My Secret Struggle

By: Kelsey Winecoff (@moosides)

Content warning: mental illness, depression, suicidal thoughts 

I want to start this off by saying that I have not made the best decisions regarding my mental health, and I encourage anyone who is struggling with any mental illness to please get help as soon as possible; it will make a huge difference.

When I was in 8th grade I had begun to feel drained and sadder than usual and it lasted for a long time. I didn't say anything to anyone because I brushed it off as stress from school or something. Then I met one of my best friends, Jojo, and I began to understand. She struggled for a long time with depression and suicidal thoughts. I talked to her a lot and I encouraged her until she found a way to cope with her illness. 

Fast forward to 9th grade and I realized that what I was going through was a lot worse than before but I still had yet to tell anyone. I still associated it with stress because school was getting a lot harder, Jojo moved away, my parents weren't around as much and I had to take care of my three younger siblings more often, and I felt like I had no one to turn to. I remember at one point it had gotten so badly that I didn't care what happened to me. I began to eat less,m y grades got low, and I only wanted to go to sleep so that I didn't have to worry about anything.

The only way I got through the day was by reminding myself that if I could just get through a few more hours I could relax in bed. I also began listening to a lot more music. I discovered Jacob Whitesides the year before and I relied mainly on his music as a sort of therapy. It still amazes me that just by listening to someone who you have never met before could help you more than anyone without even saying a word to you.

One night things got so bad at my house that I lost all of my remaining will to breathe. I don't think I'd ever attempt to commit suicide but I just didn't want to exist anymore. I talked to Jojo all night that night and I felt to much better. All the burdens that I had put onto myself were released, and I felt a bit better. We talked and I listened to Jacob everyday and I began to get better.

I never told anyone else until this past July when Jacob announced he was touring in my town. I begged my mom but she didn't want to take me. I felt that the only way I might be able to go would be to tell her how his music helped me and what I had kept from her for years. I never told her these things before because she also was affected by depression since I was young and I didn't want to worry her. I used to write her letters all the time and I wrote her a letter telling her about my struggles.

She said yes thankfully and on August 10th, I got to meet and see Jacob in person. We also plan on taking steps to talk with my doctor to find other solutions to my depression. I feel like if I had gone to her sooner, I could have gotten proper help and my depression would have been more manageable.

I'm thankful to be able to have friends, family, and music. I'm also very thankful for Buddy Project because I have gotten to meet other people with some of the same illnesses too. Through all of this I've learned that all you need is a friend to listen to you and things will get a lot better.

However, I hope that if anyone needs help that they will open up to someone who can refer you to a mental health professional. Please don't hide your struggles.

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