My first conscious encounter with depression was in the ninth grade. I remember very clearly not being able to stop crying one evening. I was supposed to meet some friends at the town’s only movie theatre. When my parents dropped me off at the long line outside the theatre, I searched for my friends only to discover that they had already gone inside. A girl I knew saw me, greeted me with some sort of snide comment, turned around, and went back inside the theatre. It was then the tears started falling. And wouldn’t stop.
As I walked to the video store where my parents had gone to rent a movie for the evening, the muteness began. I couldn’t speak and I was overwhelmed by sadness. It went beyond missing a movie with my friends and a hurtful comment from a classmate. It was deeper and I couldn’t find my voice to explain this feeling that I didn’t understand and couldn’t comprehend. As I watched the rented movie with my parents and younger sister that evening, the tears continued to roll down my face. I finally managed to explain to my parents that the movie had been sold out, but couldn’t get out any more words to explain why I couldn’t stop crying.
I remember crying myself to sleep that night and the melancholy continuing for days inside of me once I had emptied my eyes of tears. This was the first time I was even semi-aware that I felt very deeply and differently than other people I knew. I wrote it off as being sensitive—a burden we creative types must carry.
At this point, I never realized how heavy this burden would become throughout my life.
Notes: This post is partially inspired by a girl whom I used to consider an acquaintance in real life, but have begun to see as a friend almost entirely due to social media. She was brave to share her story publicly and I admire that. So here’s the beginning of mine.