May Column Winner

The night Depression didn't win
By Jaden Jennings, Tri-County Herald

I told myself this cool evening in April would be my last.

Driving home from cheer practice, I was crying and bashing the steering wheel, cursing God for not helping me to overcome this deep sadness.

When I got home, I headed straight to the medicine cabinet.

Without thinking twice, I swallowed an 800 milligram Motrin and wished things could be different, that I could just feel different.

Another pill followed, then another and another until I hit more than 10. I write my suicide note in a text, almost regretting what I had done, but not enough to back out of it now.

This moment, though, was not the end for me. I tried to go to sleep that night, but something kept waking me up. It was as if some higher power refused to let me die and let sleep take me away.

No, not that night in 2014. My life would not be finished. When the next morning did finally arrive, I threw my guts up and felt more groggy than I ever have in my life.

This was enough for my parents to know something was wrong.

After my mom started screaming and crying and my dad started dialing the number for poison control, I realized I needed to change.

I had put so much pressure on myself to be perfect that I forgot to just be me.

Unfortunately, Depression is a topic glided over, and most of the time, shoved under the rug.

As a guilty culprit of believing Depression did not exist in the flesh, but just a made up “feeling” for attention, I was in for a rude awakening when it took me as its victim.

Growing up, I was a happy kid. No care for anything in the world other than swing sets and playing dress up.

Fast forward 11 years to a sophomore world history classroom.

Nothing out of the ordinary for this year, until my personality started to cripple and my perfectionism took over.

I was always super involved with school. I was captain of my high school cheerleading squad, president of my class and a straight A student.

Things seemed to be going my way, until they weren’t.

One day, I remember not eating. I wanted to fit into my cheerleading uniform, but this little diet turned into 35 pounds gone that didn’t need to be.

The weight loss though, still wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to lose more. The straight As still weren’t good enough for me. I wanted a higher ACT score.

My held positions still weren’t good enough for me. I wanted to hold even more.

Get the picture?

Because of these unrealistic expectations I set for myself, emptiness took over. I keep reaching for goals that I could never quite stretch high enough for, and the result? Sadness and inadequacy.

However, instead of the desire to keep pushing myself to succeed in each area of discipline, I started shutting down.

Quickly.

There was an indescribable sadness that took over my body, so bad in fact, that it caused me to do the unthinkable.

As it took me a while to get over, I can now write this as an upcoming senior in college to say that just being who you are created to be, is enough.

Of course, strive for your goals yes, but don’t lose sight of enjoying life along the way.

You are worthy, you are loved, and you are bigger than Depression.

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