This is a very recent share from one of our Facebook followers and it is important to share your story because you never know who it is going to reach. So much happens when we realize we are not alone in what we go through especially in the way of depression because it feels like a lonely trap. Support is everything and sharing does help heal if you have a personal story you would like to share click HERE to let us know, we want everyone to know Your Story Isn't Over Yet!
Here is her story
Depression and suicide are genetic in my family. This was something I learned very recently; it was not talked about...ever. But, before we get too much into me, I’d like to share with you why I’m writing this. I’m writing this for my 8-year-old son.
"I have to personally throw in that no one is alone in that feeling of never talking about depression, it is real and it can be shared. Amazing when we realize how many suffer from them and how we are not alone."
Growing up with depression and suicidal tendencies, I knew the signs and could see them from a very early age in my son. While he was young, I started showing him how to channel his emotions through coloring, drawing, writing, music...anything that he was interested in. I also taught him how to meditate, and breathe to calm his emotions. His preschool and kindergarten teachers noticed this and taught it to his whole class. They didn’t know exactly why he did it but knew it helped calm him. Throughout this, he was bullied as well by older kids. My loving boy who thought Rainbow Dash and Pinkey Pie were the bee’s knees and lived in the color pink quickly turned to more traditional colors like blue and yellow. He traded in Applejack for Spiderman. I was ok with this but kept a close eye on him. His school, friends, and the adults around him rallied. Eventually, I got most of my boy back. He was still very shy and hid his secret love for pink. But he was smiling again, and finding happiness in things around him. It was all I could hope for.
Then, he hit second grade. This year, I saw the flashes of anger come back. I saw him lash out and hit his older brother, then blink and stare shocked. He didn’t know he had done it. The slightest criticism had him bursting into tears. I knew something was wrong again, but when I asked, he said he was fine. His teacher was no help. She was frustrated with him and refused to help him learn and enjoy school.
A month before the school year ended, my son finally told me what was going on. His teacher...HIS TEACHER was bullying him. His other classmates were helping him, and finally expressed their feelings about the situation to me. I took one look at my son and thought “How could I not see this?!” He was having panic attacks, hated himself, felt he was worthless and was not my jovial goofball. He still refused to talk about it, though.
But, that didn’t stop me. I took immediate action. I tried talking to his teacher. When that didn’t go anywhere, I talked to the principal, the special ed director, the board of directors, my son’s doctor, specialists...anyone that I thought could help. With only a month left of school, no one wanted to do anything. But, I refused to accept this. I found him a specialist to diagnose his issue. I found a learning center that was willing to help him build his confidence back up. I knew from my childhood what it was like to grow up with depression and suicidal tendencies. It was something I was bound and determined to not have for my son.
"Determination of a mother's love is priceless and we should never stop or feel defeated when met with resistance. I give her such props for fighting and knowing the warning signs."
Still, my son wouldn’t talk to me about what was going on. I knew I saw myself reflected in his face. So, I started talking about myself; desperate to make a connection with him, and not have him struggle like I had.
Because of his age, I did not go into much detail but did what I could. I told him that I had a rough childhood; that I grew up in a very bad situation. I did not tell him about the physical and mental abuse, about the sexual assaults. I did, however, talk about what depression felt like to me.
I told him when I was his age I’d feel this building sensation started. It’d roll and roll, building higher and higher; like a tidal wave until the only thing I could do was scream and lash out. I told him how I would take that build of emotions and release it in very negative ways. I told him how I’d hit my mother, abuse my family dog, hit my friends. I told him that I didn’t know I was doing these things until all that pent-up emotion was gone.
For the first time, I saw recognition in his eyes. It gave me hope. I then started talking about how worthless I felt. How I never felt part of the group; that everyone around me wouldn’t care if I was there or not. I told him how, to this day, I feel like everyone around me are friends, and just see me as a freak; they never wanted me in their group. He said, “That’s how I felt today when playing with my friends.”
I told him the tidal wave metaphor, and he started to cry. I told him that I would do anything to release that emotion; to the point of hurting myself. I didn’t tell him how many times I did this, or how many times I tried to commit suicide (2 to 3 a year for over 20 years). But I talked to him about what suicide was. At this time, he became so emotional, he couldn’t speak. I thought I had gone too far. Maybe I had given him too much information about myself. I was horrified at what he said next.
“Mommy, I thought about ending my life a few days ago.” He wasn’t upset because mommy was talking about dying; he was upset because he knew exactly what I was talking about. Like any mother, I held him close. I told him I was sorry I hadn’t seen it sooner, and I vowed to him that I would ALWAYS be there when he felt that way. I talked to my 8-year-old son about calling me, no matter what time of day, when he had those thoughts, and I’d come running. I told him he was not alone. For the next hour, I had a very adult discussion about depression and suicide with an 8-year-old.
By the end, he was asking me questions, wanting to know more about how to ‘fix’ the feelings and emotions. I told him I was still learning that, too. I told him about my weekly visits to my therapist. I told him she helps me realize when those feelings and emotions are going to happen, and teach techniques to release that energy in a more positive way. I explained about all the medications I am on to help me differentiate between the depression talking, and what is really me. What I didn’t have to tell him is what my Service Dog does because he was reacting to my son the same way he does to me. I did, however, point this out to my son so he could take solace and relief from my Dog just as much as I do.
I know the conversations are not over, and I pray they never will be. My great grandmother overdosed on pills, my grandfather shot himself, and my father was so depressed and unhappy, he took his anger out on me.
I’m determined to break this cycle in my family history. It’s why I sought help when things got bad with me. I saw what my father did to me, and realized I was doing it too. For the love of my family, I sought out help. For the love of my son, I will continue to seek help for me, and for him. Depression and Suicide never go away. It’s always with you, always a part of you. If I hadn’t been brave enough to share, I could have lost my son; maybe not today, but in the near future. We never know who our story will touch, whether it be someone close to you, or a complete stranger. Please, share your story; don’t be afraid. It just might save someone’s life.
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This story was very close to home for me personally because I can relate and depression runs in my family as well. Not giving up and talking about it along with having patience can do so much for family, children, and friends who are going through depression. Most of the time I have noticed it takes a lot of time and energy to help someone open up but when they do that is when the magic happens. The healing can start and find the right tools and support begins to make everything a little bit easier. None of us are alone in this and together we can do this. I greatly appreciate this share and if you want to have us share your story also please click HERE and contact us with it. Knowing we are not alone is one of the best gifts we can give anyone who is suffering silently.
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Special Thanks to Bonnie-Leigh Thornton for more info on pictures email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You have amazing talent and thank you for your support!