Life works in mysterious ways. You never know what’s going to happen next. You have no choice but to go with the flow. That’s where things like depression come in. Many people can not handle the obstacles life’s throwing their way. They don’t know how to handle the pain they feel inside. It’s like the walking dead. I personally struggle with depression and have been for a while now. To top it off I struggle from a disorder called anxiety. Fun , right ? In my perspective I’ve had this ever since I was a kid, but my mother finds this very hard to believe. This here is what started it all…
As a kid I never thought I would ever feel like this. Never once did I think I was going to hit rock bottom so young. It never once crossed my mind that goofy, happy Elisa was going to feel so broken and empty. When I was younger I was considered the happy baby I was always smiling and laughing. As years passed by I got older, as I got older my world got darker , as my world got darker things became much clearer. Now I never believed my father when he told me, “Life wasn’t going to be easy.” Never once did I believe him when he told me, “Life wasn’t going to be fair,” but once I hit a certain age that all changed. As you may all know being a baby or even a child is like being an angel. As a kid there’s no worries and your parents are the closest things to your heart. I know that may not always be the case, but that’s how my childhood went.
Around my childhood years I dealt with my parents having disagreements more than they should. I would always choose my mom’s side over my dad’s. I was always a mommy’s girl. My mom was my best friend. She would always call me by the nicknames she gave me, Lissy and Chunkybutts. Eventually I grew apart from my mother. She was no longer my best friend. I was no longer able to go to her for comfort or for a simple talk without it turning into an argument. While I grew apart from my mother, I got extremely close to my father. I was able to go to him for anything, I was able to talk to him without getting yelled at or talked down to. He had his days, but it was very rare. Before I knew it my father began working a lot more. He never had time anymore. He became more aggressive and more moody. I sadly distanced myself from both of them.
While I lost the connection with my parents I lost the connection with my sister. Growing up my sister didn’t care to be around me. She grew close to my cousins and to her best friend, Cynthia. She always wanted to go hang out with them and never really let me tag along. I got called names and got picked on for how short I was or how ugly I was by my sister and cousins for many years. While I was getting picked on at home, I was dealing with the same thing at school. I was bullied for four years by the same group. I was continously threatened and beat up for the exact same reason I was getting bullied at home. From the third grade until the seventh grade I felt like I was being tortured. I always knew sadness was a part of life, but I never knew how bad sadness can escalate. It can escalate into something so much bigger. Like a sadness that suddenly controls your body.
When I was at the age of 13, I thought I was depressed. I thought my life was trash, but it wasn’t until last year when I knew what depression really feels like. Depression hit me out of nowhere. Suddenly it became much harder to get out of bed in the morning and became much harder to fall asleep at night. I found myself no longer wanting to go hangout with my friends and found it much harder to eat dinner. Going to school wasn’t a priority for me nor was turning in my assignments. Depression was all something new for me and I didn’t know how to handle it.
Last year in April, I lost my grandfather, Ruben Mireles. He died from colon cancer. We got the news when we were on our annual camping trip. When we arrived at the hospital we were told he was already at stage four and there was nothing we can really do about it. My god-father didn’t want him to die in a hospital room, so we asked the hospital if we can take him to my godfather’s house, so he can spend his remaining time at home. We were told he only had a couple of more weeks to live, but before we knew it he had stopped eating and he began to forget who we were. Eventually he stopped talking ... April 11, 2015. Losing him hit me like a truck. He was always the one to pick me up and drop me off from school. I remember I would get out early on Thursday’s and go over to my grandparents house, I would always kick back in the backyard with him. Sometimes I would even help him garden. He would always tell me every morning how I need to do good in life, because life is too short for foolishness. After losing him, my heart slowly began to crack.
A month later I lost my aunt. Rachel. June 1, 2015. She died from an overdose/heart attack. I was picked up early from school and was taken to her home to see cops surrounding the premises. She was like a second mother to me. When my parents would go out she would come over and babysit my sister and I. She taught me how to color. We would stay up all night and watch movies while she played with my hair. Everytime she came over she would make me her, oh so, delicious sweet strawberry shortcakes. My sister and I attempted to make them a few months after she passed. I took one bite and I broke into tears , ever since I have not dared to eat nor make one. Growing up I never thought I would lose her so soon. After losing her, my heart began to break.
Seven months passed and I lost my other grandfather, my big boss man, Domingo. My grandfather died from natural causes. A couple of years before he passed away, he lost his legs. Eventually from there the diabetes and other illnesses he had began to escalate. It was the day after Christmas. December 26, 2015. We were woken up to a call from my nina saying my grandpa was gone. My family got into the car and headed over there to say our last goodbyes. Ten minutes later, we sat on the couches to watch the coroner's office carrying him out the door. I spent most of my summer days over at his trailer home swimming in the pool. That’s where I learned how to swim. My grandfather loved to play the guitar. When I was younger we would sit on the couch in the trailer home and I would watch him play his tunes on the guitar. Losing him put a dent in my heart. After losing him my heart was broken to pieces.
