A person who suffers from depression often has one or two key words which would sum it all up. For me, the word is failure. I have lived much of my live feeling like a failure and no amount of accomplishment out-weighs the sense of failure I feel. I can even put a date on it. My algebra class I had in eighth grade to prepare us for high school math- circa 1970. I struggled with algebra, as poor understanding and genuine fear from my teacher were linked to my failure.
Miss H. scared me with her flabby arms, who wore the same polyester dress in different prints, black, sensible shoes straight out of the movie classics and her tunnel-like nostrils I starred at whenever I was close to her. She had a smoker's voice and cough I would now recognize. She had my older brother in school, who was 14 years older, so she had some mileage on her. I suffered greatly that year, knowing I was an inch from failure and It still haunts me.
While other girls were experiencing hormonal issues, I experienced my first long period of depression, which lead to a collapse in my self esteem, thinking that maybe I wasn't the student, who would become a success or "college-material" as they use to call it. If I wasn't going to make it in algebra, I couldn't do college, so my life was over.
Looking back at all this, my depression grew like a weed. It filled all the cracks in my life. People didn't understand things like this back then. Psychiatry was a new discipline and my parents, for one, would have never allowed me to see a psychiatrist, so I sought out other adults in my life and would "visit" them. I would talk about myself and my life until I left crying my eyes out and the adult wouldn't know what to say, so they would excuse themselves and I would feel relieved that they shared their time and embarrassed that I had just "dumped" all of my emotional toxins in their lap. I would pull myself together until the next time.
So, rather than blame the root of my distress on something big- failure, shattered family life, hatred, or something real, I nominate