Third Occurrence: Age 15-19
The Preliminary Situation
In my ninth-grade year, a year of relative success all around, I had fallen hard for a young man who had gone to school with me since third grade. In the interim between third and ninth grade, we had gone from being friends to inexplicable enemies to acquaintances, but at the end of ninth grade, the pendulum finally swung back toward friendship, and eventually he asked me out.
This glorious moment was, unfortunately, overshadowed by his decision three days later to not see me again. I had had deeper feelings than I expected for him, and so I nursed a broken heart, and began to obsess over him. I never stalked or threatened, but I longed from afar. (Might seem laughable now, but I was very serious about him, and truly believed that since he was the first man to show romantic interest in me, he was The One.)
Though by this time I was a bit more popular with fellow students, my unrequited love made me feel rejected in an intensely personal way. I longed for someone to love me as deeply as I was capable of loving, and so despite feeling a little more respected by my fellow students, I still felt alone. Not to mention that the scars of elementary and middle school treatment were still fresh and raw. I started to believe, especially when he began to date other girls, that he didnít like me because I wasnít perfect. That quickly led to the fear that I would NEVER find anyone who would love me, and that all it would take for people to hate me again would be one mistake on my part.
Depression Creeps In
Depression came slowly and quietly this time, dimming my thoughts but not necessarily throwing me down the rabbit hole. I drifted through tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade, even graduating high school sixteenth in a class of nearly 400 students, all while wrapped up in this fog of vague self-hatred and anxiety. I was prolifically creative during this time--it was quite honestly my lifeline--and I was academically very successful, but it all felt superficial, almost meaningless. Other people congratulated me right and left, and yet I could not find someone who loved the person behind all the accomplishments.
I did my best not to let on, though. I didnít want to acknowledge these sad/numb feelings because by all rights, I should have been happy. I just...wasnít. It was like my happy setting had been broken, even though I could still laugh and smile and pretend. So pretend I did, and I effectively fooled everyone--even, eventually, myself.
The End of the Third Cycle
Because I didnít acknowledge it, this depression wore on much longer than the previous two cycles, lasting almost five years. I started college and felt pretty successful (though things were a bit more difficult academically)--I was doing writing and music, things I loved, and I was bearing up okay. Then, in the spring of my freshman year, the storm broke abruptly.