For months I cried myself to sleep … There was nights where I didn’t sleep at all. It was long nights just staring into my ceiling seeing nothing, but pitch black and hearing nothing, but my loud thoughts. It was constant anxiety attacks back to back. No longer being happy or being able to laugh at the jokes I used to laugh at before. No longer to feel the warmth of my heart. I felt hopeless.
A few months passed by and I felt like I was okay. I was much happier than months before, but as time passed May came around and I lost a really good friend. Albert. He fell off of a cliff here in San Pedro. May 30, 2016. When I first met him it was nothing but positive vibes around him. He was always smiling and laughing. He never liked when my sister and I were feeling down or crying. He always found a way to cheer us up. When we lost him I felt myself slipping back into my old habits … sleepless nights .... rarely eating. After losing him my heart was crushed to pieces.
Two weeks later and a tragedy broke my heart. It killed me as a person inside. I was sleeping over at my god sister's house when I was awakened by the sound of my god sister crying. I can hear her talking to my sister on the phone. “ Raylene what’s wrong?!” … “Are you Okay ?” My sister responds with screaming and crying. As I got up to grab the phone I seen tears rolling down my god sister’s cheek and the phone drops from her hand. I grab her and ask her, “What’s wrong ?” She looked at me with tears and pain in her eyes and told me, “Cynthia died…” The news was worse than I thought. June 11, 2016. As I was growing up Cynthia was always around. Coming to family parties or going with my family and I to car club functions. She became a part of the family. She became my second oldest sister. She was there for me when I lost everyone I have mentioned above. Cynthia would hold me in her arms when I would cry and tell me how everything would be okay, because I had her and as long as she was alive I would be okay. After losing her my heart was burned to ashes. After losing my sister I had now knew what depression really was and what depression really feels like.
Being depressed isn’t just being sad or hurt. Being depressed is having no energy to pursue the next day, feeling hopeless and broken inside. Constantly feeling numb on the outside, but pain on the inside. It sucks being hit with depression out of nowhere taking a negative impact on lives. Living my 17 years, I had many downfalls, as you can see, with those downfalls came tears and anxiety attacks. Imagine how it feels to feel nothing, but feel everything all at the same time. This is what many people struggle with on a daily basis.
While dealing with depression I was always told that I had no right to be depressed, because there was nothing to be depressed about. I was told I was making things up for attention and that it was all in my head. The problem was it was all in my head. The thoughts were in my head. The loss of everyone the I cared about deeply was stuck in my head. I hope one day people can finally understand depression isn’t a choice. People do not choose to feel pain. People do not choose to cry themselves to sleep and people do not choose to feel so hopeless that they want to give up on themselves.
This year in February, I made the decision to physically abuse myself. February 6, 2017. I took a piece of broken glass to my skin. By the time my father found me it was too late, slashes filled my left arm as blood dripped down. My father looked at me with tears in his eyes and was speechless. He grabbed me and held me. I had hurt and failed my protector. He took me inside the house, where my mother looked at me and bursted into tears. I took off to my god sister’s that day. A week later, my mom signed me up to talk to a physciatrist. At first, I didn’t like the idea of talking to a complete stranger about my thoughts and feelings, but as days passed it became a lot easier. Talking to someone really got most of my thoughts out of my head. I was no longer keeping them to myself. It became a lot easier to fall asleep at night.
Having this experience I have learned that there is other ways to cope with the pain you are dealing with inside. I found many ways to deal with my thoughts and depression. I turned to writing. I began to do diary entries. It was a way to silence my demons. Everyday I made time to write about my day. I even turned to music. I found myself relating to song lyrics and it really gave me comfort to know I wasn’t alone. There is so many ways you can relieve your mind. It’s just all up to you to find that self-fulfillment.
Throughout life you can say I had many challenges, but I always considered them as lessons. For example, getting betrayed by your closest friends. You see at one point I had a best friend. I was able to go to her for anything. I turned my best friend into my god sister, because I knew nothing could ever break the bond we had, so I thought. Sara. My best friend since seventh grade. I met her in my seventh grade math class. We did everything together. She was the person I considered my other half. Until one day, she made the decision of making her lover her number one. For months I was forgotten and I was abandoned. Even though she was physically there, the mental bond we created was gone. I had lost my other half. Sara was one of my biggest lessons in life, she taught me that friendships don’t always last a lifetime. The person you rely on to bring you happiness can wake up one day with a different mind set. Happiness is all about you, your happiness begins with you. Don’t depend on nobody to bring you happiness.
As time went by, I became extremely attached to my family. They were very supporting and they really made an effort to show me they cared. I began to think about all the times my Grandpa Ruben would tell me “life’s too short for foolishness,” and all the times Cynthia would tell me “ everything ain’t all good, but everything ain’t all bad either.” It was clear to me that we aren’t promised tomorrow, nor the next five minutes. You must see beyond the broken gates. You must go through the hills in order to get to your destination. Depression has made me realize that happiness isn’t a destination it’s a journey, and even though I’m going through this dark, scary journey I know one day I will be on my peaceful journey. One day this war with my demons will come to an end.