Aug. 13th, 2014

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(trigger warnings for mentions of depression, suicide, and self-harming)

Netbug, you made a wonderful post about Robin Williams and depression and I wanted to respond to it, but I ended up kind of rambling, so I'm making a DW entry out of it. But you get credit for inspiring this post :)

Anyway, I was thinking about what Netbug said and it took me back to my high school years, when I was severely depressed; I actually had a contract I made with myself that said I was going to kill myself when I turned 18 because I hated myself so much and just couldn't imagine carrying on with this pain into my adult life. I was suffering and I needed help.

And I told my parents two times during this time. Technically three, as the first time I told them I was suicidal was in 8th grade when my brother caught me with an arm red with bite marks. And they did nothing.

Oh sure, they made sure to keep an extra eye on me, always asking how I'm feeling and if I was having 'those thoughts' again and about how they would pray for me. But after a while they think everything was fine with me, that I had managed to 'snap out of it' and let the status quo resume...until I broke down again. This happen my sophomore year (when I confessed to cutting myself) and my senior year (when I broke down crying during lunch). And each time it was the same 'we'll pray and keep an eye on you' solution. It wasn't until Mother's Day of 2012, when I lashed out at one of my cousins, that they finally took me to my aunt's therapist. And said therapist was the one who finally told my parents to take me a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with clinical depression and gave me anti-depressants. But the pills alone weren't enough, as it took one more breakdown for me to finally see a therapist regularly.

My brother once asked me why I needed other people to walk me through these things (my university's counselors were the ones who helped me find an affordable therapist) and the answer is that was how I grew up. After all, if I really needed professional help, surely my parents would have given it to me after I confessed to being suicidal three times?

But my parents didn't understand. Sure, my aunts and uncles may struggle with it because my grandparents were abusive, but me? Their happy-go-lucky, bubbly daughter? I don't think they understood that depression is more than just a mood that results for trauma. Heck, they still don't understand it. Last week, with my sister starting high school, my own four years were brought up and I didn't sugar-coat it that just how I felt during that time. And they get so offended by it, asking me if they 'were really such bad parents that I lead such a miserable life'.

I love my parents and they are wonderful, but they don't get that depression can be chemical, an imbalance in the brain they have no control over. Our family has a history of mental illnesses and I happened to win the genetic lottery that dictates my brain to be that way. The way I felt beneath my false smiles, the way I can still feel, had absolutely nothing to do with them.

The only thing they are responsible for is how they responded it to it.

So, yes, if you are suffering, please, speak up and don't continue to hurt. But everyone else has a responsibility as well, one to listen to the voice, to understand and not silence them. Because after a while, we will see that our words grant us no relief, so we will just quit talking.


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