My Clinical Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder During Puberty

Puberty hits most kids hard, but mine was a significantly more difficult struggle. Genetics and brain chemistry created the perfect storm, and, at age thirteen, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder. The initial months of undiagnosed agony were the worst. Depression is not evident like a broken bone or a case of the sniffles, and worse yet, it urges the sufferers to hide their symptoms. Constant self—hatred and criticism led me to believe that my problems were my own fault and that I shouldn’t bother anyone with them, and there was little outward sign that anything was wrong with me.

When I stopped eating entirely, however, it became evident that this was no teenage mood swing and I was hauled to a psychologist, My family is well»versed in mental illness; it runs rampant in our bloodline, a hemophilia of the brain, a Hapsburg lip that cannot be bred out.

Everyone in my immediate household has struggled in some way with a disordered mind, from my brother’s crippling and lifelong battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and my mother‘s brief prescription to Prozac in her mid-twenties.

We even have a family psychologist, one Doctor Irving, who has had appointments with everyone but my father, and the stockpile of Zoloft at my house is pretty much up for grabs whenever a family member feels another bout of their respective torment coming on. The first two years of my diagnosis, I crashed and burned. Dr. Irving was incredible, but he wasn’t licensed to write out prescriptions, so I hopped from doctor to doctor to find the medications I needed.

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The first psychiatrist we found was insistent that my insomnia should be treated with heavy sedatives (ones I later found out were often abused for recreation), and the combination of intrusive thoughts and psychoactive drugs rendered me dopey and numb. I honestly don’t remember much of my first two years of high school, and don’t even know what kind of person I was. My days were static, hazy, melding into one another into some dull and formless thing, It took everything I had to stay awake in the daytime, and at night my head was too full of intrusive thoughts to fall asleep After a while I began hallucinating; shadows flickered at the edges of my vision, invisible things took the voices of loved ones and whispered for my attention or said my name at random intervals. At some point my brain sort of shut down and I didn’t even feel real anymore, like life was some twisted simulation, as if my consciousness was separate from my physical body, Time passed strangely, the hours into eons but the days into mere minutes. I floated through life for what seemed like eternity.

But after a few new doctors, we eventually found the medications that worked for me, and I slowly returned to the realm of the living, Depression comes and goes like the tide, and I’ve dealt with this Sisyphean struggle long enough to know what is a day-to-day hiccup and what is an alarm bell, The ceaseless urge to sleep is the first sign the boulder‘s crashing down the hill again. There is a bone-deep, all-encompassing ache, an undefined sense of hurt, which follows soon after. Simple tasks, things I used to love, are no longer appealing. I ignore texts, let my paintbrushes collect dust, watch life slip through my fingers and opt for burrowing under covers, taking catnaps on the sofa. There is the anxiety, too, an incessant buzz of worry at the base of my skull that drives me to sob without tears or noise at random intervals, or claw at my body until it bleeds, like adding bodily injury will somehow ease my suffering.

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My Clinical Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder During Puberty. (2022, Jul 08). Retrieved from

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