew up in my face for years to come. I was told to feel humiliated for what I had done and also for needing therapy.
After a few sessions with a counselor and psychiatrist, I was given the diagnosis of depression. They tested my thyroid and ran a blood test. They determined that my depression was due to external, environmental sources. I would instantly feel better once I left the area I was living in. They told me I could move away or go on medication. I was unable to move away at the age of fifteen. I was prescribed medication for this condition. However, I never received the medication. I was pulled out of therapy permanently and left to my own devices.
It isn’t easy to treat your own depression. I mostly kept to myself. I used the internet, books, music, and food to calm me down. I became very emotionally attached to the family pets and concentrated on them when I could. I volunteered for a few organizations after school. I later got a job after school when I was old enough. All of these ideas posed as temporary distractions for me. I knew I needed to leave that area for good in order to fully heal my depression.
I saved up my money from my after school job and from selling thrift store clothing on eBay. A few days after high school, I moved out of my parents’ house with the money I had earned.
My depression lifted literally over night. I had never felt so happy, free, and relieved as I did the day I left that place. With this exhilaration and freedom, I was able to recover and heal from years of depression.