Depression, Social Anxiety

My Story of Depression and Social Anxiety, Part One

When I was little, I was a rambunctious, headstrong child. I had no problem talking. I actually liked to talk to everyone who came around me at school, whether it be my teachers, classmates, or other kids. I had no cares about what people would think about me, because back then I was a kid, and kids don’t usually think about superficial things like that. And my thoughts were acceptable thoughts for a child; my biggest worries were about creating that perfect tanbark “cake” without having any of the boys stomping on it.

When I was in second grade, however, everything changed. There was a widely publicized murder– a girl was murdered by a woman who killed her, put her into a suitcase, and then threw it into a lake or something like that. That was when I learned about murder. This realization shook me to the core, maybe even farther, because it pulled something out. Up until then, I’d never thought about that. I knew that robberies happened, and that you shouldn’t talk to strangers, but I never thought about the evilness man could have. I never thought that someone could possibly feel in such a way as to end a fellow human being’s life. I just didn’t know.

When I found out about this, I went into a stupor the whole day trying to comprehend this new knowledge of evil and cruelty and brutality and hatred. And the girl murdered was just a child! She was eight years old, so close in age to me. I was utterly astounded, I was horrified to the utmost extent; I lack the vocabulary to describe precisely how I felt about this. My stupor gave way to sheer terror, and then to an unfathomable darkness. I often felt normal during the day, but when I came home, waves of incomprehensible sadness, deeply penetrating, rolled through my mind all afternoon and night. “It’s just a phase,” I remember calming myself, using a phrase that I learned from a book. “It’s just a phase, it’ll go away”. And it did go away.

About two years later.

Two years later, I was in the 4th grade. I knew that this unusual sadness wasn’t telling me the truth, and that despite it, I should try to remain happy. Although pockets of dark remained in my brain, everything was getting better.

About halfway through the 4th grade school year, I discovered Harry Potter. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was finally available in my school library. I hesitated to borrow it, because I wasn’t sure if it was considered school to be reading such a thick book about a kid with glasses, but I decided anyway. I loved that book. I read through the entire series, reading for hours straight at a time. This was binge-reading, the precursor of binge-watching. That book was such an escapism that I forgot all about the sadness, but I became so fixated upon this point of relief that I literally read it every free moment I got. If that book were a drug, I’d have to go to the most intensive rehab facility there is. I read it while brushing my teeth, right before and after doing my homework, and would do very little else. I read it while eating if I could. I read and read and read the series dozens of times over, and could recite portions of the books.

My parents eventually became so disturbed by my compulsion to read that they donated all of my books one day when I went to school.

I still read after that, but not to that extent. The sadness went away, and I just continued with my life, until I met social anxiety. But that’s another part of the story.

When I was 12, I had to get braces. (I recently FINALLY got them off. They sucked.) In the orthodontist’s office, I read a Time magazine article because I was bored. The first sentence of the article read something like, “I didn’t know that my fear of death in the 2nd grade meant that I had depression.” Depression?! I thought. How the hell can a seven year old have depression? I’d thought that depression was something that, you know, people who’d suffered something traumatizing, like the death of a partner, experienced. People with gray hair and sad lives and exes or whatever. Again, this was something that I’d never known before, and it was shocking.

I then left the topic alone for a few years, before meeting my depression again and social anxiety. How are they now? Fantastic, they’re in a relationship! Maybe this is being facetious, but humor has truly been the only way I’ve managed to avoid getting knocked out by life for too long.

Part 2 will come later. If you’ve read this far, thank you so much for listening. I am amazed that you would take the time to read through this lengthy article about a barely interesting girl. *Cough cough low self-esteem cough*. Seriously, thank you. If you are fighting too, I love you and am rooting for you. See you later!

XOX, c.

Part 2 of My Story, social anxiety

 

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19 thoughts on “My Story of Depression and Social Anxiety, Part One”

  1. Harry Potter (and mqny other books) served as a way for me to escape reality and my emotions too. I still read YA as an adult. This was an interesting post because I don’t think that people like to admit that depression can happen so early on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow I am in awe! I’m 33 and only just realizing how things in my past have shaped the way I am now. It’s a hard to come to terms with what we fear and so bury it hoping to avoid it or even deny it. But it still creeps back and seeps back till we actually have confront and deal.
    You’re an inspiration I love how you articulate your feelings and how you can pin point turning points in your journey.

    My daughter is in the 2nd grade and I can recognize those anxieties in her that you speak of which shook me up. It’s an eye opener, because as parents we hope it’s a phase they are going through. She learnt of death in first grade during historical figures week and was inconsolable, stressing and crying all night scared to sleep. It’s difficult to tell a kid not to worry when as adults when faced with it we have the same fears. It is important to not dismiss rational/ irrational fear and hope that they will grow out of it. In stead we should equip them into thinking things logically in the greater scale of things so that the fear doesn’t become uncontrollable.

    I’m glad to have found your blog. It has already benefitted me a lot, in this single post, the self realization how past experiences can trigger a lifetime of anxiety if left unchecked. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and sharing your own experiences! This kind of feedback means a lot to me, and is one of the main reasons that I have a blog. You’re very much right that fears come creeping right back if you don’t confront and shut them down, and that they can lead to many long term effects. I’m very sorry that your daughter has to experience what I did as a child, but I’m happy that you understand what’s going on, and that, judging from what you said in your comment, are one of those moms that can empathize and know just what to say 😊 Thank you so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my gosh! I can so so relate to your having becoming obsessed with a book/book series to escape depression…I was doing the exact same thing for awhile, and it was awful, really way beyond any regular bookworm addiction. I finally realized becoming THAT immersed in a book series was definitely not healthy and I’m doing much better now, but I cant believe I’ve found someone who really turned to books the same way I did! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Same here!! 🙂 And you’re very welcome, I seriously love this blog of yours (and you, hopefully that doesn’t sound creepy lol) ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I can relate to finding a means of escaping all those negative depressed feelings (and loneliness, in my case). When I was a teenager, I was really into “Star Trek” (The Original Series). I grew up on a farm and there weren’t many other people around except at school, but I was terribly shy so I wasn’t very sociable. Anyway, “Star Trek” helped open up new ideas to me and I spent hours dreaming up new plots when I wasn’t actually watching the show or reading the books. Books can be such good friends!

    I’m 54 years old now and have made a lot of progress. I’ve been through therapy, and am on an antidepressant. I have a partner whom I love and who loves me, and I’ve gotten over most of my shyness. I was a nurse for over 30 years and you just can’t stay shy in that profession for long!! 🙂 I don’t think I would’ve had the courage to blog and be so open about my struggles at your young age. You’re a very intelligent, articulate young woman. Stay brave, stay strong, and best wishes!

    Like

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