If you’re one of the people who can glean everything a post is going to say from the title, you probably don’t need to read any more of this.
The first time I thought I was clinically depressed was probably in 8th grade. I had just moved from living with my abusive mother in with my dad. Of course, before that point if I had been periodically sad or upset, in my mind it was a side effect of the abuse. I went through an ’emo’ phase and would fairly regularly cut or burn myself from 7th grade until some time in 9th.
It was definitely in 8th grade that I started waking up every single night at around 3 a.m., unable to fall back to sleep. I was plagued with nightmares. I ate less. At the time, I was dealing with a lot of boyfriend drama and friend drama (somewhat related to one another). For the most part, I figured I was feeling emotional because of those things. When my emotional problems continued without catalyst, I started to look up my symptoms.
Some time I learned that my dad and his mother had been diagnosed with depression, which, for both of them, culminated at around age 22. My symptoms were similar to theirs, and I understand these problems can be hereditary. I briefly saw a therapist, until I decided that I didn’t know where it was going and felt guilty for making my dad pay for me to have cry sessions to a stranger. After a while, I stopped feeling so bad and forgot about it. I was better able to focus on school and started having a desire to do extra-curricular activities, which I dropped for the entirety of my 8th grade year.
I’ve had these bouts of depression symptoms periodically since then. Usually I attribute them to things like problems with friends, fights with my boyfriend, loneliness, feeling regret over abandoning people and places, increasing gender dysphoria. It’s possible that I’m perfectly able to handle these situations emotionally and that these periods of depression cause me to be overwhelmed by them.
This one started probably in February/early March. I noted to myself after a while that I was feeling “depressed” because of not having a job. Looking at it now, the two may be related, but correlation doesn’t imply causation. I might have started feeling bad about being unemployed simply because it’s depressing to be unemployed and unable to provide for oneself, but I may have been fine with the situation had I not been experiencing a depressive problem.
I would definitely not describe myself as bi-polar, having uncontrollable ‘manic’ phases in addition to the ‘depressive’ phases. I’m very much capable of controlling myself when angry. I definitely experience anxiety and have mild anxiety attacks (rarely), but my other symptoms don’t indicate an anxiety disorder.
Currently, I find myself not wanting to do nothing but also not wanting to do anything. I have no particular motivation to write or make art or visit with friends (even though I just got done complaining that I don’t have any). I haven’t been sleeping super well, but I’ve also radically changed my sleep schedule in the last few weeks and it’s hard to sleep with daylight seeping in the window. (A problem we have solved.) My typical weight is 120lbs and I’m down to 110, the least I’ve weighed since I was maybe 13. I make myself eat and I’ve started exercising for enjoyment, but it doesn’t seem to be making a big difference to my weight or my health of mind.
I’m really nervous about consulting a doctor. I don’t want to be told I need medication, because I’ve been so opposed to taking it before. In 8th grade (ironic!) I did a report on how antidepressants can often worsen an adolescent’s feelings of suicide. As an adult, I would certainly rather go to a doctor a couple times and get on medication than feel hopeless and directionless. Sometimes the mixture can be a little off and may not work correctly for a little while, but I’m going to consider it. Maybe I’m ready to seek help and maybe I’ll need another bout to bring me around. I’m very unsure about many things right now.