Peer Review by bride124 (United States of America)()

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My Life is Perfect and That's Part of the Pain #MentalHealthMonth

By: Juliana


    I grew up homeschooled in a conservative home, and I liked it that way. I didn't experience the pains a lot of teenagers my age have to got through. I wasn't bullied or gossiped about; I never had trouble making friends; my friends were usually genuine, kind people; I never experienced racism, sexism, or abuse of any kind. I could go on, but I think you get the point. My life was uncomplicated. During my senior year of high school (2017-2018), it continued to be uncomplicated, but I didn't. 

    I experienced an internal change. I became dry losing my expressive personality. I felt sluggish all the time, even though I did no physical activities. And the more rest I got, the worse it became. My supposedly comfortable sweat pants and t-shirts almost weighed me down. It even affected my speech; it was as if I was too tired to talk to people. Each conversation felt like a burden. I kept my head down and walked quickly to avoid my mom. When this didn't work, I responded with a tone of annoyance and disinterest. She thought I had an attitude--and I suppose I did--but not exactly the kind she thought. For a year, this is how I treated her; her, the woman who gave everything to me, the woman who found value in listening to me talk for an hour about nonsense, the woman who always inquired about my day and my friends and every event I ever went to. I can't say I lacked the motivation to change; it broke my heart every time I walked out of the room after showing her not even a single strand of love. There was a battle going on in my head and the cold, bitter, empathetic side was winning. I was lonely, yet the sight of people sent me hiding. I wanted to be vulnerable with my best friend, but when I opened my heart, there were no emotions to pull out. Besides dread and annoyance, that was it; I felt nothing else; I was totally and utterly empty. One of the worst times was when I would go to church on Saturday evenings. There is a kind lady at my church who always greets me and asks how I'm doing. But every time I saw her I thought, don't talk to me. Leave me alone. I horrified myself.

    Obviously, I knew something was wrong, but I didn't see it fully for what it was. I majorly downplayed it in my head. My mom and I had a few conversations about it and about how to make things better. I noticed whenever I left the house and spent time with people, I came back a little more talkative and cheerful. She suggested I find more social things to do. Unfortunately, although I thought it was a nice idea, I never followed through; it took away every last bit of motivation I had to do anything. 

   You know what was possibly the hardest part of it all? I couldn't understand why. Why was I going through this? I had a great life, great family, great friends. I should be happy, grateful. I didn't go through an experience that led me down this path. Because I couldn't find the source the problem, I didn't know how to treat it. Who knows if there was a cause.

   Don't worry, there is a happy ending to the story. That summer, I went through the worst experience of my life. Well, I suppose that doesn't sound happy, but it was one of those life changing, character forming moments. My boyfriend (with whom I had built a friendship for 2 1/2 years) stabbed me and my entire family in the back. If I was to summarize the root of the problem in a phrase, it would be he chose his family over God. That is all I'm going to say because if I go on, I will probably write a book. But after the breakup, I started taking classes at a community college and my lack-of-feeling disappeared. 

   About 2 months ago, I was talking to my sister who is currently suffering from depression. As she described it to me, my senior year came flooding back. It hit me all at once: I had depression. It took me a year to realize it. I remember a few days later going into my bathroom and bawling. I don't even know why. I cry a few times a year, and when I do, it's usually by myself, where no one sees. I guess it was just so hard to process that all that time, that thing I had pushed to the side and called unimportant, that thing that seemed so little compared to everyone else's struggles, that thing was my burden, my invisible, illogical, draining burden. No, I'm not homeless. No, I don't have a physical disability. No, my parents don't abuse me. Yes, I am safe, and cared for, and loved. My life seems perfect and that's part of the pain. Because whatever struggle I carry, you won't see it. It's hard for me to write this, partially because I'm not one to be vulnerable, partially because I've never fully processed and opened up about my depression.

    I'm happy to say that I am now healthy, content, and at peace with my life. To this day, I'm not sure why it started or ended. Perhaps I needed more community. Perhaps the amount of pain I felt from my break up jolted me back to reality. At this point, I don't know if I care. If I could say one thing to those going through the same thing, it's there is a light at the end of the tunnel, whether you see it or not; if you don't, I will see it for you. Talk to someone. I wish I knew what I was going through so I could have gotten help. You may not have the motivation to get out of it, but I can promise you there are people who do, people who will fight for you.

    As a complete side note, some of you may know that I'm writing a novel. When I realized that I had depression last year, I also realized that I had been subconsciously using my novel to process it. In a way, the story is actually about a girl's journey through and out of depression. 

Message to Readers

I know I could use better wording and phrasing, but I was just trying to be raw and write whatever came out.

Peer Review

The story was... I don't know how to describe it. It was heart-breaking that those things happened to you. You felt sad, your boyfriend broke up with you, just... I am happy that you are better now. This is one of the best palpable pieces I have ever read. Your experiences you have just shared with everyone on Write the World is so sensitive and exposed. It can help future users who is suffering. Ultimately, great job!

Has your sister recovered from depression? Do you still get the symptoms every once and awhile?

Reviewer Comments

You are a talented writer! I am very glad that I reviewed this!