I fell into a cycle during Freshman year of high school. I would take my ADHD meds in the morning, they would make me depressed and I would lose my appetite. I would do work throughout the entire school day, I hated taking breaks because they meant that I would lose my focus. I’d get home, this was usually the only time I gave myself during the day to do what I enjoyed, until I’d take another dose of my meds to keep working. I would get depressed again and lose my appetite. I’d stay up every night of the week until 3 a.m. trying to write, getting nowhere. The worst part, is that I didn’t care to get myself out of it, because I was afraid that I would fail. During those nights, I usually wouldn’t eat, I’d sit, shaking in my bed because I was always freezing from bad circulation, I attempted to work, time would fly by, I’d be dwelling on a sentence for what felt like 20 minutes, but was really hours, and on the rare nights when I could manage to drag myself out of bed to shower before I got too tired, I would step in the shower and realize how discolored my skin was. My toes were purple and my legs looked undersaturated. My already pale hands looked blue in contrast to my pink nails. I knew I wasn’t okay, I numbed everything out and my best friends lost any idea of how to help me, I had no outward emotion.
The month of May, 2017, was one of the worst times in my entire life. I truly understood how it felt to be miserable during that time. It was the month before school ended, so I had to catch up on all of my old work that I didn’t do or failed at. My boyfriend wanted to break up with me because my depression was too overpowering, he told me the week after I said to my best friend that I thought I was actually falling in love with him. I was the lightest I’d ever been in years, I would have breakdowns at 12 at night, while standing in front of the fridge because the thought of food made me nauseous. I was so self destructive. I genuinely didn’t care enough to try and get myself out of this cycle. I was fine with being miserable if it meant that I could get my work done, or be my ideal weight, or make me forget the pain I was really going through.
I hate when people say that “It gets better”, I’m sure everyone with depression has been told that before. While things do definitely get better, it’s not magic, and not everything happens at once. If you compared myself last May to myself now, I suppose I have ‘gotten better’ in some ways, My ex-boyfriend has turned into my best friend, but I’m extremely attached to him now, and he’s going to college soon. I may not be 105 lbs anymore, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still anorexic. I don’t overdose on my ADHD meds anymore, but I am still afraid of what would happen to my grades and weight if I don’t take them.
I came out of last year broken hearted, scarred, and afraid of falling back into a cycle, but those things have helped me to learn about myself. I now acknowledge that I want to become a better person, I want to be happy, and that being happy doesn’t have require living up to my own self-destructive ideals. I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I’m not scared to admit that I made those mistakes. I can stand up for myself and I’m not as anxious to speak my mind, I tell people when they’ve hurt me, and when I want to help them.
I’m still struggling, but I’m changing. “Getting better” is a slow and painful process for some people, it depends on your situation and a million other factors. Take every moment as a chance to learn, each argument, happy day, or blood curdling experience can teach you something about yourself. Learn to help yourself, but know that it’s okay to ask for help sometimes. Know that you’re strong enough to not relapse. Set goals for yourself, find something you’re passionate about, make plans, keep finding something to look forward to. Even if it’s something miniscule or unrealistic, like waiting for the sequel to your favorite game, or planning for a day where you can run a cat cafe with you best friend, or maybe waiting for the day where you’ll meet that best friend.
It’s unlikely that you’ll wake up someday and have all your problems be solved, but if you want to change, you can be the person to make change, and it’s definitely a worrying concept, but do what you need to make you happy in the long run. It’s slow, unpredictable, and extremely difficult, but it will, eventually, get better.