Hello, my name is Gwen, I am 24 years old and I came out of depression.
My story goes back a very long time. I have always been at odds with my emotions. As a child, it was already complicated for me to express myself on this. For me, emotions only exist if we talk about them, so if we don’t say what we feel, it goes away. It worked for a while, and then it didn’t.
My first depressive episode dates from 2013, I had just returned to high school and I had no friends. I found some but I was quite shy and much too introverted, invisible in short. I didn’t like the lessons and my family situation was more than complicated. On the third day of high school I pretended to be sick, I didn’t want to go anymore. My dad believed it, my mom didn’t. Looking back I think that day my father felt that I was not well, he had too much work and clearly did not have time to look into the problem. He always wanted to protect me, but he never had the time. My mother slapped me, she told me to go to high school, that my problems were nothing, that I was ungrateful.
I walked to high school with tears in my eyes, my cheek hurt, but deep down I think it was in my soul that I hurt the most.
I lived this day as if I was wrapped in cotton, I had really had enough. In the evening when I came back, there was no one at home, no one was waiting for me. I took refuge in my room and put on some music. I remember exactly the moment of hesitation that I had, telling myself that disappearing would surely be like a kind of respite deep down, no one would miss me and I could finally be at peace. And there, my music cut off, I had just received a message. I never thanked the person who wrote to me that day, she was the one who saved me. I didn’t know the number or the stranger who had just sent it to me. The only thing he told me was that he was in my class and that he thought I was cute. The boost of life that I received then helped me to continue to go to high school, to talk to other people. I only talked about how I felt to this person, but that was enough. Someone had seen me. And I grew up with it, like two little flowers growing side by side in a valley in Brittany.
Before leaving, I thought I had always been well surrounded. It wasn’t really the case. The longer it goes, the more I realize how much I used to put people on a pedestal. This is not something very uncommon in people who have been abused. The slightest person who paid attention to me became my only source of concern.
I really believe in signs and that day I was sent a huge one.
I finished my second, I repeated a year, I was the victim of bullying and I was really not interested in the lessons. It was really a blow for my father, I had always been a good student, however.
My second second was an opportunity for me to wipe the slate clean and start over on a blank page. My best friend was still in high school, my guardian angel was gone but my friends were with me. I started a new subject: visual art. This way of evacuating through creativity helped me a lot. I remembered a sentence that someone said to me one day when I had made a very dark drawing:
That year also allowed me to meet more people, to socialize. My family situation was only getting worse, I was in the rebellious age, often I answered. The only thing I couldn’t answer was beatings. But I had an escape.
It was also at this precise moment in my life that I became more and more afraid of the dark. I slept with the shutter open but the door closed. I listened to the footsteps coming and going in the hallway, I no longer slept much. This is where another guardian angel arrived on my path, in the evening I was never alone and I managed to fall asleep.
High school wasn’t as complicated as it used to be, I wasn’t afraid to go there anymore, I was afraid to go home. Looking back I also realize that we always look for a place when we want to feel safe, I had my guardian angels. My second year of second ended well, so I was able to go to first literary. I had very few friends but that was fine.
When summer arrived, we had a lot of parties and afternoons with friends. I was beginning to really live. When I arrived first, I had lots of friends, too many friends perhaps. I started cinema and in the second class I knew that was what I wanted to do: write and direct films.
I spent less and less time at home. When I could I came home late. I used to go to parties all the time.
We celebrated my birthday on a beautiful weekend in May, it was simple but at the same time exceptional. It was the high school film festival, we all went to a bar in the evening and we celebrated it as if we were celebrating the World Cup, we were also celebrating my 18th birthday, my adult life. Nothing had been planned, everything happened naturally. I am someone very attached to symbols, I wanted this memory to remain intact.
It was both simple and magical. I have never celebrated my birthday this way again.
We often returned to this place, then fewer and fewer, less and less often. I walked back past the bar the last time I came back to where I grew up it had closed.
I don’t have a lot of memories of the first one except this weekend, the final one on the other hand I remember it as if it were yesterday. I had taken a second cinema option and I had decided to create for real, I wrote the most beautiful thing I could, 3 months of writing, 26 hours of filming, 3 months of editing and about twenty people later my baccalaureate project was finished, it remains to this day the thing of which I am most proud.
I was never able to go to film school, it took me a long time to recover.
My mother abandoned us, I left home and started touring France. I ended the longest and most complex romantic relationship I have ever had.
That’s when my second depressive episode started. My only guardian angel at that time was my aunt and she was not well. Rarely have I felt so alone.
The world of work is super intimidating when you’re young, even more so when you’re alone. But I was welcomed with open arms by this new family of professions. Work experience is very important, but life experience is gained from others.
There was a certain gap between all of us, but we were there for the same thing. My soul mate taught me to dress like a girl, I taught her to make a machine. We went through 2 very intense months and we both ended up in the south.
The south made me dream, the people less so. At work it was complicated, being quite young I had a lot of disagreements with my colleagues because of my reactions. It wasn’t going very well. My father fell ill, and people around me didn’t want to understand.
