Whenever I would tell people that I got depressed at 16, their reactions were almost always the same. Someone some would say, “Oh, I am sorry for what happened to you. You must have had a rough childhood to get diagnosed with that. If not that, I would hear something like, “I hope you have gotten away from your mom and dad.”
Whenever I heard all those things, I would tell those people to stop blaming everything on my parents as calmly as possible. It is unfair for my parents to be accused as the cause of my depression. Granted, it happened when I was young – when I was living under their roof – but I went through some circumstances in life that they did not know of until the crap practically hit the fan.
What Brought On My Depression
You see, I had always been a lonely person. I did not have many friends growing up; I was mainly happy to stay in my room, read a book, or watch TV with the family. Sometimes, my parents would feel the need to pay my cousins so that they would drag me out of the house and hang out with me.
This worked for the most part, and I learned to like my cousins’ friends. However, when I turned 15 years old, we played spin the bottle. The basic idea was that whoever the bottle’s mouth would land on, they would choose who to kiss.
When it landed on a girl named Trisha, the boys oohed because they were eager to get chosen by a cute girl. But everyone went quiet when she pointed at me.
Back in those days, girls kissing other girls was hardly a thing. And if there were ever a lesbian in the midst, you would know immediately because they wore boy clothes. However, Trisha was as girly as you could get with her skirts, long hair, and poise. Because of that, no one knew that she was batting for the same field until that moment.
What did I do, you might ask? I would be a wuss if I ran away, so I let Trisha kiss me. Her lips were so soft and tasted like strawberry due to her flavored Chapstick. I would not have known that we were kissing for a couple of minutes if my cousins did not pull her away from me.
I did not tell anyone about it, but that was the day I realized that I was a lesbian.
Why I Got Depressed
Before going home, I made my cousin’s promise to keep what happened a secret – especially to my parents. While they often told me that I should not have a boyfriend my age, I did not think they would appreciate it if I came to the house with a girlfriend. Luckily, my cousins were fantastic, so they vowed not to tell anyone about my gender discovery.
The thing was, Trisha and I began to date soon after that. I guess it was a blessing in disguise that she could not come out to her parents as well, considering she was extra careful not to get caught when we’re out. We could only be ourselves whenever we were behind closed doors, pretending to have slumber parties.
I was too naïve to think that my relationship with Trisha could go on forever. One day, she merely called to say that she was moving to another state with her parents. I said we could still make it work, but she did not even want to think about it.
The breakup technically made me feel blue, but what got me depressed was that I could not cry to my parents about it. They would get upset about me breaking their #1 rule. Then, their feelings might worsen if they learned that I was into girls.
Only when I started having suicidal thoughts that I felt the need to ask for mental help.
How Did My Parents Take It?
My parents were both shell-shocked, of course. I got so good at hiding my gender preference and my depression from them that they did not see anything amiss in the last few months. We even celebrated my 16th birthday in the Bahamas, and they never saw a smile leave my face.
If I was honest, my mother took the news a little worse than my father. As a traditional woman, it was challenging for her to accept that her only daughter might someday get married to another woman instead of a man. However, I begged her not to worry about that for now because I was still young, and anything could happen.
My parents took me to the only psychiatrist at the city proper for a diagnosis. When the doctor confirmed my assumption, I felt more relieved than scared. Finally, I had a name for all the loneliness, emptiness, and darkness I had been going through: depression.
But what’s the next step after that?
Note: This is one-half of a two-part blog. Stay tuned for the next one.