Precious. Nigeria.

“I am not “crazy”, I’m not just “sad” or “in a funk”, i have clinical depression. I was 15 when I was first diagnosed with clinical depression. I didn’t realize I was depressed until my step-mom noticed my behavior and urged me to see a therapist. I couldn’t understand what I was feeling, it wasn’t just sadness, it was complete emptiness. It was this feeling of hopelessness that could’ve been caused by a number of reasons. 

My family situation was very strange, my parents had divorced when I was 7 and me and my mom were by ourselves, my dad was gone. My mom was a single mother so she had to work really long hours in order to provide for me and give me the best life she possibly could. I had to learn how to fend for myself at a really young age. I moved a lot, switched to about 8 different schools in Nigeria before the age of 12. My dad had married this woman here in America, who turned out to be one of the most amazing people in my life. She insisted on bringing me to this country because I have a number of health issues and she wanted me to get the best possible healthcare. I walked with a limp, which kids constantly made fun of me for in school. I was really excited to leave Nigeria, I thought it would be the most incredible experience living in the U.S. 

My first year in this country was miserable, I was put in 8th grade in an environment I was completely unfamiliar with, with people who thought I was weird and constantly made fun of my accent and the different way I did things. I soon began to adapt and life got a little easier. I still didn’t have friends though. I decided to focus all my energy on my schoolwork, making sure I always got good grades. I became so obsessive that if I got a B in any class, I would cry for days. Approaching my junior year of high school, I became more and more reserved and anxious. That summer, I had major surgery that had some complications which made me feel like I couldn’t be strong anymore. I also had insomnia so I would stay up all night, contemplating if life was really worth living. I refused to go to school a lot of days, I would give my step-mom excuses about how sick I felt. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and not do anything all day. I started eating less and less, telling my step-mom that I just didn’t have an appetite. It was also the first time I’d ever questioned if anyone actually loved me and how life would be if I just wasn’t alive. My step-mom started to catch on and questioned me. I kept insisting that I was fine, that I was just tired, but she knew better. She made me an appointment with a therapist and she dropped me off every Tuesday at 8 am. She would never let me miss an appointment, and I really appreciate her for that. I have periods of times when I’m just really depressed, like last semester, when I would refuse to go anywhere. I stopped being involved on campus, I spent a lot of time in my bed, digging myself into a deeper and deeper hole, not knowing exactly how to get out. It’s a struggle that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life, I just need to learn how to seek help when I need it and remember that there are people out there who truly love me and care about me.”