This is My Story: What Depression Really Looks Like

I’ll bet there’s something you don’t know about me…and I’ll bet you know someone else who struggles with this, too. This is my depression recovery story.

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Wow, I had no idea so many people struggle with depression! I love how bravely and honestly this blogger shares her depression recovery story. This has inspired me to approach that friend I know is struggling; before I didn't really know how to talk to her but this has opened my eyes. #depression #anxiety #depressionrecovery #depressionstory #whatdepressionreallylookslike

Sharing my depression recovery story has been in the back of my mind for years, but I’ve always found an excuse to push it back and convince myself it’s not worth telling.

The loudest excuse—I’ve been ashamed. I didn’t want to be reminded of my shortcomings or the dark places that consumed most of my life.

But the absolute worst thing is to feel like you are alone, which is why it’s time to break my silence. So many struggle with mental illness. Either you fight the battle yourself, or you know someone close to you who does. 16.1 million American adults suffer from depression and it’s so much more than the “winter blues”!

My friend, if you’re one of us, you are in good company. You are safe here. And while it might seem like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, I’m here to tell you there is hope.

There is hope not because I’m “cured” of my depression, or because I’ve found a way to “snap out of it.” Neither of those things are true. The truth is, I’ve found a way to cope. And not just cope, but move forward with purpose.

This is my story.

The Beginning of My Depression Recovery Story

In the middle of Junior High, some odd behavior began. Behavior that might seem typical of a teenage girl. But my parents knew it wasn’t.

I began spending hours in front of the mirror, redoing my hair, over and over and over and over and over and over again. I could never seem to get it “right,” so I kept redoing it in an attempt to achieve perfection. Except I never found it.

So I was late to school almost every morning, and between classes, I would spend a ridiculous amount of time in the bathroom redoing my hair…again.

In a way, it was soothing to me. A balm of constancy during a hormonal and emotionally charged time.

14 years old

This compulsive behavior continued to get worse, until eventually, the darkness of my depression started to emerge. My parents finally took me to see a doctor, where I was diagnosed with OCD—Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Depression was part of this diagnosis.

Let me be clear—a lot of people think OCD is a condition super-organized people have. They enjoy things lined up, organized, alphabetized, clean, and in order, and this is laughed at as just another personality quirk. But real OCD is far from laughable.

OCD is actually a mental condition where one thing, and one thing only, gets stuck inside your brain on repeat. You can’t escape those thoughts. They are there, racing and constantly torturing you. Screaming at you inside to do “it,” whatever “it” is, one more time because it’s wasn’t good enough before. And so you give in, because you can’t not.

It’s like you’re stuck in a mental prison where the tape player loops again and again and again.

If I could have gotten rid of the thoughts, I would have in a heartbeat!

But I couldn’t.

No Way Out

I began medication, and my parents tried to send me to a therapist. I made it through about 3 sessions before my mom finally gave in to me screaming and pleading not to go. I was given books, pamphlets, and all sorts of reading material that, in my mind, only explained how damaged I was.

I felt worthless and very depressed. Less of a person. I was wrecked and felt there was no way out. I started hurting myself so I could feel something…anything. Even if it was pain.

Suicide became the next loop on my mental tape player.

My mom spent many sleepless nights on the couch outside my room because she was terrified of what I would do. Thankfully, I never followed through. Those years became one of the many times God’s grace saved me from myself.

16 years old

Get Help or Give In

As the months passed, my life sped up. It seemed there was always a brand new experience to distract me around every corner. I worked my first job, Joseph and I began dating, I started college, we got married, I graduated, and we bought our first home.

Life didn’t get worse; it just didn’t get better.

Joseph has been by my side through much of my depression recovery story
21 years old

Every life change was just another band-aid applied on top of all the others, preventing me from dealing with the real issue at hand. With something else to focus on other than myself, I simply pretended my OCD and my depression weren’t there.

And on the good days, I was very successful.

But on the bad days, I spent most of them on the couch watching TV, immersing myself in a fictional story, or sleeping the hours away, all in an attempt to escape reality.

Slowly, but surely, the bad days began overshadowing the good, my depression grew exceedingly worse, and one night, I spiraled into such a terrifying breakdown that it triggered my very first panic attack.

It was that night that I decided I didn’t want to exist like this anymore. I couldn’t.

It was either get help or give in.

So with Joseph holding me tight and tears streaming down my face, we called a psychologist. I had been given the name by my primary doctor weeks before, but my pride and previous experiences kept me from picking up the phone.

The psychologist became my lifeline that night and made me promise not to do anything until we could talk in person. It was when I made that promise, that I realized not only did I truly want help, I also wanted to truly live.


In Part 2, I’ll share more details about my depression recovery story and healing process, as well as all the practical things I do to fight my depression and manage my symptoms today. 


Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Rest assured, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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  1. Hi Kalyn,

    Your story was hard to read, and I’m sure much harder to write. Thank you for having the courage to share it. Thank you for loving your audience enough to want to help them. If reading this helps save one person, you have done an incredible thing.

    1. Hi Robin,

      Thank you so much for that encouragement. While the mission of has evolved over time, it has always been my goal to help anyone who is taking the time to read any of my posts. Knowing that it has been beneficial to some in some ways has been a relief, knowing that it was worth sharing some of the things I usually keep “hidden” from view.

  2. I have fought depression for over 30 years. I have attempted suicide twice, and came close to doing so again just a few weeks ago. No one around me understands nor seems to care when I cry. I hate myself. I hate life nearly all the time. I hurt from 2 chronic illnesses that others also don’t seem to care, i.e. I am still expected to work, cook, clean, etc. It has only been recently that I have started blogging about mental health. I am tired of the shame that comes along with something I didn’t ask for nor want. My youngest daughter also suffers from mental health issues. I feel guilty for genetically passing that on to her. All this to say that I understand the depth of despair and hopelessness depression and other mental health issues bring. It is a difficult way to live.

    1. Becky,

      I’m so sorry you’re struggling, but I wanted you to know that even though we don’t know eachother, I am praying for you. YOU MATTER. You have a daughter who needs you. Please don’t give up.

    2. Hi Becky,

      Thank you for sharing. The rawness of your emotions clearly comes through in your comment. Thank you letting me know that you understand. It’s something that we often forget to say to each other.

      I’d like to echo that back to you – I understand the struggle you go through each day. I’m glad you’ve found and outlet for your story, and I hope and pray that if you haven’t already found a group of people who can and will support and understand you, that those people will surround you now.

  3. Hi Kayln! Thank you so much for sharing your story! I’m so sorry you had to go through this. My best friend has OCD. Your story reminded me a lot of her. Thankfully, like you she got the help she needed and is doing so well now! She also just recently posted on Facebook about her experience. She was terrified, but the result was SO overwhelming positive! She even had someone say to her that their daughter is currently having a difficult time with their OCD, but that her story gave them hope! So I’m so glad you shared your experience, you never know how or when it will help someone else to not feel alone !! (I’ve also seen this when I share my anxiety disorder experience with others). We are not alone and there is no shame!
    Be well and thank you again!!

    1. Hi Heather,

      I’ve been overwhelmed at the response to these posts and my newsletter where I dove in a little deeper. Thank you so much for taking the time to be an encouragement to both me, and your friend. You’re right – we aren’t alone.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I believe depression is much more common than we realize. I look forward to reading the next part.

    1. Thank you, Dawn.

      I still feel really vulnerable putting this out there – but I hope people find encouragement through my story.

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