Hey blog readers, it’s me Howie Defranco and today’s topic is going to be all about depression. Depression to me at least is a very personal subject and not in the sense that I went through a great depression of my own, but in the fact I see it as different for everyone. When you look at it, it’s a wide variety of causes that can bring a person to this state as well as different emotions that go along with it. People who go through it can experience different sets of these emotions and go through different experiences because of it. I guess the point I’m trying to get across is I view depression as each persons own personal cage and unless someone’s experience is exactly the same it’s almost impossible to compare. Anyways I’m going to talk about my own personal past story a bit, that lead me to my personal state of depression. Before we get into that though let us start with a little more discussion of the causes of it and the emotions associated with it. I know, we all want to get straight to the big juicy steak but we got to eat our vegetables first or these blogs will stray from the way I want them.
So the causes of depression, basically speaking I feel can be summed up in nine main categories that would have too many sub categories to list. We’re going to start with the grieving of a loved one as depression is one of the major stages associated with it, it’s very easy with the stress and sadness to fall into depression. As in some cases it can come as a shock to the system putting you into a more receptive state for depression. Then you have abuse, mental, physical, sexual, emotional, doesn’t matter which, they can all not only be the direct causes of depression but can make you much more susceptible to other causes. Such as substance abuse, that’s right those of you who partake in it not only can it take the edge off, it can put the edge on. In the same breath though some medication you get from a doctor can lead to depression and major depression disorders, you really should read those side effects more often.
Genetics is the next cause as a history of depression in your family means a good chance you will end up depressed in life as well. It’s not just our genetics though as the biology of someone with depression has been shown to be slightly different then those of someone not in the state. For example, the hippocampus a part of the brain that receives the serotonin your body produces which is a neurotransmitter that affects the brains mood. Essentially it helps you be happier if you receive more. Anyways that’s enough of the science stuff let’s get back to the causes. We were at number five as I count genetics and biology as scientific causes for depression.
Not to say the other ones aren’t scientifically proven just that those ones are the inside the body causes of what can actually cause it. You can’t say the others aren’t as we’re coming to some of the biggest causes, ahem, conflict: fights with friends, with family. If you have a big enough blow out or they say the wrong thing it goes to far and your personal relationship becomes your biggest stressor putting you into a state of depression. This also goes another way though as the stress that comes from major life events can actually cause you depression and I don’t just mean the bad ones, I mean the good ones. Like getting married, having a child, losing a job, moving etc as sometimes they send big enough shocks to the system to just shut you down, isolate you and make you feel lost. Depression can both co exist or be caused by a serious illness or other mental disorders, you don’t have to think hard for examples, for one anything where the doctor sets the clock at how much longer you’ll live. Finally other personal problems which include isolation, rejection, even just something as simple as a relationship status.
That brings us to the emotions caused by depression, which is why I particularly feel depression is very personal. Depression is a very versatile state of mind and if your sitting there reading this and going it just means there sad, well buster you don’t know jack. It’s a mixture of any of these emotions and sometimes all of them, anger, sadness, hopelessness, loneliness, aimlessness, laziness and tiredness (these two are very different by the way), anxiety, self loathing and recklessness. Take that puberty there’s a new ball of confusion in town and it destroys you little by little. It feels like life, the world, even your loved ones would be better off with out you.
Well that was the vegetables I guess it’s time for the main dish, if you read my first blog this is one of the reasons I listen to music so much. This story is all about the major event that caused me to go through my own bout of depression as if I added everything from beginning to end I’d have nothing to talk about in future blogs.
Enough delays, it all started a long time ago in a school far, far, away, well 20 minutes if you walk. I was a grade 9 straight A student and yes I was the guy who sat there in class never studied and always had not only the in class assignment but the homework for that night done before he left school unless it required a lot of work. I was in band class learning to play the saxophone, she was a clarinet player who sat in front of me. Her and others names for purposes of privacy have been changed, for example she is Sarah (props to anyone who guesses the reference here) I really liked her and she was in my science class at the time as well and we were ok friends. She started complimenting me a lot, saying I was a good judge of character and that I was really smart and nice because I helped anyone in the class that asked me. I really started to like this girl a lot but I had a lot of confidence issues and didn’t want to tell her how I felt. Those issues stemming partly from the fact I’d been rejected by my elementary school crush in grade 7, that was a debacle in its own right.
That’s not the story to tell right now though, we come to grade 10. I guess before I go any further I should say in high school I never wore anything but sweatpants and am a bit overweight. I decided I was gonna ask her out but then Hans this foreign student who had just come to our school beat me too it. I hated him for it but decided to try to just become better friends with her, as the months went on that’s what happened I was as good a guy as I could be to her and he was a rude, arrogant, scumbag. I’d find her often crying at lunch or over text because he was doing something upsetting her. I understand in a relationship it’s normal to fight, it’s normal to get upset but to the extent was horrible.
