Every 5th person you pass by battles with depression.
Miana is 17, she loves chocolate milkshakes and creating art and she also happens to be that 5th person.
Miana* was diagnosed with depression at 15 – the age where you should be coping with your aching crush on Zayn Malik and his disgustingly pretty face, NOT with the terror of depression.
But depression does not give a fuc … – oid.
A fucoid, people. Brown algae that depression does not care about. Just like depression does not care about you. Whether you’re 17 and awesome. Or 60 and tired. Or 21 and absolutely delightful.
We’re telling Miana’s story because we’re sick of not talking about an illness that terrorizes one 5th of the entire human race.
It’s a terrible illness, that literally changes your brain chemicals, with a crapload of terrifying, possible side-effects (hello self-loathing, self-harm, total energy loss, weight fluctuations, and suicidal thoughts) and it’s damn difficult to deal with.
Here Miana’s experience of depression…
FYI, experiences of depression totally differ. HERE’s a list of common symptoms if you think you might struggle with it.
HERE’s a pretty cool questionnaire to see if you do.
HERE (check the sidebar) are some amazing peeps who can help you totally anonymously. And it’s totally free.
Depression starts quite innocently, but then it snowballs.
At first, Miana just felt alone in her issues.
She was dealing with her parents’ divorce alone and she was struggling to sort out her low self-esteem.
“I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone. I felt very alone. I didn’t want to bother anyone with my problems. I know everyone has their own.”
It feels a bit like carrying around your own little dark cloud wherever you go.
And when you keep it to yourself, things escalate into an evil avalanche…
As Miana knows all too well. She spent most of her time alone, then her moods started jumping around and then she acted out harshly towards others.
“I stayed in the room constantly. I was moody and rude and ate EVERYTHING I could.”
And then things got even worse.
First Miana simply gained binging weight. Then her grades slipped and she didn’t want to go to school anymore.
Soon she was dealing with an avalanche of self-loathing thoughts and an unshakable depression.
This basically feels like you’re being thrown into a deep well, where no one can hear you, no one’s around and you can feel yourself sinking into nothingness.
Depression turns your hormones into a sinkhole…
“I experience it as darkness I guess. It takes over your whole life and takes so much away from you.
I kept telling myself how ugly I was. And how fat I was. I do not believe I am beautiful and that was also a big problem,” said Miana.
And you know what, depression’s viciousness doesn’t stop there.
It didn’t just take away Miana’s happy feelings, it eventually robbed her of all of them.
It took away every emotion she had and replaced it with an unbearable numbness. And that is probably one of the worst feelings in the world, the feeling of not feeling at all.
“My heart grew so tough and hard; I couldn’t feel happiness or sadness anymore. I was numb,” says Miana.
“I cut myself on my thighs and my wrists and my stomach. I wanted to feel again. The only thing I could feel was the pain.”
“And it was like a drug. I needed to do it every time I got a chance,” explains Miana.
Getting help, because your brain can’t deal under the influence (of depression)
“That’s when I realized I needed help and went to my parents.“
Rather than trying to keep it all under wraps using one destructive coping mechanism after another, Miana decided to face depression for the villain it was.
She told her parents and got into treatment. And FYI, things didn’t just magically become better instantly.
Because depression loves throwing in some body-slamming suicidal thoughts in the mix too.
“You can’t always control how you feel and what you want to do to yourself. Suicidal thoughts were always there.”
Miana attempted suicide in 2017.
And that’s the hardest part, admitting that depression is not just a bad cold that you can self-medicate.
If you get suicidal thoughts, drop the amazing people at SADAG an totally anonymous SMS anytime at 31393, or call them at 0800 567 567 or drop them an email HERE.
Totally anonymous. Totally free. And they’re really dope.
It’s a ruthless illness that beats the crap out of your mind and your body, until it’s unable to heal itself.
You’re not going to feel better right away because Depression is cruel AF.
Sorting out the medication to get your happy hormones back into working order can be a long and harsh process with lots of side-effects.
It’s a matter of aligning your body with the right meds and the right therapy. And this takes time.
But you’re going to be alright because you’re becoming a ninja warrior princess…
Yes, a fudging ninja princess warrior.
Because you need to be. You’re one of the 1-out-of-5’s and you’re also a damn heroine.
Yes, it doesn’t feel this way, because villain Depression has his fingers on the emotion tabs. But you are.
“The best thing I ever did for myself was to ask for help,” says ninja princess warrior Miana.
Now depression and all its minions (self-loathing, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, the works) aren’t hidden secrets that she needs to deal with alone anymore.
Miana’s taking on this terrifying bully in the light of day and she’s kicking ass one step at a time.
“I explained it to myself like this: your emotions are like blowing air into a balloon. If you do not let the air out after a while the balloon will pop. The air is emotions, letting it out is talking to people and the balloon popping is an emotional breakdown,” says Miana.
“I have a very low self-esteem and to this day I try my best to tell myself I am beautiful when I wake up in the morning,” says Miana.
“At the beginning of my depression, I would look at myself in the mirror and look for stuff I hated about myself. Now I look for at least five things I love, for example, my smile, my eyes and my freckles,” she explains.
“It’s a very long process and I am still not done, but it is definitely worth it. You will start to feel the difference once you get the help you need or just talk to someone.”
AND YOU’RE GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD WITH YOUR NEW-FOUND SUPERPOWER
Fighting the ultimate monster on your own, means you know how the other 1-out-of-5 people feel. And you can actually step in for them before depression beats them to a pulp.
“You never know what people are going through and maybe they need someone to talk to. Maybe you can be that someone.”
So chin up ninja princess. I know this is terrifying. But you’re going to beat this sucker.
And when you don’t feel like you can, remember you’re among the stars.
The Rock had depression. As in Dwayne Johnson. And Lily Singh, aka iiSuperwomanii. And Cara Delevinge, Ruby Rose, Kirsten Bell, Demi Levato, Lady Gaga and Wentworth Miller – and some of them still struggle with it (you can read about their stories HERE).
And the list goes on (FYI this list literally only includes the people who have opened up about it- imagine how many amazing people out there have not).
7 Helpful tips by Miana for coping with depression
- TALK SISTER TALK: “Do not be afraid to talk to someone about your problems. Do not bottle up your emotions, it is not worth it.”
- MIRROR MIRROR: “At the beginning of my depression, I would look at myself in the mirror and look for stuff I hated about myself. Now I look for at least five things I love, for example, my smile, my eyes, and my freckles.
- SOUL TALK: “Also, I look for good qualities in my personality, I am a good friend and I have a great heart. It really does help and I encourage everyone to do this in the morning.”
- SANE SELF-TALK: “Tell yourself you are beautiful, think positive thoughts and never insult yourself.”
- REALISE YOU WILL FEEL LONELY AT FIRST: “Even though I am 17, I have experience. Take it from me, you are beautiful and there are so many people who love you and care for you. Even though you might feel alone now, as soon as you talk to someone you will see how much they care.”
- BE THAT PERSON FOR OTHERS: “Also be there for other people and friends. You never know what they are going through and maybe they need someone to talk to. Maybe you can be that someone.”
- DON’T EXPECT QUICK RESULTS: “It’s a very long process and I’m still not done, but It is definitely worth it. You will start to feel the difference once you get the help you need or just talk to someone.”