Alex, CT

This is the story of Alex, from the backwaters of south eastern Connecticut.

“As a child, I was reserved. I was a late bloomer in speaking and it made connecting to people difficult. I turned to books as an answer. By the time I had entered high school, I had overcome that making connections.
In high school, I dated a girl who lived an hour away from me. That’s commitment right there. People might think, “Oh, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” I don’t? I wonder how many of them realize exactly how difficult it is in high school to date a girl living an hour away from you. The struggles are constant and the words bark and bite, tear and rend your mind and fill it with doubt. I loved… no… not loved. Even to this day, she will always be the most beautiful woman in my life.

She’s gone now. And I wonder if she realizes how I feel to this day.
Anyway, in my senior year of high school, life had turned difficult. I struggled to keep up with school, and to keep my anger under control. I needed anger management and even then, I struggled. I simply got… overwhelmed.

The summer after my senior year, I made mistakes. I broke up with my fiancee. The biggest regret I have is not fixing it with her.

Anyway, I broke up with her and a friend introduced me to a friend of his, Leia. If you’ve ever felt like your world is crashing down around you, and there’s only one person who can save you… Leia was that girl for me. But her ex boyfriend doesn’t… didn’t believe in letting go of anything. And he was abusive. Leia quickly turned to me as her confidant, her savior. One night, after she had been abused, she begged me to show her love. I did and a month later, we find out she was pregnant.

Most of you are probably thinking, “How does this story have anything to do with depression or mental illness?” Just keep reading.

A week after Leia found out she was pregnant, her abusive ex boyfriend decided to snoop around. He checked her phone and discovered that she had been with me. He left the apartment. I’d say he came back no more than four hours later and immediately went after Leia. The one phone call no one should ever have to suffer is, “I need you.”

I got to the apartment of her ex and did what I could to protect her. To protect my family. The bleeding was too extensive. After getting her abusive ex arrested, I stayed as close to Leia as I could. But, it was to no avail. She died that night. And with her? My life.

I ran away. I hoped I could find someone or something to ease the pain. Nothing worked. My life fell apart. I fell into a pit of depression and PTSD, the walls coated with suicide. Six years later, I was doing nothing with my life. I had lost one of the biggest sources of love and support in my life when my grandpa passed away in 2014, 9 days before my 24th birthday. My depression and PTSD consumed me even more. I needed help. I found help in a group therapy.

To this day, even as I talk to you now, I have overcome the majority of my depression, but the PTSD will never go away. I would NEVER wish my life on anyone else. Today, I speak to you, alive and slowly getting my life back together. I can’t work highly stressful jobs, and I work in an entertainment center. Funny, if you think about it.

I hope whoever reads this has the courage to stand up. Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, THEY DON’T LEAD YOUR LIFE! YOU LEAD YOUR LIFE! You don’t have to cower away, hoping the monsters don’t come in the room. You can control the monsters. Put down your blanket and raise your sword, your gun, and say, “NO MORE! THIS IS MY HOME AND YOU AREN’T WELCOME HERE!”

Now, don’t be foolish, there are days that blanket will be your only comfort. That’s okay. You don’t need to get rid of your depression. You don’t need to shove it in the closet. Letting it out on those days you need to is perfectly okay. But remember, depression, or whatever mental illness you have, is only as strong as you allow it to be.