This I Believe

Jessica - Van Horne, Iowa
Entered on March 28, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that people create their own happiness.

In order to deal with life head on, you have to be able to pinpoint the good things about it.

I know that sometimes life can seem unbearable. Sometimes I feel like the only way out is through death—that my friends and family will be better off with me gone. But once I find that happiness in life again—whether through writing, talking to a friend, or just being reminded of how much my friends and family love me—I am so glad to be alive.

I have what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is an exaggerated sadness caused by the shortened days of fall and winter. My depression and lack of energy become debilitating.

During my freshman year in high school, I tried to slit my wrists. I grabbed a pair of scissors one day and sat inside my closet, staring at my arms. All I wanted was for my mother to come in and ask me about what was going on in my life. She never came to me…never even noticed I had disappeared into the depths of despair for hours on end.

During my junior year, my depression worsened. Brought on by the death of my Grandfather, I started having anxiety attacks frequently. I would start to hyperventilate and bang my head against the wall, hoping to make my brain stop freaking out. It took me six months that year to convince my mother that I wasn’t perfect. That I needed help—that I wanted help. We went to the doctor and I was prescribed Paxil. But those pills didn’t do anything for me…not really. It was basically like I was given a placebo. If I forgot to take my pill one day and had an attack, I would tell myself, “Oh, it’s because you didn’t take your anti-depressant,” but that wasn’t true.

After a month’s worth of Paxil, my mother decided that I didn’t need it anymore, so she took me off it. Truth be told, I didn’t need it. It didn’t help me at all. I found out the hard way that I have to find my own happiness. It’s still hard, especially when I am alone. My mind starts to wander and I think about all the horrible things I’ve done to people. But whenever this happens now, I either take out my poetry notebook and jot my thoughts down into verses, or call a friend to help me console.

I have a boyfriend now who loves me and is constantly there for me, helping me each step of the way. When I think about hurting myself, I think of how he would feel. It stops be from doing anything, because I don’t want to hurt him. We’ve figured out that having each other is the greatest gift in life. And that life, itself, is amazing…if you let it be.