When I was a young child, 4 years old to be exact, acting was what I thought my destiny would hold. I spent my days dreaming of Broadway openings and Hollywood movie deals. This colorful vision would follow me until high school when I began to picture myself doing anything else. At times, I wished I had followed another path or craved something different. But the idea of making movies drove me in every way possible. With years of experience to pack my resume, I knew I would have a fighting chance to "make it big". There was always something nauseating about being on a movie set. I never felt at home. But... the words flowed like water dripping from a black cloud. My body moved like lighting striking metal. I felt deeply in love with myself as an actress. My art. My heart. What purpose did I play? After each performance, I was left drained without a pulse. I loved acting because I could be anyone else. I could remove my skin and slip into a fresh, polished skeleton. My pulse could be found while the hot lights beamed onto the stage. But every night, I had to melt from the skeleton and replace my skin. What was underneath could no longer be hidden. And there I would fade... drained without a pulse. My depression clung to my veins like a heroin addict. I was in the 4th grade when I first realized that I suffered from severe mental illness. The only moments that I was not overflowing with depression, were the moments that I could play another person. It never was enough. I still had to come home as me. Nothing could change the heavy black smut soaking my life away. The weight was tremendously heavy. The first time I prayed to God to take my life was when I was in the 6th grade. This would be a ritual for many years. With my cat sitting on my chest, as she always did when I would have an anxiety attack late at night; I called out for God to save me. The pain was unbearable. I didn't want to hurt my family, but I wanted to die. When I was four, my dad surprised me with the most amazing gift... my first cat. After months of begging for a kitten, my wishes were coming true. I was completely and totally in love. Over the years, I loved her more than anything in my life. She saved me. She gave me a reason to continue to fight. Emotion Support Animals were not a common thing at this time, but she was absolutely my Emotion Support Animal. Still to this very day, I can feel her silky fur twirling in between my fingers as I cried myself to sleep so many nights.
Acting gave me wings to cover up the darkness that lived underneath. But it was only a bandage. I was always afraid to remove it fearing that I would unravel. Because of this, I never explored other options for myself. When I turned 20 years old, I had been taking a high dose of medication for depression for a few years and I started to need acting less. I continued to hug it close like a warm security blanket. But slowly I began to remove piece by piece. By doing this, I started to explore what I really wanted. Sitting here today, I am now 25 years old and I still suffer with depression. BUT, it no longer controls my life. My Doctors have described my depression as chronically ill. I am a different person now than the young girl filled with dark pain. Although I have been dignosed with serve depression, I no longer feel it everyday. I know it's there, just waiting in the back ground but I'm okay with that. Over the years, I have worked hard to make piece with my demons. There is light... you just have to hold on. I spent more than 12 years of my life wishing I were dead. Thinking about it now, It's hard to believe that was ever me. Depression is a monster and it can control you in ways you never thought possible.
Today, I am a HAPPY Pre-Veterinary student that wants to specialize to become an Animal Surgeon and furthermore, I plan to sub specialize to become one of the few Feline Kidney Transplant Surgeons in the United States. I made a promise to myself when I was 16. I promised myself that if I could find a way to survive, that I would never let anything stand in my way ever again. I also promised Tigger that I would repay her in some way. Although I did not become the actor I thought I wanted to be, I became more than that. Once I removed the worn out bandage, I could see that acting was just a cover up because I was scared. My sweet partner, Kelsey gave me the courage to run as fast as I could towards every hope and dream I could catch. I found myself desiring to repay a debt... To my first love. Depression is ugly and harmful. I never thought I would be sitting here on the other side of it. But here I am. It does come back and it moves in waves. My Doctors warned that I would be soaked in it for my entire life. I can't say that they are wrong. But I breathe and carry on.
For anyone reading this that deals with depression... You are not alone.