What I Learned From My Depression
by Brianna Davis
Seven months ago, I never would have imagined myself falling prisoner to my thoughts. As I sit here, reflecting upon the myriad of long days and sleepless nights that pervaded through my junior year of high school, my thoughts become foggy. Looking back upon those cloudy days is not a simple feat. As I wrack my brain in a hopeless attempt to find the memories I’ve made over the past seven months, I come up empty. It’s as if a chunk of my life has disappeared from view, hidden behind foggy glasses.
And yet, seven months later, I can’t help but owe my thanks to the time I hit rock bottom. Through my depression, I have learned more about myself and my aspirations than I ever thought possible. This invisible burden that seemed to be my only friend--and a terrible one at that--opened doors to new opportunities and perspectives which molded me into the person I am today.
Though it was difficult, I found different ways to cope with my depression. Laying in bed and allowing my thoughts to consume me wasn’t doing me any good, and it took me a while to become aware of that fact. Eventually, I discovered an outlet for my feelings, a form of therapy that took my mind off of my troubles. I began by writing down my thoughts in a cheap notebook that sat on my desk. It was difficult for me to articulate my thoughts into words, so I wrote short sentences. I continued to write mindlessly until I realized that what appeared on the page before me was a unique form of art--typography. My thoughts were no longer just words, but instead symbols of the message I was trying to convey. In that moment, I found a passion that would calm me and guide me through the most difficult of days.
I’d say the greatest outcome of my depression was learning who my true friends are. As high schoolers, we feel obligated to make as many friends as possible in an attempt to feel socially secure. Some are close to our hearts--they’re people we want to hold onto even beyond our high school years. Others are what I call “close acquaintances,” people with whom we associate only because we see them five days a week. On my worst days, I’d isolate myself from my peers under some false assumption that none of them cared about me. Of course, that wasn’t true. I’ve come to realize that the people who take genuine concern over my well-being will be there through the good and bad days. Though it may be difficult, they understand that the mood swings and irritation and crying spells are not a reflection of my true identity, but merely part of an internal battle. My true friends were there to help me fight that battle, and though my relationships with them were often tested, they emerged from the fog stronger than ever before.
Today, I hold onto the same realization that Wil Wheaton worded so perfectly--”I’m not existing, I’m living.” I am living and I am cherishing every moment of my life knowing that there is so much that lies before me. Everything I have experienced up until this point in my life is knowledge and power that I will carry with me through brighter days. I can look back on these past seven months and know that I prevailed, no longer a prisoner to my thoughts.
Brianna Davis is a senior attending Cerritos High School in Southern California. In addition to writing for Her Culture, she is an editorial intern for The Prospect, a Brand Ambassador for UChic, and Editor-in-Chief of her school newspaper. When she is not drowning in piles of schoolwork, Brianna is likely binge-watching episodes of The Good Wife, listening to her all-time favorite duo, BROODS, or trying her hand at typography. She hopes to move to the east coast after high school and study political communications.