I was first diagnosed with depression around the age of 14. I had gained a significant amount of weight after going through a breakup and spending a summer at camp. I got off the bus and could immediately see everyone's excitement to see me change to concern over my appearance. Over previous summers, I always gained and lost 2-6lbs depending on my level of activity but this summer was different. I spent my summer eating and watching Vampire Diaries all day and never leaving my bunk.
I immediately entered into a horrible relationship with food and my social anxiety, as well as depression, was more prevalent than ever. I did not want to be seen or even looked at. I would lay at home scrolling through Facebook and Instagram comparing myself to supermodels, friends, and anyone who I thought had it better than me. I hated myself. I quit everything I loved and struggled with depression for the following four years.
At the time, I was in and out of therapy but mentally was not there. I lied, made up stories, and experimented with different anti-depressants and anxiety medications but I was still not feeling like myself. During my junior year of high school, I missed over 80 days of school during my deepest days of depression. I could sleep for days on end and didn’t care to see or speak to anyone besides my therapist and psychiatrist. When I did leave my room and see my friends, I used self-deprecating humor to mask my feelings entirely. I put on a great show but deep down I was very mentally sick.
It wasn’t until I went to college that I experienced my first panic attack. College was based around parties and socializing, but I could not leave my room. After a month, I called my mom and told her I couldn’t stay any longer. She booked a flight to get me and called my psychiatrist, who told her she should not pull me out of school—which I am so grateful for. At first, I was livid. I finally felt relief that my mom was coming and now she wasn’t. My mom called and said coming home wouldn't solve anything and if I wanted to get better it was going to be a lot of work but I needed to want it for myself. Safe to say I wanted to never speak to her again but she was right.