My Story: “Depression Is Not A Battle To Be Fought Alone”

Ruthie HawkinsI am a strong Black woman and I suffer from depression. I recall at a very young age feeling like something was “off.” While in early years, I attributed my emotional roller coaster to abandonment issues associated with adoptive children. It wasn’t until my senior year in high school that things took a toll for the worst. I began the year off on a real high. I had just made the varsity basketball team, met a few college coaches that were willing to come see me play – the world was filled to the brim with opportunity.

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But then it all came crashing down. I was soon after cut off the basketball team due to an error made by my school counselor. Despite a petition letter to the school board, a pathetic personal plea and my parents going to bat for me, the outlook was gloomy. Here I was, coming up on my 18th birthday and everything I had dreamt about since middle school had been ripped away from me. Before I knew it, I had cut myself off from everyone, even my teammates. School took a back seat. I even dropped out months before my graduation. Oddly enough, I felt as if I had no control over my downward spiral.

Family stepped in to the best of their ability but I turned on them. Friends extended a hand and while I wanted to take hold of it, there was a piece of me that was just so overcome by sadness and a loss of interest that I had no reaction at all. Once a bubbly girl full of life, I slowly transitioned into a broken little girl. All the while I thought, ‘this is just a stage… I’ll grow out of it.’ Needless to say, due to a lack of education regarding depression, personality disorders, and my birth mother’s medical history, things began to intensify.