Living with depression, bipolar disorder

By ASHLEY MUÑOZ

I recently finished watching the Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why,” based on a novel by Jay Asher. The show is about a depressed teenage girl who commits suicide because of bullying and sexual assault.

There has been a lot of backlash regarding some episodes, but as someone who has gone through similar things as the character, I think it’s pretty accurate.

Yes, I know some scenes were made solely for entertainment and shock value, but all of the events in the series are situations that happen every day to young girls around the world.

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder when I was 13. This spring, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, also known as bipolar.

It’s hard to explain to people what this all is exactly, but I’ll try my best.

You remember Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh? My depression is kind of like that. My anxiety is a little more like Piglet, and my bipolar is both characters put together.

Now that you have Disney characters in your mind, this should be easier.

I was bullied pretty severely in middle school. It was the typical stuff: girls ridiculing me for my weight, guys throwing things at me. All that “good stuff.”

The bullying continued into my high school years, which were pretty rough. I didn’t have the best of friends. They all eventually turned on me and made my life extremely difficult.

It was something most people go through, but I didn’t have the toughest skin.

The library became my safe space, which I think is important for people who deal with depression and anxiety. When everything becomes too much, you need to have a certain place where you can go.

My teen years were literally me against the world. Social media was all the craze and was essentially the reason behind my depression becoming so severe.

I cut my hair because it was the only thing I felt like I could control. I did badly in my classes because I stopped caring. I didn’t see the point in doing work when I couldn’t see a future with me in it. Everything felt pointless and I sort of just gave up.

My mom tried to help me, but I was a typical angsty teen who didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want help; I didn’t think I needed it. I wanted to lock myself in my room and blast Sonic Youth. I thought every teen felt like me, even cheerleaders.

Now that I’m in college, these mental disorders have made my life significantly harder. I have depressive episodes a couple times a month that make me incapable of doing the simplest things. School is difficult. Work is difficult. But, I’m still here and I’m OK.

I’m older and I’ve learned that it’s OK to get help. It’s OK to go to therapy, it’s OK to take medication and it’s OK to not feel OK all the time.

My family’s support, writing and my addiction to Bob’s Burgers have all helped me immensely in feeling better.

A mental disorder isn’t something anyone should feel embarrassed about. I know how easy it is to isolate yourself from everyone, but don’t do it. You need your family; you need some good friends. You’re not alone in this.

Basically, I’m a little broken but that’s OK. It makes me, me.

“You don’t have to let people know you’re doing all right; you can just do all right.” – Bob’s Burgers

 

FYI

If you are dealing with thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

If you want to speak to someone anonymously, you can visit 7cups.com.

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  1. Alan Bishop says:

    Good point, Jai. I know someone with schizophrenia and they sometimes have depression as part of it. Would that be bipolar depression or major depressive order in that case? and if it’s bipolar is it 1 or 2?

  2. Jai Rogers says:

    Major depressive disorder is not bipolar disorder.

    Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, causes extreme highs (mania) and dangerous lows (depression). It is further broken down into bipolar I and bipolar II, depending on the prevalence of specific symptoms.

    Major depressive disorder is a form of severe, long-term depression.

    The two should not be confused, as they often require quite different approaches to treatment.

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