First off, thanks for doing this. I really feel depression is something that needs to be talked about more, the stigma is ridiculous.

Jumping right in: I've struggled with depression since I was eleven years old. I still distinctly remember approaching my mother because I knew something was wrong. She looked me in the face and said "You're too young to be depressed, and I don't have time for this right now." She has apologized since then, but that stuck with me. I felt for years that my depression was unfair to other people. I became unfailingly perky to counter it. It became my job to be cheerful, to protect people from how terrible I was for being depressed. I was in high school before anything was done about my depression. By then it had morphed to include anxiety and insomnia/hypersomnia cycles. I finally convinced my parents to take me to a doctor after not sleeping for 3 weeks in November. I was put on medication and told that would fix it. It didn't. I developed suicidal thoughts, and self harming behavior. I knew the meds weren't helping, but I kept at it, because I was told it would make me better. I finally stopped taking it after my mother found me with my face shoved into the corner of the dining room, trying to scratch all the skin off of my forearms. I've been terrified of prescription anti-depressants since then. I mostly just wallowed for a few years after that. Took jobs that allowed me to stay up until 5:00 am, tried to hide how I felt. I got a good therapist when I was 23. She saved my life. She helped me to understand I wasn't a terrible person because I couldn't be happy. We worked on a plan to help me overcome the worst of my symptoms. I still have depression spikes to this day. Especially when there are any major changes in my life (like moving, or changing jobs, or getting married. All of these things happened this year, it was hard). I take a non-prescription anti-anxiety pill, which makes it much easier to function. I still struggle with depression, I probably always will. I just don't hate myself for it... As much.

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