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    Posted May 5, 2014 by
    hhowren
    Location
    Georgia
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Going public with mental illness

    How a Flute Saved My Life

     
    A history of depression runs in my family. I had my first brush with depression and suicidal thoughts when I was just 12 years old. I had been depressed for months without knowing what that's what it was or what it meant. Then one day in December of 2006, I reached my breaking point. I decided that I couldn't stand the pain of being alive anymore and that I would do the world at large a favor and kill myself. I thought I had found a win-win solution to the problem. That night, I wrote a letter to my parents and prepared to overdose on a combo of my mother's sleeping pills and aspirin. I had the pills in my hand to consume when my mother informed me that if we didn't leave right that second we would be late for my music lesson. I figured it wouldn't be fair to my instructor if I dropped dead in her living room so I decided to wait until I got home and die in my own bed. On the way to my lesson, however, my mother asked me what was wrong. And while I didn't tell her I'd been planning to kill myself, I broke down, started crying, and told her a lot of how I'd been feeling lately. By the time I got home again that evening I was too emotionally drained to do anything but collapse into my bed and go to sleep.
    After that night, I contemplated suicide a couple more times over the years; although I never got to the point where I was on the verge of acting on the thoughts.
    My depression came back full swing during my junior year of high school. It triggered an anxiety disorder and the pair of them together got so severe that I all but dropped out of school for 5 months. I was so depressed and I would have such intense anxiety attacks in the morning when my alarm would go off for school that eventually mother just stopped making me go. I began seeing a wonderful therapist twice a week and a psychiatrist, who prescribed me antidepressants, every few months to try and get my depression and anxiety controlled enough to go back to school. It was a long, hard fought battle but I eventually did return to school, where things only got harder. I was 5 months behind in work during the most crucial year of my high school career, as well as constantly being assigned new work and preparing for AP exams. The fact that I might not pass the eleventh grade, graduate from high school on time, and attend college was very real and very nearly missed. Thankfully, I had a great support system of friends, family, teachers, and doctors working to help me succeed in school and in my mental health. I graduated high school on time, with honors, and in the top ten percent of my class. I was accepted into almost every college to which I applied and after a few speed bumps and mistakes on my part, I will be graduating in 2016 from the University of Georgia with a degree in Political Science. I'm also spending an entire month abroad this summer getting to explore new places, meet new people, and try new things; an opportunity I never would have had if I had gone through with my plan that night 7 1/2 years ago.
    Because I didn't kill myself, I made life long, wonderful friends, became really close with my parents, experienced amazing and trying things, and used my experiences to become a person I'm proud of and am happy to be every morning that I wake up. I was able to find my calling in life and the kind of people I want to surround myself with. I am endeavoring everyday to become a human rights lawyer to help anyone and everyone I can. For a long time I thought the world would be a better place without me but now I'm striving to make it a better place BECAUSE of me and everyone like me who strives to contribute and improve our society for all who dwell within it.
    Depression is a multi-faceted monster. It can make you want to die, so lethargic/melancholy that you feel like you're already dead inside, or so overwhelmed and anxious that you feel you're about to explode, or a million other things my depression has not led me to experience. I've gone from rock bottom to climbing higher everyday. Some days the climb is harder and slower than others and some days I take a step or two backwards but that's ok! I got help and I still see my therapist every couple of weeks. It gets better and I get better because I never stop working at it. Even at my most depressed these days, I never regret one second of the last (nearly) 8 years I've been able to live; all because of that music lesson.
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