By: Sophie Winik, IATG ContributorSeptember 9, 2016
In school I never felt as if I belonged. Everywhere I turned, both in middle school and high school, people around me seemed to have a sense of belonging in the school community. They had lots of friends, they participated in school events or sport teams, and in general seemed to have themselves together. I, on the other hand, had very few friends, was shy and quiet, and not many of my peers wanted to engage with me. Teenage years were hard. I had my first boyfriend at 15, my first bad breakup a year later, and I didn’t have much of a clue as to who I was in this great big world we live in, yet alone who I wanted to become.
During good times and bad as I walked through life trying to discover who I was, I ended up being treated for depression. When the idea of having to take a pill to help me feel happy entered my mind, I wondered if I would be treated differently and experience even less of a sense of belonging. It took some time, some time for me to actually feel a difference myself and wonder whether with the help from a therapist I would be able to create for myself an idea of who I was, who I wanted to be, and what my place in the world was going to be.
It’s a process, this entire work of going from feeling depressed to happy, and feeling a real connection to life and yourself. I was never suicidal but to the people around me I clearly was not the girl everyone knew I was cable of being, or in this case, I was not the girl capable of feeling what I should be blessed to feel. It’s been years now that I have seen a therapist and been on medication for depression and my viewpoint of whether I feel I belong anywhere has changed. I have changed. I have been able to understand my own feelings and what triggers me to feel anger. I used to slam doors in anger and scream to the point where I would be in tears. Everything seemed to upset me and it was as if I had no positive feelings I could convey; I would be capable of smiling but not feel the meaning behind the expression. Was I numb? Would I ever really feel a difference between being happy and being sad or angry?
Depression. That word sounds like the name of a villain and it acts like the “bad guy” in the movie of your life. But what happens if you drop the “D” and add an “X” next to the “e”? You would achieve the word “expression.” And that is just what the word has changed me to do and feel. I am able to express myself.
I am able to express my feelings and understand why I am feeling a certain way.
I can express to others who I am, what makes me Sophie. Depression is not something to fear. It is not something that can be easy to understand and cope with. But the outcome, turning that villain into a “good guy,” can make you feel as if you finally belong in this crazy huge world we live in. Remember this quote from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”
Depression is a serious mental health issue, and manifests in different ways for different people. It can be difficult to comprehend and understand why you feel a certain way. What do you do to express your feelings? What helps you when you feel anxious, sad or angry?
Sophie is a preschool teacher in Southern California. When she is not teaching the little ones she is writing stories about her experiences with bullying, with the hope that her words will help others stand up against bullying and be another voice to end the hate. Sophie is also an artist who loves to paint and draw and is studying to be an art therapist, specifically working with children. Check out her anti-bullying stories at kindrevolutioncampaign.wordpress.com.