My soul mate was still there, but I walled myself in. I only saw her, my friends no longer wrote to me, I no longer wrote to them either. Thinking about it, the idea of putting people on a pedestal is well imaged here, I resented them all, enormously. But maturity is also understanding that sometimes taking different paths is not a problem. I was stuck in an era that everyone had come out of.
Heaven decided one day to put the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me on my way, it was the right time. On April 9, 2017 on Place De Gaulle in Antibes, I found myself faced with the obvious: I want to share my life with this person. The old romantic Christmas movies have at least that of truth, love at first sight exists.
There is something touching when I tell myself that I lived all my first times with him, he taught me to love life, I taught him to open up a little.
He was there every moment. Even the night my father’s doctor called to tell me he was going to die. I still remember what that phone call did to me, I felt like I could never breathe again.
When I was little, I really liked work where we had to do essays on a hero. My hero was always my dad. He’s super strong, he’s not afraid of monsters and he hunts them so that I can have sweet dreams. He protects me by going to fight bad guys.
Later, he became my hero because thanks to him I had enough to eat and sleep, because he believed in me no matter what my choices, because he had the patience to take me to the emergency room every evening. training when I was eating, because he never judged me even if I liked a girl, because he got up very early in the morning but he always had time to comfort me when he was very late and he was sleepy.
The day after that phone call, my dad became my hero because he was still alive.
My world revolved around him for a long time. He had always been there for me I couldn’t let him down. Eventually, I let myself down.
At work it was starting to get a little better, I had matured a lot and I really saw life differently.
Fate began to put other people on my path, one who let me share the most beautiful news a woman can learn, another who made me laugh until my ribs broke, one who shared a fabulous artistic world with me, and one that never judged me despite the fact that I spent my life crying for nothing, that made me smile and laugh like no one else.
One sad day in August, the sky decided to take with it the only person who helped me to hold on. The one person whose absence tore me apart. I had always told myself that a world without her could not exist. That she would necessarily always be there since she covered me with love before I even knew how to walk. My world exploded. Even today when I talk about it, I felt like the ground was giving way under my feet. Nothing could console me. This is the only funeral I have decided to go to. It was the only time I said goodbye to someone, something I had always resolved not to do.
After that, it was like I was on autopilot. I went back to training, but I couldn’t sleep, I was afraid of the dark and I panicked as soon as the light was turned off. According to my psychologist, this is the normal reaction to death trauma. I felt like I was going completely insane.
I was still with my soul mate, but by going to this training I had gained 3 more. There are people who always promise to be there, to love and protect those they love, they just say it and maybe wait to show it if they have the time and the inclination. Those girls, they stayed up every night when I cried. They talked to me, left the light on and even waited for me to fall asleep before going to bed.
I felt selfish that it took them all this time to end up wanting to end it. My third depressive episode had just started, this time the diagnosis was made: I was suffering from severe depression. This depression is like the final bouquet of a huge firework of sadness, anger and melancholy. I dived so deep that I let myself be enveloped by this darkness.
Of course, I was never alone, even if it felt like there was always someone watching over me and accompanying me. I decided to get help the night I really ended up at the bottom, I was really alone, overwhelmed by sadness, in the dark.
It’s funny the signs of life, it’s also funny how the universe likes to play with people. What saved me that night was a phone call. Only that. I don’t know today why I dropped out, surely the survival instinct when the brain realizes that it can stop working.
I would never forgive myself for wanting to leave leaving all these people behind. To have been able to imagine letting down the person who shares my life, to whom I promised to be by his side even in the worst moments. I was taking the opportunity for him to be there for me.
The psychiatrist who took care of me diagnosed me, followed by a long and very laborious process of recovery. Until the day I witnessed the most beautiful thing I have ever seen: a birth. The universe has put in my path the desire to live again, after having taken the most precious thing from me. When she looked at me with her little black eyes I knew: this is why I want to live. It is for this feeling which takes you very strongly in the stomach, and which warms you to the heart.
So I took myself in hand, I looked to the future to the detriment of the melancholy nostalgia I felt when thinking about the past. My father emptied my room, I threw everything away. I haven’t gone back to where I grew up, I have nothing to do with that place anymore, it’s not me anymore.
It would be lying to you to tell you that I totally got out of it, that’s not the case. I sometimes have moments of doubt, sadness, anger and incomprehension. I never really had confidence in myself, after this dark stage of my life I totally lost it. I know that today the only thing that has really helped me to recover is my entourage. They are few, but all there.
I had less than 10 friends in high school, as we like to say, no need to be surrounded by a million people if they don’t support you.
It would also be a lie to say that depression had no impact on my life in general, but it gave me the lessons necessary to continue it.
Emotions are not problems, they are there to tell us that something is wrong, or that everything is fine. Depression also drives people away.
Today, I love every moment of my existence. I’m learning to live, I had no idea what it was. I have plans, a future, and I too am the guardian angel of everyone around me. I learn to express what I feel, to love ever more strongly and to be grateful.
I’m never alone again, I’m still afraid of the dark but now I remember to turn on the light.
I am 24 years old and I came out of depression. I am cured, and I love life.
And you, what is your story?