Making it 20+ years old as someone with depression

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When I was a teenager I remember thinking to myself if I just reach my twenties I’ll be okay. This at a time when I was sectioned at 17 and was adamant I did not under any circumstance want to see my eighteenth birthday. However my answers always remained the same in psych evaluations ‘No I don’t see or hear people who aren’t here, I don’t want to harm anyone, I’m not suicidal’. The latter always feeling like a lie because in a way it was.

One of the things I still sometimes struggle with is being part of the world that I never intended on being a part off, even though I told my family, friends and more importantly the professionals whose care I was under that once I made it too my twenties I would be okay. I never really wanted to make it this far I had every intention of not making my eighteenth year. So the fact that I am still here at 23 I find very difficult at times, which is really hard to explain to people when I don’t feel so low, but even more when I am really struggling. I am usually met with a lot of judgement and criticism for saying out loud that I never intended on being alive for so long. When you have not intended to be part of this world that you now find yourself, drowning in self hate because you are still here taking up precious space and when you allow yourself to share your inner most feelings of guilt and shame with someone over the fact that you are still here and you are not sure how to fit in with the world, and everything right now hurts even just breathing. You do not want to hear the phrase “Your so selfish for thinking that, why are you being stupid. You’re so clever” That hurts even more and reinforces the feelings of not wanting to be here and struggling to fit in with the world around you.

I did not realise at the time, but my actions would contradict what I would say in my psych evaluations, I would tell them that I did not want to die or have any plans to end my life, but in reality I did not really cared what happened to me, it was only recent when I was reminded of how bad my depression got and me saying I’ll just make it to 20 by a family member. I never really realised the impact on those around me of what I was saying/doing. I ended up going back to a place of feeling like a burden, and when I feel like that, I have to remind myself that those who love me would rather have me in my worst state possible than to not have me around at all.

I’m writing this not to silence those who are still struggling, but to remind them that there is people who care even if you cant quite see it yet. I keep the nightmares, the trauma and memories with me. Not so I can embrace the pain and choose to stay in this awful bubble of pain because it is easier. But so I never forget anything when I feel like writing and sharing my story. Because if it reaches at least one person, then it is all worth it. I write this at 23 years old and still battling with my mental illness but I am getting there, being a part of a world I never thought I would see or wanted too at times, and along the way I got a university degree too!!

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