Los Angeles High School of the Arts

Exploring depression

When it comes to depression, it’s a topic that people don’t talk about. Depression is a common but serious mood disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities, such as sleeping and eating 1*. It’s basically the feeling of hopelessness and you feel like there is no end.

Depression comes in forms like Postpartum Depression, which is depression that occurs after childbirth, and Persistent Depressive Disorder, which is when a person is in a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years 1*. Actually, “The number of young people aged 15-16 with depression nearly doubled between the 1980s and the 2000s ” 2*. “Studies show that at least 90% of teens who kill themselves have some type of mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol abuse, or a behavior problem” 3*.

I  am a person who has experienced depression for many years and still struggle with it at times. When I grew up as a child, I was always around a dysfunctional environment at home and it just didn’t seem healthy. I didn’t fully get the support that I needed and as the years passed, I started to feel really insecure, and simply thought that nobody cared about me. I felt worthless and was just holding all the pain in. By that time, unwanted thoughts started popping up in my head and then I soon became this mouse. I was very quiet, even as a child, but I guess I became more so. I couldn’t make the friends I wanted, compounded by the fact that I didn’t get taught the skills to interact with people.

Anxiety built up inside me and it became hard for me to do that even till this day, but I still feel this way. Some people have actually asked me in the past, “Why are you so quiet?,” but the truth is, I can’t really answer their question the way I want to. It’s not like I can tell my whole life story and I feel like in the end, I have no other choice than to say, “I’m just quiet,” or “I guess I’m shy,” in which most people suspect that I am, but I feel like that’s not my real personality. There’s a whole other person in me and I just got to let her shine, but I really don’t know how yet.

I don’t know if depression is something everybody has really gone through, but I got a chance to sit down and talk to some people, and brought up questions like, “What comes to mind when you think about depression?” and “Are you a person that has experienced it?”

One of the counselors at my school, Ms. Lopez, said that depression is something where people are sad, crying, and not eating. She said they have trouble engaging and don’t do the things they used to like, following the fact that they’re angry and are not able to talk about it.

Lopez then followed up with another response, saying she got Postpartum Depression after having her daughter.

“So, after I had my baby, maybe for like a month afterwards, I was having a hard time adjusting to being a new mom and I was like really tearful. I would cry pretty easily, but that was about it,” said Lopez.

Lopez said that she felt like she wasn’t going to be a good mom and her life would be changed forever. She was also a single parent at that time and just felt overwhelmed. Lopez eventually overcame her Postpartum Depression.

“And keeping in mind, what really helped me was to keep in mind that it was temporary, right? Like, this baby wasn’t going to stay a baby forever. Um. . . I knew she was going to grow up. I knew she was going to be out of diapers. I knew she was going to go to school,” she added.

Kelly Walker has been a therapist since 2005 and happens to be my therapist. She said depression is something that is very common and  more people are becoming depressed because of the stress of their lives and the society we live in. She followed back saying depression is something everybody experiences on some level and that there is a normal and abnormal form of it, where you can’t function.

“But then there’s an abnormal form of it. . . where you can’t socialize, where you have trouble functioning with your day-to-day life. That’s when it becomes a problem,” she said.

Walker said she’s been through depression before and experienced dread and anxiety, wanting it to go away, but overcame it.

“I used coping skills. I prayed um. . . I read materials that are very positive. I listen to materials that are positive, that are uplifting and encouraging,” she added. She reached out to friends sometimes and other people as well.

In the end, I’m glad for the results I got.

It was interesting hearing people’s stories and perspectives, since depression is a sensitive topic. But getting back to what Kelly said about coping skills, music was a big one for me back then. It still is actually; I use music as an escape from reality.

I wanted to be away from the real world and just be in my own. As a result, my deep love for music sparked, and because of that, I’ll listen to almost every genre. I can listen to rock, pop, jazz, country, and many more, except for metal or anything like that.

When you go through depression, I believe it will make your love for music grow because mine certainly did and it’s beautiful. You can actually feel the music as it’s sending chills down your spine and it’s really surprising because in all the years I’ve been through depression, I was academically successful. I got good grades and that was kind of like an escape for me too. Even though I was going through some rough things, I wasn’t going to let it affect me when it came to schooling.

Sources*

1. http://www.nimh.nih.gov

2. http://www.youngminds.org

3.  http://www.healthychildren.org

 

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