My name is Gabrielle, but people usually call me Gabe. I’m 17 years old (almost 18!) and was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was maybe 9 or 10. I’ve also personally dealt with anxiety and trauma-related issues.
I honestly could not tell you when my depression first started becoming evident, because I can’t for the life of me remember. I just know how, throughout my depressive episodes-which were either incredibly frequent or incredibly long-that I hated the feelings of hopelessness and isolation. No matter how much I tried, and no matter how much support was given, it felt like I had made no progress. I still hated myself, and I still wanted to die, especially because at some point, I could tell my family was getting work out from trying to save me from myself. I have been hospitalized 4 or 5 times in the last 4 years alone; I have made 3 serious attempts. I cannot count how many times I thought about dying. Too many times. Sometimes I feel really guilty that I went through all of these mental health programs and counselors when, for the longest time, nothing seemed to work. It wasn’t until my very last hospitalization that things started looking up, and that was either because I got lucky or because I finally started to put effort into my recovery. I just decided that I never want to go through this experience again.
My depression and anxiety still linger every day. When situations come up, sometimes I’m extremely tempted to turn off my lights, shut my curtains, and shut down via nap because I feel like I’m about to lose all the hard work I put into preventing feeling so horrible. But, then I have to remind myself that progress doesn’t always mean you feel better. Sometimes it’s just that you’re more prepared to fight your demons.