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Our Stories

Depression

Battling Anxiety and Depression: S.E.

I just finished a gap year between high school and college. That time allowed me to learn a lot about myself and the type of person I am.

How did it all start? When did you first start experiencing symptoms or using?

I was 15, beginning my sophomore year of high school. I woke my mom up in the middle of the night and told her that sometimes I thought about suicide. After that, I started seeing a therapist for the first time. I was dealing largely with anxiety with a side of depression.

What kind of help did you get at first? Did it work?

When I first got help, I started seeing a therapist. She and my parents worked with the school counseling department to figure out what would be best for me. It was very helpful for me and I slowly improved over the course of my sophomore year. By the time junior year came around I only saw my therapist every couple of months to check in.

Were there any turning points where things really started to change for the better?

My senior year started and the pressure of college applications and other expectations sent me back into a downward spiral. This time around I was dealing with much heavier depression than I had before. I started seeing my therapist regularly about a month or so into my senior year, and at the end of November I began seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed me antidepressants. This, however, was ineffective, and I was hospitalized on New Year’s Eve. I stayed in the hospital for 11 days, where they changed my medications and recommended a new type of therapy: DBT. DBT has really helped me to learn a lot of coping strategies and preventative techniques that help me stay happy and healthy.

What’s your life like now? What have you been able to accomplish, and what are you working towards?

I just finished a gap year between high school and college. That time allowed me to learn a lot about myself and the type of person I am. I feel unbelievably more prepared to go to college than I was a year ago. Obviously, life still has its ups and downs, but I am in a much better place than I was my senior year of high school, and I look forward to the rest of my life. I even just came off one of my medications and I still feel good.

What would you say to people who are having a tough time? What’s helped you that you wish you had known earlier?

As cheesy as it is, I believe that there is a fire inside of everyone that keeps you going from one moment to another. If you are alive, then so is your flame. Whether you need to build a wall around it to keep the wind out, or pluck it up and carry it somewhere else, there is a way to grow your flame. The first bit is always the hardest, but once you get some momentum going it becomes a lot easier. Find your flame and help it grow into a bonfire, and at least protect it from dying out. The long and short of it is, it may be bad right now, but no matter how hard it is there is always a way to make it better, so don’t give up.