Content Notice: This story contains references to Substance Abuse.
I was roughly 8 years old when I had my first major depressive breakdown.
For a long time I chose not to share my story with others, because the few times I had, I could see the confusion on the faces of the people that heard it. Depression? At 8? What does a child have to be depressed about at 8? It was the same question that I saw on my parents’ faces when I told them that I didn’t feel like doing anything because I didn’t really know who I was anymore.
That day I woke up and began to get ready for another dreadful day of school where I had no friends, I hated the teacher and I often got bullied by my schoolmates. I was already aware of what anxiety felt like because every morning, as my mom woke me up, the panic would run through my veins. I knew what I would have to face in the next few minutes, and I knew that I would have to do it all alone. It terrified me.
But that day was different. The feeling that possessed me was not the same anxiety that I had been having for years. No, it was darker somehow. It was an immeasurable sadness that depleted any positive feeling or outlook on the world; a black hole that attracted and swallowed any reason for being happy, or for being alive at all. I didn’t feel like dying but didn’t feel like living either. I was breathing because my heart was pumping blood through my veins, not because I wanted to.