Sarah dropped out of Year 12 in 2014 to face her enemy of depression and courageously seek professional help to regain her mental health. But she always determined she would complete her schooling and now, with boldness, she has returned to complete 2nd semester this year.
Have you ever found yourself in a moment of life where you feel like you just can’t do it anymore? Where everything seems absolutely hopeless and miserable?
This is where my mindset was last year. I was in grade 12 and life seemed to be going great... until the moment it wasn’t.
I can’t really remember exactly what happened, but for some reason my mind went from light to dark in the same amount of time it takes to turn off a light switch.
All of a sudden I found myself extremely moody (more than just teenage hormones) and getting really agitated over the smallest things that occurred.
It wasn’t until my mum tricked me into going to see my doctor that I found out I was suffering from severe depression, and just like that, it felt as if I’d finally reached rock bottom.
I had found school difficult, to say the least. Mum and I would be in fights every morning with her trying to get me up to go to school. I was close to failing most of my classes due to my attendance being so low. The doctor suggested I go see a counsellor and psychologist to help me work through my depression.
I hated the idea of that even before I started! I was just thinking of the whole 'shrink' stereotype. At the time I didn't feel I needed help and I definitely did not want it either. I think what I hated most about the idea was that everyone would start thinking I was crazy.
Coming to terms with the fact that I was ill (mentally) and being willing to accept help was really hard because I had been in denial for so long - "of course there was nothing wrong with me"! I was one of those people who hated asking for help, I did everything on my own and wanted to keep tight control. I COULDN’T STAND being seen as weak.
The turning point came when I saw how concerned my family and friends were for me. It was written all over their faces. I was in a rut and this would lead me nowhere in life. I began to realise I just couldn't stay down forever.
So I decided I wouldn't let depression beat me and call itself a winner over me.
As the counsellor and I got to know each other better, after just a few sessions, I could start to feel a slight difference. The psychologist helped me to focus on how I was feeling and then to figure out why I was feeling that way. I began to identify my negative thought patterns and counter attack them with positives - for instance, I began focusing on what I loved doing, my hobbies and my passions. After that life became easier.
I'm still in the process of figuring out whether I have totally lost the depression but I feel nowhere near as horrible as I did at the beginning of this journey. The dark storm clouds that were consuming me have dispersed and now I've found joy in life again. Some days there can still be grey clouds, but what's life without a little rain?
What's been so cool is that since being back at school my grades have skyrocketed! I got an A in maths (that's never happened - if you knew me you'd know how bad I have been at maths) and I'll be an official high school graduate in a few weeks! This is a big deal for me, it's been a dream my whole life.
If I can say one thing to you all - though I don't know your story and I don't know what you're going through - there is something more for you out there! Just know that a dark season won't last forever - and you can find solace knowing you really do have strength that is just waiting to burst out of you!
Support is there, asking for help is hard but we’re not meant to go it alone.
You and I are overcomers!
by Sarah Stinton
Have you been through something similar to Sarah? What has been most helpful for you? How would you encourage other young women going through this?