[Trigger warning: depression, suicide, self harm. You are not alone – If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-8255. Help is available 24/7.]
“Being depressed is like being locked in a cage and losing the key. You keep beating yourself up about it, but its not even your fault. Someone else took that key, but you could care less. You’re gonna blame it on someone, make it easy… you blame it on yourself. You’re stupid, you’re worthless… you lost that key, and now you’re stuck. You’re stuck… you’re messed up, everything that goes wrong is automatically your fault. And whoever invented this stupid cage didn’t forget to add a huge mirror in the back. A mirror that you can look into and see all of your faults… every single one. You can see just how ugly you are… the mirror makes you uglier. It makes you dumber, slower, meaner. More horrible than you ever imagined you could be. While you’re stuck in that cage it seems like everyone is so much better off. But in reality, half of those people are stuck in their cage too.
When you are in this cage, it takes far more courage to live than to die. It’s harder to wake up each morning, your head throbbing, a million troubling thoughts racing through your mind, eyes puffy and sore from crying yourself to sleep… hoping that when you wake up you won’t be in the cage anymore. Sometimes you just need to feel another kind of pain, any kind of pain, other than the pain inside that cage. Your mind. Then when you hurt yourself on the outside you hate yourself more. You screwed up again. You deserve to be in this cage.”
I wrote that when I was a freshman in high school. It actually won an award on a blog site that I originally posted it on. I did edit out some of the teenage angst and ignorance, but I remember how real all of that was, and how deeply depressed I really was. I started to feel depressed in middle school, but of course at that age everyone just thinks it is moodiness and hormones. These were the thoughts that were going through my head. I was really good at hiding my depression (I still am). When I told my friends that I was hurting myself and that I thought I would be better off dead, they couldn’t believe that funny, happy, life of the party Megan would feel that way.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I want to continue to share my story so that others know that they are not alone. It was easier to share my struggle with depression when I was younger than it is to do it now. I know that being afraid to post about my mental health journey feeds into the stigma, and I want to be part of breaking that stigma. I am still healing and it has been a long road. I hope that my stories reach someone who needs to know that they aren’t the only person going through this. Other people’s stories that reflected my own were what led me to go to therapy, to take medication, and to work on myself. Thank you for taking the time to read part of my story.