The Story of a Black Dog

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She shivered as that one memory rushed through her head over and over again. As she watched the clock’s pointers barely move by each second, she sat in the doctor’s waiting room, finding herself confronted with what happened. Her muscles were numb and all of her movements were limited; an experience she would not have wished even to her worst enemy.

Just a few hours ago, this girl was alone in her classroom when she suddenly lost control of her senses, her surrounding, and everything else around her. She was found in trance, suffering from a panic attack, harming herself while trying to mask her real pain. Now, she was waiting to be diagnosed with severe depression, and she was just one among the thousands of other people battling through a quite similar situation.

“I felt isolated from everything and I began to let myself believe that life wasn’t worth,” said V.T. “I had no desire to do anything at all, except lay down in bed. There was this extreme anguish in my chest, like actual pain; I was fragile, had loss in appetite, headaches and strong panic attacks.”

Depression is a disease that affects 17-million people a year, of those people, around 14 percent aged 12-17 have experienced at least one diagnose of major depression. What most people don’t understand is that this illness does not necessarily have a reason behind why it started, sometimes it is just an unbalance in the brain’s chemistry. It is often characterized by a very profound sense of ongoing despair, lack of motivation, low energy, and impaired sleep and concentration.

“I would say that asking for help is essential because it is impossible to overcome depression when you are alone. [Talking to someone] it is the only way you can get better and not let your life fade away,” said G.M. “No one should ever be ashamed of asking for help. You aren’t worse than anyone else and if people know you are in need, they will help because they like you, or because it is their job to do so and they want to see you better.”

There is no proof that people fully recover from depression. There are series of treatments that can be crucial to ones recuperation process- like psychiatric care and medication. However, patients can also engage in several activities that will help with their mental heath such as sticking to a routine, writing a mood journal and/or exercising. 

“I see all of this as a huge challenge, a challenge that makes me mature much faster than life asks us to. It is something that can have a positive side by making you stronger to face new conflicts, making you a better person and serving as a life lesson,” said G.M. “The fact of having depression does not only change the person suffering from it but everyone else that interleaves with that person; everyone has to be together, so we all change. It is something heavy and sad to indulge, helping you realize who is really by your side.”

Depression is a battle worth fighting for, and each day a new obstacle will rise with the intention of being defeated. Not always it is done alone; friends, family, doctors are all there to help. It is a hard to keep on track throughout this journey, and it takes time and patience. Yet, one must never forget that there is no shame in asking for help, the only shame is missing out on life.

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