My name is Jessica Swanson, and this is my story

I am 19 and I struggle with Depression

After about 2 years of talking about it and changing what I wanted, I finally got my semicolon tattoo. Project Semicolon is an amazing organization that helps promote awareness for self harm and suicide and people overcoming it. Lots of people probably don’t know this, but in 7th and 8th grade I had many thoughts about taking my own life. But with the help of family and friends, I overcame it. I focused on looking forward to my theatre rehearsals, and my friends who meant the world to me there. I thought about my elderly neighbor Dolores, who passed away in my 8th grade year, and how much she cared for me and treated me like her granddaughter. I went to a high school where I knew no one, and ended up meeting my best friend, who was amazing enough to sit next to me while this happened. My sophomore year of high school, I was officially diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. My therapist wanted to put me on antidepressants. I wanted nothing to do with it, I felt like taking medication would mean that I wasn’t strong enough to battle this on my own. Then my mom explained how depression just isn’t a feeling. It’s an actual chemical disorder, and taking antidepressants could be as necessary as a diabetic taking insulin. It helps the body create a necessary chemical to improve your mood. My junior year of high school, I hit another depressive phase. I couldn’t go to school and would to anything to try to avoid it. I became homeschooled for about 9 months, and returned the last quarter as a part time student, taking a few classes online and a few on campus. I remember the night I was going to tell everyone I was going to be homeschooled so vividly. I went to see my schools production of Mother Courage, and I never before have felt so much love from a group of people that weren’t related to me. Everyone affected me in such a way that to this day, I almost cry remembering it. My best friend gave me a necklace with a Liquid Luck charm from Harry Potter. I wore that necklace everyday for a year, and I still do whenever I feel like I need a bit of extra luck that day. Now, I’m in one of the best points in my life. I’m attending my dream college and have made such great friends, ones that I know will be there for me. I am so grateful for everyone who’s helped me become who I am, and I can never repay them. Thank you, to all of you, for standing by me, and caring for me, and reminding me to always fight.

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