This week, HOPE’s writer interviewed April, a 22-year-old with depression. Names have been changed for privacy. This is her account of her experience in her own words.
Depression runs in my family. My dad has it. His sisters have it. So in terms of having family support for whenever I don’t want to go to work or I don’t want to go out, I’m pretty lucky, because everyone around me gets it.
But around my friends, sometimes I still have to explain myself. Or maybe it’s not that I have to explain myself… I have to excuse myself. There’s enough stuff about depression out there today that they get it… when I don’t want to get out of bed, I’m not getting out of bed because I feel like the world is crashing around me, not because I’m being dramatic or whatever. I think they understand that. What they don’t always understand is that I can’t shake it off. No matter how much they read about it and know it on an intellectual level, dealing with someone who goes through what I go through, it’s a whole different story.
I haven’t been successful in romantic relationships. I have borderline personality disorder too, mildly, but that means that I’m anxious about relationships and I’m anxious in relationships. I’m very insecure. I want to be with someone, and I feel like, “Yes, I’m committed, I’m into it,” but then I start looking for other relationships even before the relationship ends, even when it’s going well. That’s because I feel like I’m getting ahead of whoever it is I’m dating. I’m almost sure it’s going to end anyway, so I feel like I build these walls around myself and end things with them before they can end it with me, and I find other partners so it can cushion the pain. I know, it doesn’t make sense. But that’s why I’m in therapy.
Depression hurts. Depression makes you feel like there’s a cloud over you, and everyone can see it, and no one cares.
But you know what’s so weird that I’ve learned? It’s not, like, permanent, the way that people think.
When people hear about depression, I think they imagine a person who’s always under that cloud and they never smile and they’re always on the brink of losing it.
That’s so not true. I graduated with honors from high school and college. I haven’t had great relationships, but I’ve got tons of friends, and if you look at my camera roll, I look happy. And sometimes it’s fake, but sometimes, I am actually happy. When I feel like that, it’s not long before I get worried that I’m never going to be happy again.
My therapist tells me I’m going to be better. My family tells me I’m going to get better. My dad has had depression all his life and even he says things like “Don’t worry, honey, it’ll get better.” I actually do believe that things can get better, but I wonder if that’s just other people and not me.