Just a little over a year ago, I found myself sitting in one of a sequence of chairs along the wall in a small health clinic. “Hollie”, they called out loud as they opened the door that led back to hallways that were filled with small, private rooms for patients that needed to be seen. I got up and walked back with the nurse that had me step on the scale and then check my height. She led me back to the room where she let me know that my doctor would soon be in. In that room, there sat a bed that patients are to sit on while waiting to be seen, however, I chose to sit in a blue chair that was opposite of the bed. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I had come to this point. Several minutes passed by while I sat there holding back what I would soon need to address, the true reason I was there.
My doctor quietly and slowly opened the door to see me sitting in the chair rather than the bed and had a look of confusion. She sat on her tiny chair with wheels and pulled out her laptop. The questions she asked were nothing more than her normal routine of questions that need to be answered before approaching the true reason behind the visit. However, what she was about to ask had nothing to do with why I was there. “So, it says here that you’re here because of your acid reflex?” I had lied while booking my appointment. I just couldn’t admit this to myself after all these years. “Actually, I’m not here for that…” She looked up at me confused. Years upon years of denial, of hiding, of suffering came pouring out. “I think I need to be on an anti-depressant”, I say as I burst into tears.
When I walked out of there that day, I had to calm myself down by softly stroking my arms in my car for about twenty minutes and telling myself, I was still Hollie, just now Hollie on a med.
Depression. What an ugly word. What a helpless state of being. What a horror to a mind that has suffered from it.
Years before that, before seeking help, I did everything physically possible to try to help myself. Journaling, exercising, changing my diet, getting more sunlight, extroverting myself daily, taking on multiple jobs, praying, seeking comfort from above, etc., I truly tried.
I didn’t want to be like this. I was known for being a ray of sunshine to others, but I was hiding and I did it well. I was surrounded by people who were truly wonderful and loved me levels deeper than I had ever experienced. My job was enjoyable, my situation was secure and comfortable, and I liked the person who everyone saw. Why was I broken behind this smile and bright blue eyes? Inside, there was this numb sense of pain.
During holidays I would sneak away and nap during dinners because it would strike me then more than on other days. The depression would show up and rob me of the joy that was supposed to be fueling my soul. Day by day, it felt like I was walking through high water that would wear me down more each hour. Life was not sunshine and rainbows, it was cloudy and rainy days, every day.
In the past, I had tried a few times reaching out to others and discussing what I was feeling with them, but the response I would receive back was cliché and made me feel more misunderstood. At one point, I questioned if I was crazy because I was in so much pain and no one understood. Behind this smile, was a desire to truly end my life and my lament was to be up above where I no longer felt any pain.
It wasn’t till I was 23, and finally found myself on an anti-depressant to see what I was truly experiencing all those years prior. With my doctor’s confirmation, I was diagnosed with severe depression. Now, know this was clinical depression, not situational, not seasonal, but truly clinical. My brain chemicals were imbalanced and needed to be altered, chemically. Without help from a medication, I would be unable to change what was going on in my body and I wanted to be myself again. I wanted to be Hollie Joy, with spunk running through my veins and a craving for making life a whirlwind of beauty.
Whoever is reading this, please know depression was not made to rule you. There is help and people who care. You were meant to go after life with such incredible force, pursuing the passions that burn within your soul. That gift of darkness, take it and let it build your endurance and keep pushing you only to higher and better places in a world where giving up seems like it is the only escape. There is a life with your name on it and it belongs to you. You have not suffered alone and there will be days, when you cannot find the love inside of you to feel safe in your own presence of your thoughts, BUT find those who will love you instead and choose to be with you during these times in your life. This does not define who you are at all. In one of my journals, I remember feeling a glimpse of hope and I wrote to myself, “You have lived too many bad days, to not live good days from this day on”. One day, I hope you find peace and power in yourself again and revive the soul within you by overcoming depression in a way that is healthy and a testimonial to others.
Luckily today, I can confidently, and with excitement, say that I am not anywhere near that state of mind that I used to be confined to. With much support and counsel from others who have endured the same pain, medication, and more than anything, the will to be stronger than the disease that held me in a box of darkness, I have come back to reality with a sense of joy and strength. There will always be waves that come through bringing a similar remembrance of that time in my life, but now, there is a girl who is much stronger than the darkness that ruled me once and never will again.
Please live. Please. People love you. People need you. YOU need you. Please, please live.
If you or someone you know is hurting, please call (800) 273-TALK (8255).