Thursday, January 13, 2011

Not Just a Girl

. Alone .photo © 2009 Tafari Anthony | more info (via: Wylio)

I'm not an overly emotional 13 year old girl (at least not anymore).

What do you think of, when you hear that someone is writing about their depression? Exactly that; the over emotional teen who thinks no one understands her and no one knows the pain she goes through. Writing out her worries and concerns to the internet, because no one else cares.

When I write about my depression, it isn't because I believe no one understands me, or because no one knows the pain I go through. That is not why I do it. I write simply because it makes me feel good, and in some small way I want to be able to help someone.

Once upon a time I was an overly emotional 13 year old girl. I am going to date myself slightly, but when I was 13 the internet was not what it is today, and there was no outlet for me to cry out least not in the way blogs and online journals are there today. I did keep a journal, however, and in many ways I'm glad I didn't post those thoughts publicly, because they were dark, unhappy, and not something I should be sharing.

A few times, however, I did try to share my thoughts with people. There were a few "mentors," women I really looked up to when I was a teen. They were great sounding blocks, but there was one thing in common with all of them. They brushed my feelings off. Oh, I don't mean they didn't care, far from it. They cared very much for me. They would listen, and nod understandingly, but at the end of the conversation, the outcome was always the same. Whether they said it or not, I now realize that they were simply writing me off as an over emotional 13, 14, 15 year old girl.

I remember one time I read an article in a teen magazine that talked about depression. It had one of those quizes at the end where you check off symptoms, and if you have 3 or more, you may be depressed and should talk to your doctor. I had several of those symptoms, at the time. The typical depression symptoms. Trouble sleeping, lack of interest in activities that used to give you pleasure, weight gain or loss, loss of appetite, etc. However, when I brought this up to a mentor of mine, I was told that those types of articles make everyone feel like they are depressed, and that it didn't mean anything.

I spent years depressed, off and on, and had no idea. These things that were told to me in middle school and early high school stuck with me, and I pushed the thought that I may be depressed aside. Now that I look back on it and realize what was happening, I'm shocked and upset, but mostly angry. Angry because I could have fixed this sooner. I didn't have to wait 7 years before I went on medication, or tried to treat my depression on my own.

I guess this is what I want people to know; this is why I write. I want everyone, no matter their age, to know about depression. To know it is not a shameful thing, that it really exists. I want them to listen to their hearts, and not take the advice of misleading but well-meaning friends or mentors. I want them to know they are not alone.

Megg writes the blog The Life of a not so Desperate Housewife. She is an aspiring librarian, working as an office assistant. When she isn't struggling with depression she loves to read, write, watch old TV shows long off the air and cuddle with her cats. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Geoff and two cats.


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