Surviving the Human Experience: Dealing with Depression Part 2

We’re almost done with the weekday! How fucking awesome is that? Here is part 2 of dealing with depression. If you haven’t read part 1, click here.

There I was, at the mere age of 12 thinking about ending my life. Again, none of my family knew this because the last of their worries was this. They had other things to worry about. I spent my sixth-grade year doing the same thing as the year before and pretending to be someone I wasn’t just so I’d fit in.

When seventh grade rolled around, my parents decided to move, which made me feel desperation. I’d be attending a separate middle school than the others from my elementary school, and this pissed me off. I had spent the past two years working hard to fit in with these group of kids, but now we were moving. I’d have to start back at square one and I wasn’t looking forward to it.

I tried looking at the positive and thought of it as a fresh start, but that was the thing: it was a fresh start. I didn’t want to start anything. I just wanted to continue what I was doing because it was what I was used to. Yeah, I was miserable, but I was used to the misery by that point.

If it was a fresh start I was forced to face, then I’d make a fresh start differently than how I did when I first moved to Clovis. I became the bully first before anyone else could bully me. I was a real bitch too. Seventh grade was my mean year for sure, and my anger trickled into my life at home. It was as though my anger finally erupted. All that pent-up rage from over the years finally reach its tipping point. I hated everyone, but mostly I hated myself.

By the end of the year, I was faced with groups of girls who wanted to jump me. That’s when I learned I was a pacifist. I was all bark and no bite. I hated the idea of hurting another person physically. I never got in a fight, though. The situation dwindled down and I went into hiding. I had no friends anymore by the end of that year, and I spent my time alone. I could have tried to make new friends, but I was exhausted. I didn’t care anymore.

During that summer, I reached a turning point. I remember the day so vividly when my life changed. I went with my mother to the bookstore Borders. You remember Borders, right? I always liked that store better than Barnes & Noble, but too bad it’s out of business.

My mother went to purchase another one of her cozy late-night books. I always despised reading, and me in a bookstore was the equivalent of an atheist in a church. I walked around the store bored as my mother took forever picking out a book. I stumbled across a section called “Manga” and “Graphic Novels.”

I looked at all the covers, and one caught my eye. I have no idea why, and this is going to sound cheesy, but it felt like this particular book was calling out to me. I picked it up intrigued. There was really nothing special about the cover. It was just some anime girl sitting and smiling. The manga was called Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya. I debated whether or not to ask my mother to buy the book for me. For one, I was afraid she’d say, but also I had a pride issue about asking for help with anything. I swallowed my pride and while my mother was checking out, I approached her with the book in hand. “Can you purchase this for me?”

Her eyes widened, and she asked a bit shocked, “You want to read a book?”

I shrugged. “Yeah, well it’s a comic book type.”

My mother grabbed it and placed it on the check-out counter. “I don’t care what it is. You actually want to read for once.”

I finished that book in twenty minutes. I read and re-read it over and over until the binding became loose. My mother gladly bought me more from the book series, and I devoured those like a kid eating pure sugar.

Through this book, I found a whole new world that I never even knew existed. I started to watch anime and collected more and more manga books. Finding that book may very well have saved my life. The following school year, I found my tribe. My very first group of friends that were just as awkward, weird, and sensitive like me. They were all into anime and manga like I was and that was what bound us together. For once, I finally felt at home. My depression was still there, but it took the back burner.

Eight grade was like a breath of fresh air. It was my break from the darkness within me. Eight grade was when I decided to stop trying to be “cool.” I hated pretending to be something I wasn’t. I hated having to play a role, so I decided that I wouldn’t anymore. For once, I was done playing pretend. If I was weird, then weird I shall be.

That whole year I embraced my uniqueness and how strange I was. I strived to be as weird as I possibly could because I found that once you encompassed all that was crazy, people no longer judged you for it. They judged you more if you tried too hard to be normal. People just expected you to be crazy, and I enjoyed being the strange one. Whenever anyone would give me a weird stare for dressing up as an anime character to school or for saying a quirky phrase, I’d say, “Yep! I’m unusual. Get used to it.”

I was free, but it didn’t last forever. Soon that depression would come crawling back to me.

To be continued…

If you are struggling and you need help, please call the suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255