My struggle with depression began when I was 13. It was over friendship.
As a child, I loved school, and I loved school because I had great friends. After elementary school, it was year of the job transfers – everyone in my inner circle moved. My family moved to Pennsylvania, my best friend’s family to Mississippi, another friend to Texas, a couple to North Carolina… being 11 years old, I didn’t have any “the universe is totally against me” thoughts, but looking back, somehow I remember feeling that way.
And yet, Pennsylvania was magical. I loved living there, the school was great, I made friends right away, I always had stuff to do on the weekends, and then came that fateful day when my parents said we were moving again. Back to Missouri. Same town (2 neighborhoods over, to be exact), same school district, same everything.
You’d think a kid would be excited about this, but remember, all my close friends had moved away.
So I started the 8th grade, and I still knew everyone… like no new students had joined in the 2 years I was gone. Everyone was the same, but different. The same as in, everyone was still playing the same sports they had in elementary school, everyone was more or less hanging out with the same crowd… but different because this was middle school and the cliques had formed.
I’d never been in a clique, my school in Pennsylvania had them, but I stayed away from that. I pulled girls from various groups and formed a new lunch table. That wasn’t a thing in Missouri. My neighbor (little miss popular) told me on the first day of school I could join her group, then on the second say of school she said we couldn’t be friends because an uncool girl had given me a hug in the hallway. The boys I’d stayed away from in elementary school because they were mean, were still just as mean and were asking me why I moved back because nobody wanted me there.
I started to hate school. I dreaded going. Every day I woke up wishing I could be sick. I felt trapped – forced to go through the motions of learning every day until I could go home and cry.
So why am I telling you this story? Not to make you feel bad for 13 year old me, but to tell you that it took me until now, at 22, to realize what I learned from that experience, and I learned that I had become so dependent on the people around me that I didn’t know how to function without them.
To this day, if I can’t find good, genuine, close friends wherever I am, I get insanely unhappy, and I cry a lot, because I don’t want to go through life alone. I’ve started reading all these articles about how you need to fall in love with yourself and spend time with yourself and I most definitely have not mastered doing that, but I agree with it and I think everyone should. We come into this world alone and we leave it alone, and of course it’s morbid and awful to think that we have to suffer through it alone the whole time, but there are certainly stages that we have to go through alone and we need to figure out how to be okay with that.
Do I know how to be okay with it? Not yet. But I think understanding WHY you’re upset is a start. Maybe that understanding will take 8 years to get to you… but just know that you’re not the only one going through it. Someone else is struggling. In pain. Confused. Angry. You aren’t going to feel these things all day every day, but at your lowest moments you will feel like it’s constant and never ending. Take some deep breaths, and ask yourself, WHY am I feeling this way? Identify your problem, and you can start working on some solutions.