It's Like Looking Through Sunglassesby Anonymous, Wilmington, DE "It's like looking at everyday life through sunglasses and not understanding why everything's so gloomy." Well, that was what her doctor told her. She had to admit that it really made a lot of sense. Sometimes life just has its bad days. But when those "bad days" come one after another, it may be something different, if common. It's called depression.Her life used to be peachy. Every morning, she'd wake up and be ready to start the day with energy and excitement! She was a 15-year-old girl with so much to live for. She was always smiling. Then one day, she couldn't wake up that way. It got harder and harder to go about her usual schedule. She lost interest in everything she used to enjoy. She lost her appetite, slept restlessly and had little energy to do anything. She didn't know what was wrong. Her grades went down, her friends started excluding her and she was miserable. She began self-mutilation. She cut her arms and legs. She felt as though she was making everyone around her sad and unhappy, so she considered this a form of punishment. It made her feel better. That may sound twisted, but every time she cut herself, she felt a rush of relief. She continued doing it. She had to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants all the time, even in the heat. She didn't want to die, she just wanted to be happy again. She needed help.Her mom noticed her long-sleeves and her abnormal, unsociable behavior. She noticed that her kitchen knives were disappearing. She got concerned. So one day, she asked to see her daughter's arms. The girl wouldn't show them to her. So she checked herself. She found what she'd had suspicions of - a mess of cuts, scrapes and the look of total pain. "Didn't it hurt?" She asked her daughter. "No. My heart hurts more than my arm does. Please help me," the girl said. "We will, don't worry. Promise not to do it again," her mom said, fighting off tears. "I won't ... I promise."That following week, the girl went to a therapist. She started keeping a journal of how she felt. She was diagnosed with depression and was given medicine. She's now on her way back to her normal life. The scars on her arms and legs healed, but she still has scars. Over time, though, they'll go away. Every week she goes to the doctor and they talk about how she's feeling. It's really helping. She's getting better and her friends are supportive.Hundreds of thousands of adolescent teenagers suffer from depression. They're not abnormal, they're not "weird," they're in need of help. All they need is a little love and patience. Some need medicine. But overall, they're just like everyone else. They can get better. They will get better. They can take their sunglasses off. t
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.