I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression when I was 11 years old. Yes, 11. When I look back on my life, I realize that at that point, I didn’t have the same adolescent years as everyone else. I wasn’t a carefree kid anymore, I was an adult in a child’s body. When my first panic attack happened, I thought I was dying, that this was the end. In 6th grade, I lost over 20 lbs. I started at 90 lbs, and was nearly skin and bones by the time I figured out how to cope with what was happening to me. I was naive, I thought it would all go away after that first round of panic. My hope was that I would be fine if I could just get it under control now, which makes me stupid. I gained back the weight, I had enough time to turn into me again, relatively. And then it hit again. My freshman year of high school, the panic attacks started to come in again, and become more frequent. I lost 20 lbs. again, which I had thankfully gained back since 6th grade, and became tiny again. I lost all of my childhood, again. All of my happiness was taken away, and I remember thinking that this was a life I didn’t want to live. I didn’t think I could handle another round of panic and anxiety, so they put me on medication to try and ease the symptoms. At age 14, I already thought that suicide was the option for me. I was still a child, and I thought that there was no hope for me. I eventually got better, but was constantly scared that it would happen again. And then it did, 6 months ago. I remember calling my mom in the middle of the night and telling her that I couldn’t do this again. I couldn’t handle the toll this took on my body and mind again. I went back to the doctor and a therapist, and my doses were upped. I was given something to calm me down if I ever felt like I was going to have a panic attack. My life was pulled out from under me again. I was drowning, and this time, I had almost lost hope. I started dating someone, a very sweet guy, who thought would always be there for me. But then he left too, and my life felt like a lie. I felt like I couldn’t do anything, like my life was worth nothing. I am here, I am trying to cope. My life was taken from me when I was 11, and small parts of me keep getting taken, parts that I don’t think I can ever get back. Parts that made me the person I was then, not the person I am now. I am not me anymore, I am someone else in the shell of the old me. I look like I did, but I will never feel the same again. I am a 19 year old whose childhood was ripped out from under me, and whose personality will never be the same as it was before. I can never be ok again. I can never be me again, and that scares me more than anything else. That one day, after the depression wins, I won’t have any parts of the old me left. I will never feel whole again, and I may never find that same happiness that was taken from me 8 years ago. I may be a privileged white girl, I may look like I’m happy. I may smile, and laugh at small jokes. I may go to parties, and pretend like I’m having fun. But on the inside, I’m really just sad, and I’m not sure that will ever end. So yes, depression ruined my childhood, and continues to ruin my life now, but I will not give up the fight until I hit the point where there truly is nothing left. When I know that there is nothing for me anymore, when I know that last little bit of happiness is finally gone.