My last diagnosis dates from the end of 2021. My name is Laurianne and I suffer from depression and generalized anxiety disorder.
I was first diagnosed in 2017 or 2018. At the time, I was finishing my first year of higher education, but I think my depression started before that, in senior year.
The why is difficult to define. Could it be because I’m a fat woman and for a lot of people, is there anything less deserving of love than that? It could also be because the end of high school is about having a professional goal, and I was more used to fluttering and wanting to do everything, rather than spending my life on one thing. It could also be because, like most young people, I was morally harassed, at least to a point where my self-confidence became non-existent.
In high school, I had friends, of course, but I was often the fifth wheel of the carriage when it came to doing things or talking. I felt like an added piece, invited when remembered, recognized when needed. I also had a few best friends, but always with that kind of relationship that can express the greatest closeness one day, then a certain distance the next.
Still, in my family, intelligence and success are desired, and I’ve always been pretty good. Taken as an example by my father in front of my sister, the burden of success only grew heavier as I saw my sister suffocate on her side, crushed under the weight of my example, which I myself found insufficient.
Finally, when I was 17, I chose a job at the age of 17 that I convinced myself was made for me, and I started Infocom. The world of start-ups, of communication, a profession in which one easily imagines oneself full of success, telephone in hand, with fairly young colleagues and a work atmosphere that would be just as young.
I think it was the return to reality that generated the “trigger” shock. I partially liked what I was doing, I had found a new group of friends with whom things went well for a while, I was not bad, strictly speaking. Then the motivation started to fade. I realized that my training was not made for me, that I saw it as a failure, and that I was terrified of failure. I stopped going to class, almost completely, while still trying to do some of the work required. I realized that all along, a lot of things had impacted me, in ways that I only realized alone with emotions that I was forced to confront.
I realized that I had always been forced into silence, which was preferred to my sometimes endless flow of words. “Too long”, “I stopped listening to you” I was told, a little too often. As if it were abnormal for a child to talk a lot. I realized that my value was only worth that of my success, and that everyone lived like that. I realized that disappearing or dying in my sleep couldn’t be worse than what I was going through, and that I would have been willing to give up life for some peace and quiet.
And yet, from the bottom of the hole, I was still trying to support friends, who spoke to me only of their own despair, of their complicated lives, ignoring my own ills, despite the incredible effort I had to provide to express my emotions, with: “I’m not very well, I want to see people, are we having something?”
I quickly understood that some people would always ask for help without being ready to take it, and that these people are the most dangerous for me, because I always ended up giving until I had nothing left, without it having helped them. I didn’t realize until later that some people, although supposedly friends, might not deserve me to put my mental or physical health at risk for them. It took me even longer to realize that selfishness is sometimes the best favor you can do for yourself.
I spent many months without training, studies or even work, very very isolated, without money, in an apartment that was a dump and where the slightest second passed reminded me of the failure that I was. Ironically, it was in this dump that I spent the most time. I rarely went out.
I’ve always had a pretty good memory, but I have almost no recollection of that period. As if my brain had obscured a whole period of my life, refusing to let me see the misery in which I found myself.
There are many things I lost during this period, the worst depressive period of my life. I lost my love for life of course, my desire to learn, and one thing that could have helped me so much, if I had known how to keep it: communication with my loved ones. It’s not uncommon for people to be clumsy when speaking, and sometimes asking someone to rephrase can almost resolve a simple misunderstanding. But so bad about myself, sad as a tombstone and desperate that I was, I found myself on edge. I took the slightest remark as an attack, I internalized everything I felt, or I responded with sarcasm, insolence and violence to everything that did not please me.
That’s one of the first things I learned to change, communication. Over time, I have sought to want to improve myself, and getting closer to people requires communicating with them. I had to learn to ask others to clarify things that had hurt me, to learn to say that even if I know that a remark comes from a good feeling, it hurt me, to hear that the people could make certain remarks to me without expecting me to change.
On the other hand, I gradually learned to be a little more forgiving with myself. To treat me like I’ve always treated everyone else. To offer me the compassion and gentleness that I deserved. It didn’t cure my depression, but it allowed me to find a job for a trial period. It was there that I met a group of colleagues, then of friends, who today are perhaps the most important people in my life, after my family. People who love, more or less discreetly, but always with the strength to tell me to keep my mouth shut if it’s to talk badly about myself. Their sometimes aggressive love allowed me to unlearn a lot of things that held me back. It goes through little things, like recovering after a “damn but I’m too stupid”
Even today, I don’t think I’m cured. I’m much better, I’m happy, surrounded, but I still have ups and downs, and that’s normal. I am followed by a shrink with whom I really want to go to every appointment, especially because he does not hesitate to point out to me when I lie to myself, or when I make demands. for myself than I would ever have for other people.
In a sense, I think everyone could benefit from counseling in many ways, but I’ll be the first to say how hard it is to find someone who fits. I have already tested a total of 7 psychologists before finding the right one.
But starting a follow-up requires being vulnerable, ready to confront yourself and your past, and when you are in depression, it is difficult. So while waiting to be ready to start, I can only give you a few tips: