Unedited and uncut - The raw truth about depression

**TRIGGER WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS POTENTIALLY DISTRESSING CONTENT**

"Depression is living in a body that fights to survive with a mind that tries to die."

Let's start talking about depression. Often times people think that they're the only ones who suffer and keep it to themselves because it's easier that way. Well I'm here to tell you that it's not. Keeping quiet about the things you are going through will only eat at you more and it will fill your mind with harsher words than anyone else would ever say to you. 

Taylor Mickal Photography
This especially holds true with a friend of mine that I recently connected with. She's gone through Hell and back and has decided that it's time to get her story out there and open up a discussion about the real, raw parts of depression that nobody talks about. 

Like many others in the world, Katelyn didn't particularly have a reason to be so melancholy. It got old really fast that people that kept asking, "well you have to be this way for some reason." Many people compare it to the flu: it comes out of nowhere, you feel horrible, ache everywhere, and become extremely short tempered. But for some reason, people think the flu is more worthy of treatment than depression. 

So now I'll let Katelyn take over and share her story:

I am 23 years old and I graduated from college with a Bachelors of Science in 3.5 years. I have suffered from severe depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, but refused to seek help for a very long time. For those of you that personally know me, you know me on a very superficial level. I never talked about what I was going through and tried different outlets to numb the pain. In the silence of not seeking help from anyone, my struggle with depression was deafening. But everyday I fight through it and I have overcome a lot of it. But it doesn't just magically go away. It may get better on some days, but it always lingers in the back of my mind. My goal in telling my story is to help shed light on a subject not many people understand and to help those who do suffer know that they aren't alone. It's time to make a difference.

Depression has this horrible stigma. I want to change that; to show that people who suffer from depression are worth so much more than a pity party and a "you're not trying hard enough" or "you just need to change your mindset." I am a fully functional college graduate who suffers from depression- the source of which I have no reason.

Taylor Mickal Photography
I can single-handedly tell you that every day is a battle for me, but every day I try to be thankful for those by my side. I have the greatest family, friends, and support system I could ask for, yet I still suffer. 

One of my biggest supporters was the guy I dated for 3.5 years. My sickness took a huge toll on our relationship, but without him, I don't know where I would be today. After graduation, I took a major step and decided to break things off and work on myself... Which was the most self-destructive decision I could have possibly made. This is the time where I looked for outlets to numb the pain with sex, alcohol, and drugs.


Taylor Mickal Photography
So I spent the next few months self-destructing. Resorting to sex and alcohol to drown out the deafening silence. I was able to make friends, but not the crowd that I needed to be in. I was confident for the first time in 22 years, but for all the wrong reasons. I left for a new state to work for a new job in February, and quickly realized it wasn't for me. In March, I decided to quit and moved in with my boyfriend at the time. If I had to pick one moment when things started spiraling out of control, that would be it.

On top of promiscuity and problem drinking, I started abusing my anxiety medicine, Klonopin. At one point the drinking and fighting was so bad that I overdosed on my Klonopin in hopes of ending all of the pain. I spent the entire next day drinking. I drew myself a bath and opened a pack of razors. This was rock bottom in my life and decided to reach out to a friend. She didn't hear me fully when I was telling her the severity of the thoughts going through my head... but how could I blame her? She had never experienced what I was currently experiencing so she had no grasp on the problem at hand. I had at least ten cuts on my body, all of them either needing stitches or intense medical attention. The ones on my shoulder were so deep that I cut through nerves. 

My boyfriend found me and rushed me to the hospital. The doctors stitched me up physically but I was still severely emotionally damaged. The last night I spent with him, we continued to fight. If the one person who was supposed to love me couldn't, how could I love myself? At this point, I didn't see my worth or purpose in life so I threw myself down the stairs, locked myself in the bathroom, and started self harming again. This time I found his gun and was really interested in what it could do.

Taylor Mickal Photography
Earlier I mentioned the moment when my life went downhill, and I would think this next event in my life is the moment where things were looking up. But things definitely got worse before they got better. My mom made me come home for recovery. I didn't eat, I slept all the time, and I was off my medicine and at an all time low. I lost 20 pounds and I felt hopeless.

Taylor Mickal Photography
Eventually I found work and it kept me busy. I worked three part time jobs and had to take care of my mom who is severely ill. Not being able to focus on me and my depression was a saving grace. I began seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist and started making progress. I applied to many jobs that actually would benefit me and I was offered two. This was the confidence boost I needed to overcome my fears. I met the right kind of people who gave me a new perspective on life and I began to live life for me and my mother. I then rescued a bait Pitbull from a horrible situation, knowing his life was probably worse than mine. His positive outlook on life and love for me and others despite his circumstances was inspiring. 

I want to reach out to those who suffer and tell them that there is light in all of the darkness. I want to show you that through daily struggles, it is still possible to function and get help. Do not be afraid to reach out, especially don't be afraid to get help professionally because there will be no bias or judgment. Friends can be a support system, but a doctor is key. Don't be afraid. What we experience is real. People like to think we are weak, but we are the strongest people in society when we stick together and overcome this. 

If you want to get in touch with Katelyn, click here and get in touch with me through any of those ways - I will make sure you get her contact information. 

--Until next time, Ashley

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