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I have been writing for a very long time after learning how to read at three years old. I was obsessed with books; I never wanted toys and I hated playing with my little brother. I always wanted to read and be read to. I began writing my own stories in the second grade. I would get plain white paper and illustrate my writing. Then I would staple the left side and proudly go up to any adult near me to read it. My mom kept every single ‘book’ I wrote and showed them to me when I was older. It was very nostalgic seeing how easily and carefree I would write. I wrote about things I loved, like horses and living on a farm. I don’t think I can say the same thing about my writing now.
My parents divorced when I was young, I didn’t really understand what was going on or why my dad wasn’t around. When I was old enough to understand that my parents weren’t together, I became very depressed at a young age. Depression runs in my family, but I think waking up and coming home to a house where my dad was absent really broke me. I began to write about my feelings, my depression, and it became a way for me to cope with the circumstances. I feel very sad, thinking about my past self sitting in her room, tears gushing down her cheeks, pen clutched tightly in her hand while angrily writing about running away and even what she thought might happen if she were dead. My writing was the only way I could keep going.
After being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), I began treatment and most of my writing stopped. I didn’t know what I could write about. It was like the only thing I knew how to write was sadness. With the medications, I was feeling so numb. I didn’t feel happy or sad. I don’t know how many times I got out a blank piece of paper and a pen or opened a new word document and just stared blankly. Nothing would come out. I couldn’t think of a single thing I wanted to talk about.
It took years for me to finally write again. I continued to write about mental illness and some things that were considered ‘dark’ by my creative writing teacher. I didn’t know why she had such a problem with my writing. To me, writing about these things was normal and I felt like she was trying to ignore the real problem. Throughout my life I have noticed so many people completely push past my depression and anxiety after learning I was on medications by saying ‘you don’t have depression, you’re my sweet little baby, you can’t be sad.’ or ‘my daughter/granddaughter/niece doesn’t have depression, did your mom tell you that you’re sick? You’re just fine.’ and so on. I felt like I couldn’t talk about anything because my family members and my friends all kept telling me I was fine. That was when I finally came back to writing.
I continue to hear the same excuses from many people in my life ignore my mental illness and refuse to let them read any of my writing even though they so desperately want to know what I’m writing about. If I let them read, they will do the exact same thing that they have done to my emotions, my tattoos and my lifestyle choices. I may not be happy, but writing makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. These stories are for people I trust, and for anyone out there who may be going through the same thing that I am to let them know that they are not alone.