Grade 11 I decided if she didn’t want to leave him there was nothing I could do about it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about her. By this point mostly anyone else who know me knew how I felt, it’s something that is important to the later part of grade 11. December came and went and things were getting worse between them, this guy was yelling at her over the dumbest things like putting his bag on the floor in the cafeteria or the fact her hands were pale. Whenever it came to the point where she’d talk to us about it I’d never told her to break up with him because I was afraid that would reflect badly. So I always told her she needs to stand up to him and say it isn’t right and that we’d, me and her other friends would be there if she was nervous. At the very least that she should talk to him, at this point though trying to help her save a relationship i was hoping would end drove me up the wall.
I felt like I was losing my mind, that my heart was trying to drive me insane and that’s why it chose to like her and care so much for her. I walked in one morning in February about an hour before school as I liked getting there early and sitting to listen to tunes. There she is, at my spot crying her eyes out ” everyone’s going to be so happy he finally dumped me” she said sobbing. He actually dumped her because “she wasn’t enough of his culture” and he started dating someone of that culture two weeks before this. I gave her space after this, in the sense that I was there for her as a friend and didn’t dare make a move. Then of course one of the people who knew went and told her how I felt, I wanted to punch that person so much. Instead of waiting for things to get awkward or for her to come to me, on April 3rd 2012 I go and kamikaze myself. I told her how I felt and Sarah said exactly this “yeah a few other guys have said that to me this week.” Then she just kind of looked at me smiled and I walked away feeling like I got hit with a baseball bat. She blew it off like my feelings everything I did for her, to make her just smile meant nothing.
We didn’t talk the next couple months, I became very lazy at school and started to feel incredibly lonely. I knew I had friends there for me but it didn’t matter I couldn’t see past my own self pity and loathing for liking her in the first place. I left school early every day, became a loud mouth in class just to get attention, and wore sunglasses inside a lot to hide my red eyes on the days I cried. I didn’t want to do anything I even had my mom call and say I was sick somedays and I just stayed at home in bed. The summer started and I almost did something looking back on now I would’ve regretted, I was going to take a razor to my wrists tear up as far as I could on my arm and rip the veins out with it. Which of course I never did.
Things got better over that summer I started getting back to being me and in grade 12 her and I started talking again, we tried being friends. Also I started to like Hans he turned out to be a not so bad guy after all of course she hated him now. That year was emotionally charged for me both from bad and good influences I mean it’s the final year of high school how could it not have been. Sarah started dating another guy and I went on to be friend zoned by like 5 different girls that year. Then prom came her boyfriend couldn’t come as Karl was in a younger grade and well I think it’s quite obvious my date was named nobody. She and I oddly enough ended up spending most of the night dancing together. Then her parents shipped her off to Kamloops.
It wasn’t till about a week later I found this out, the next year we spent texting back and forth a lot. As all of this was going on my grades started slipping, I started just not working, I even failed a class. I lost basically all but three of my friends from high school because of another person who will no doubt be the centre of a future blog. I just felt like it was hopeless I didn’t have her I put all my determination into trying to be the guy for her and I failed. I failed to even get a date, and not one of the girls I met since either which just contributed to the utter lack of confidence and complete self loathing.
She got a job got her own apartment with a roommate, broke up with karl and was doing ok but was really lonely. I figured this was my last chance to show her I’m the right guy and in the August of 2015 I went out to visit her, spent money I didn’t have and spilled my heart out. She flat out just said were better as friends, I accepted this left her and came home. We continued to text back and forth. Over that summer I decided that I had enough of failing myself, made a couple more friends, was more social with the friends I already had and at work. Was going to give it my all at school too, and then Sarah just stopped talking to me. I was trying to find out if she had this thing I wanted to get her for her birthday, but 2 months and 5 different attempts to talk to her later, I had to accept that she was just done with me. Then I found out she moved back here and I was heart broken as it was during the time I was just trying to talk to her. I didn’t even get a hi or let’s grab lunch.
Nope I was just cut out and rejected like an appendix before it explodes and infects the person it resides in. The saddest part being she knows, everyone knows I would never do anything to hurt her, or anything creepy, or that I would continue past that point I told her even that night I told her everything. That I was fine with that but that I had to try one last time. After that, I basically gave up on school as I had no drive for it at all and am currently still in a state where I don’t even suggest I’m good enough to be something more than I am in this life, mind you now it’s become more a question of what to do with my life. I became bitter and aggressive towards my customers at work although not so much anymore. This time at the very least I had real friends whose shoulders I leaned on without crying as I did enough crying over her the first time was my mindset.
I know that it’s hard maybe to see how it all links together, if you were to meet me in person, I feel I could convey this story better and show just how much it pains me to remember Sarah. Unfortunately this is just some words on a page and I’m not an author, I’m a speaker. If you feel this way, I’ll tell you right now and yes it’s going to sound like fortune cookie talk here but life goes on. You don’t have to be over it in 5 minutes, this for me has lasted years and I truly think I’m just starting to be myself again truly. Just remember just because there might be a stumble, a fall along the way doesn’t mean you can’t get to the finish.
“Causes of Depression: Genetics, Illness, Abuse, and More.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
“Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs.” Depression Symptoms & Warning Signs: How to Recognize Depression Symptoms and Get Effective Help. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.