Depression Vignette #1: First Comes Realization

Texas Theatre in Dallas, Texas

Texas Theatre in Dallas, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

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4 thoughts on “Depression Vignette #1: First Comes Realization

  1. Thanks for sharing, Judy. I can’t recall my first encounter with depression, but it colours my entire childhood experience at school. It’s a hard thing to describe because, like you say, it runs much deeper than whatever event that may have set it off. Sometimes it is even set off by nothing at all.

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    • Thanks Jenny. Looking back I don’t think I could nail down a specific time frame for when my depression began, but this incident definitely made me conscious that there was something different about me. More and more often I am feeling compelled to speak up about my experiences, and I think it’s a wise decision. I appreciate your support and honesty about your experience. Thank you.

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