My name is Jesse. I'm 27 years old, and I was born in New Jersey. I now reside in North Carolina with my fiancee. I'm writing this as a way of not only venting, but to spread awareness that Depression can be a very serious thing. Let's jump right in, shall we?
Depression for me has been an extremely hard battle. For as long as I could remember, I've always had this "black cloud" following me around everywhere I went. From a young age, and still today. I want to give you a short synopsis of my life because I want you to understand where I came from, and where I am today.
When I was little, my father left me and my mother. She and I were extremely close because she was my hero; a single mother who raised me all by herself. Even though my father was around, he never really fit the role. The only memories that I have of my father were times where his anger got the best of him, and took it out on my mother and I. Thus, the first four years of my life were never golden, that's for sure. I don't remember much, but I do remember the yelling, screaming and my mother crying.
Growing up, my grandfather assumed both roles of not only my grandfather, but the only father figure I've ever known. I would spend more nights with my grandparents than I would with my mother, even though we lived literally across the street. They somehow gave me my sense of safety that I needed.
In March of 2000, my grandfather passed away. A year later, my grandmother passed on, too. Needless to say, I felt lost and abandoned. The one thing that held me together was gone. We moved soon after to another town and started over. Different school, same problems; bullying, name-calling, etc. Although, the bullying and name-calling were never my real issues. I had no outlet anymore. I lost my sense of being, my safe zone. Spending time with them was my coping mechanism.
My teen years were horrible, because I was going through changes in life, and my depression got worse. Between the years of Freshman year and Senior year, I tried to take my life three times. Pill overdose. Hanging. Cutting. All three attempts were unsuccessful. I was no stranger to self-harm in my teenage years. I've burned myself with lighters, cut myself, self-asphyxiation, and even beat myself in the head with hard objects. Today, I find self-harm absolutely unnecessary. However, at the time, self-harm was my only true friend. My escape, if you will.
I've had my battle with drugs as well during my teenage years. Nothing too hard, I promise. Marijuana, Pills, etc. I was too afraid to do cocaine or heroin. The drugs were a replacement for self-harm for a little while. But, once I got to the point that the drugs were having less of an affect on me, my self-harm began getting worse. That's about the time when I began contemplating suicide.
At the age of 18, I stopped doing drugs. I knew that I was being stupid, and I needed to get my life together. I turned my head and never looked back. The only time I'd take anything narcotic today, is if I break my damn arm or something. I'm very serious about not getting hooked again.
Ever since I stopped doing drugs, the thoughts of suicide are still there, but I keep myself pretty level-headed when it comes to talking myself down. There isn't a day that goes by, even as I write this, that I just want to end it all and be at peace.
So, I sat down with myself one day and did some well-needed soul searching. I intended to find the root of my depression, so I can begin the journey to battle head first once and for all:
Was it my father leaving? No.
Was it my grandparents passing away? No.
Was it bullying? No.
I came to terms with myself about my father leaving, because I finally met him one day. I learned he left, because my mother made him. She did not want me to grow up the way he was. We got into a fist fight after I realized how much of an a-hole he was. Point taken, I moved on.
I also came to terms with myself about my grandparents passing away, because my relationship with God has put faith in me that it's not a final goodbye. I have faith that one day, I will join them when my time comes and that they are with me every day of my life in spirit. I found faith, I moved on.
The final thing that I could really think it was, was the fact that I was bullied pretty much all of my life by my peers. And when I say bullied, I mean badly! But, I came to terms with myself, that I am my own person. I am not them, and I am not their property. They cannot dictate who I am, and who I turn out to be. I found peace in that, and I moved on.
I recently went seeking for help. I prayed and prayed that I would find the solace that I've been searching for. I began talking to a specialist regularly, and I was diagnosed with Episodic Stress Disorder, along with Major Depression Disorder. I found peace knowing the void in me that I have been searching to fill, was not caused by a certain event. It's been a part of me my whole entire life. I have my chemical imbalance, and since I've been on medication, life has been "okay".
I was also diagnosed with COPD after a hard battle with pneumonia. I've always had asthma all my life. I am on oxygen 24/7 now, and my self-worth has hit rock bottom again. I can't work, I am homeless as I write this, I am disabled, and I feel like I'm a waste of space in the world...But, I raise my head and I need to keep going. Even though there's not much I can do on my own anymore, I just need to keep focused on keeping my mind right...
I don't feel the constant urge to hurt or kill myself, but I still have those thoughts in my mind. However, the medication makes everything easier to manage, and I can focus on tasks without letting my lack of self-worth keep me from reaching goals in life.
If you are going through depression, you're not alone. I found help. So should you.
Talk to someone, look at options, and get help. You don't have to be alone in this. I know how easy it is to feel like you are, but there are many people out there just like you, including me.
You are strong. You are brave. You are amazing. You were created in the image of God. You've got this!
Thank you for taking the time out to read this. I hope this helps at least one person, as much (or more) than it has for me writing this.