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My Battle With Depression (Daily Breeze August 6, 1993)

By Jaime O’Neal Age 15

“If I could find my Dad’s gun, I would put it in my mouth and pull the trigger, that’s the only way I could do it. Any other way would be too painful.”

This is an entry that I wrote in my diary sometime during the eighth grade. Looking back now, I would have to say that I was always suicidal, and I am honestly surprised that I am not dead.

To make someone understand how I got into such a deep depression that I wanted to die is hard. It started out at a very young age; it started when I found out I was adopted.

The fact that my real parents didn’t want me made me feel like garbage.

I wanted to die. I remember trying to suffocate myself by tying a plastic bag around my head. Maybe it was fate that made me remove the bag when I could no longer breathe, maybe it was fear, but all I know for sure is that a 13-year old girl should never be in that situation.

As a young child I constantly fought with my Mother, and I can remember saying hateful things like, “you’re not my real mommy!” After one of these arguments, I would tell myself, “I am not a good daughter; I deserve to die.”

I use to dread going to school. I never really felt right there. I always felt like I had to put on a show for everyone and nobody ever knew the real me. That’s when I decided to be someone else. I remember calling a boy and talking to him over the phone. I have to admit it was a bit of a relief. I actually got to be myself. But when he wanted to meet me, I had a problem. I turned to drugs to solve my problem.

When I entered high school, my drug problem got more serious, and when I had to deal with the death of my grandmother I lost control of my life. I came to school high and one time passed out in class. The teacher thought I was just sleeping. At that point in my life it seemed like nobody cared.

Justin was the first person in my life to tell me he loved me; he was the first person who showed me he cared. Maybe that’s why I started having sex with him. But looking back, I must say that was one of my biggest mistakes.

Things were so bad that I had to be stoned to have a good time. When I was not stoned I was depressed, and when I was high I knew that at some point I would have to come down.

I think when Justin broke up with me was when I hit rock bottom. I ran away from home. I believe that if I could go somewhere where nobody knew me I could start all over and everything in my life would suddenly be OK. When I finally got over that misconception, I came home. I withdrew from everything. I spent all my time alone in the darkness of my bedroom and I pondered things. I felt as if I could not talk to anyone, so I wrote, mostly poems. I remember writing one:

Blood is red, veins are blue

I want to die because of you.

Things really had gotten that bad. But still I wanted help. I wanted to reach out into the light, but I couldn’t find it. I wanted to talk to somebody, but I didn’t feel there was anyone to talk to. I turned to my sister, and she drove her car over a cliff in Northern California.

My sister had been the one to tell me I was adopted, and during a time when everything I knew was a lie, she was my only shred of truth. Once she was gone I truly had nothing. I envied my sister for having the guts to escape, but at the same time I hated her for not taking me along. Months went by and everyone assumed I was depressed over my sister’s death. But in reality I was depressed because I was not my sister.

My sophomore year brought me more problems. I didn’t go to school. I started drinking, and what was worse, I started seeing Justin again. One thing I should explain is when someone gets depressed; they do things to hurt themselves. It’s almost like self-destruction.

After Justin broke up with me a second time, I faked a suicide attempt and came to school with bandages wrapped around my wrists. I wanted attention from my friends, but they just told me how to do it “the right way.” Those words truly fazed me.

I wrote in my diary that nigh: “Not only do I want to die, but everyone else wants me dead too.”

I had missed 14 days of school and went into my counselor’s office begging to be sent home. I went in tears, and, in all honesty, at this time not even I knew what I was depressed about anymore. My counselor told me the only way she could send me home was if I agreed to see a therapist.

When I got home my mother was not there. I took a razor blade out of the kitchen drawer and hid it in the towels in the bathroom. I planned to kill myself that night, but I had told my counselor I would see a therapist. “I won’t talk to her, though. I’ll just sit there and stare at her.”

As I was driven to the therapist’s office, I remember thinking what a waste of $10; I’m going to be dead tomorrow. I spent five hours with my therapist that day, and it surprised me how much I told her. Talking to someone made me feel better.

The razor still waited for me at home, and as I held it between my fingertips, afraid of the pain, death did not seem as appealing as before. I began to wonder if I could work through all the things I was feeling. As I put down the razor, I thought to myself, this is one of the many steps I have to take to make my life better.

I’ve taken many of those steps already, but depression is something I will have to fight all my life. It took me two eight-week therapy programs to realize that. Looking back on everything from where I stand now, the worst thing I ever did was build walls around myself. Once you build those walls and lock everyone else out, all that is left are your problems and they just eat away at you.

I don’t keep a diary anymore; I feel that helps me live in the present instead of the past. There is nothing to constantly remind me of my mistakes. My final diary entry sums up everything:

“There are two things I will never do again. I will never build walls around myself; I had to take them down brick by brick, and that is too hard. And I’ll never run from my feelings again.”

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