I never really get a chance to talk about what triggered my first depressed episode. I never get to talk or think through how exactly it has effected me (primarily because I am awful with talking about my feelings). I saw this forum and decided this might be a good place for me to not only share my story (which is intertwined with the death of a loved one) and to finally get out what I've needed to discuss all these years. This is going to be long. So, here it goes. The year: 1999 My age: 10 My Uncle Dennis was the most entertaining, courageous, and downright crazy man I've ever met. He was selfless and loving and was the glue in my extended family. He and his wife had been trying to have a baby for five years and it had finally happened. They were ecstatic. We all were. He was going to be an amazing father. This precious child was going to be so blessed to have him. I had just gotten home from a slumber party and was snoozing away as 10 year old girls never really sleep at slumber parties. I was the epitome of normal; Advance classes at school, dance classes, soccer, softball. I did it all. Life was pretty good. My parents, were away on a trip with some close friends. Partying in New Orleans. My brother and sisters were home with me. I don't know what they were up to that morning (remember, I was out like a light). My grandmother (Granny) was staying with us at our house while my parents were away. It was early afternoon when my older sister comes into my room saying "Rachel, get up and get dressed. We have to go." None of us really knew what was going on at the time. I remember my Granny just asking us to pray in the car. What had happened was my grandfather was at his home and was just leaving to go run some errands when the Police pulled him over (small town, everyone knows everyone kind of thing). They told him to come with them to my Aunt and Uncles house. They didn't tell him why or what had happened at this point. When he called my Granny he was unsure of details but he just told her "something bad has happened, come to Dennis'). When we arrived at the house we were about to run inside when we were stopped by the Police. Soon after some of Dennis' friends arrived and rushed inside. The police left. We (my 3 siblings and myself) were left outside. It was mid April. I just remember being hot, tired, confused, and thirsty. All I wanted was to go inside and get a drink of water. But every time we tried to go inside we were stopped. After about 2 hours someone (I don't even remember who) came outside and told us what had happened. Uncle Dennis was dead. He was in a car accident and he was gone. He was cut short at 34. His wife was 7 months pregnant and his child would grow up without his father. Dennis was gone. 10 years old is that tender age in between knowing what death is and fully grasping the emptiness it leaves. I don't remember my immediate reaction. I don't remember the next few days and I lost the next 5 years. My memory is scattered and missing several important details. Some things have come back to me. But the rest of that day is gone from my memory. What I'm about to type isn't from my memory but more or less from stories and other people's recollections. My parents, like previously stated, were not in town. They were hours away. This is my mothers story of it all. They were in the hotel. My mother was bathing when my dad got the phone call. I do not know who called him. My mom recalls hearing my father and assumed it was a business call (my dad owned a cemetery at the time so it wasn't uncommon for him to have unpleasant/depressing phone convos). When she got out of the tub she went into the hotel room and my dad told her the news. Hours earlier she had bought Dennis a new hat from his favorite restaurant and now he was gone. She said she went numb. They immediately left New Orleans and made the journey back home. She said one of the couples they were riding with got hungry on the way home so they stopped for McDonald's. Mom says she rode home holding the same french fry the entire ride. Unable to eat. To drink. To think at all she said. I do not remember my parents arriving home. I don't remember the tears of my Grandparents or even my siblings. I don't remember if I cried myself that day. The only other memory I can recall from that day is at one point someone had opened the front door (when we were still at my Uncles house waiting outside) and my Aunt was on the couch with that big ol pregnant belly uncontrollably sobbing, inconsolable , surrounded by family and friends, and I remember just wanting to go hug her. It was at that moment I knew how terrible the news was. Like I said, I don't remember the funeral. I don't remember going back to school or having to speak to the school counselor about it. All of that is gone from my memory. My mind blocked off all of that to protect itself I suppose. But just because I don't remember it doesn't mean the story stopped there. A little family history before I continue: Depression and Bi-polar disorder do run in my family (mothers side) as well as ADHD and OCD (fathers side). I believe I was genetically predisposed to suffer from Depression (Bipolar) at some point in my life. Most people have a traumatic event that is the onset of the disorder. Basically I was always a ticking time bomb. It was going to happen. But I believe it happened way to early. Someone cut my fuse short. Way, way short. So, continuing with the story gets a little challenging from here. Like I said between the ages of 10 and 15/16 is a blur. Its as if my body was on autopilot while my brain shut down. Bits and pieces are there, but I've been told stories of things I should remember but simply don't. I don't know what led up to the original onslaught of psychiatrists, pills, therapists, and even nuns. But it must of been bad if my family takes you to that many doctors. I have (recently) discovered suicide notes I wrote at the age of 10. My parents were terrified of me. I became uncontrollable. Knives had to be removed from the house. A mixture of pure rage and immense sadness brewed inside me. I don't remember it, but it happened. What do I remember? I remember never feeling welcomed in my own home. I was greeted with taunting and both physical and verbal abuse from my siblings. Taunting that never ceased. Which was them reacting to me being a depressed mess. I get that now, but it doesn't take away the hurt. I never felt understood, loved, or wanted. I was the outcast and black sheep. I was in and out of different doctors offices, on different medications all the time, talking to people all the time. But that was always difficult. Why? Because talking about how you felt wasn't allowed in our house. No one really wanted to hear how you felt when they asked. I quickly learned to shut up and deal with it. To this day, talking about feelings is difficult. But writing them is much more successful for me. Anyways. Life was hell. I have no other way to describe it. At about 13 the doctors told my parents there was nothing more they could do for me so I stopped going. Once I hit 16 it's like the lights turned back on. I wasn't really depressed anymore (at least I could hide it better at this point). I had a fairly normal high school experience. A couple of depressed episodes. And a handful of (what I now know) manic episodes. No one realized this is what they were at the time. I guess my parents must've just thought I was high all the time. I went to college and it was the same story. Oh, and lots of on again off again antidepressant medicines. In the past year I was diagnosed as Bi-polar 1 disorder. And have been on a battling journey to discover any medicines that will work for me. Turns out the reasons doctors couldn't do anything for me back then, or today, is because my Liver is amazing (also why I have survived 2 suicide attempts). It processes drugs and alcohol at an incredibly fast rate. People always wondered in high school and college why I could drink so much and remain unaffected. I attested that to being Irish. Another side note, because of this fast rate or processing I've also woken up during every surgery I've had. It is quite annoying. Since I process drugs so quickly I become immune to them very fast. In my psychiatrists words "The amount of a drug I would have to give you to help you would poison and kill you in the process". Back to the original story. So since I was 10 years old I've been battling, literally, for my life. It hasn't been easy. And I don't think anyone I am close to realizes what effect it has truly had on me. I was developing my sense of self and who I was in a period which I wasn't mentally sound to do so. I had to develop "me" while I was crippled with depression. How I made it through, I'll never know. But I do know that my thought processes are severely damaged because my only thoughts of myself when I was developing myself were negative, self hating, self destroying thoughts. My ability to create lasting friendships was never fully developed. And my ability to love it really damaged. I have a very hard time trying to correct these things in me because it was so engraved with who I am because that is who I was when I was coming to be Rachel. :/ I've gone off on like 20 tangents. I know. But Dennis dying is the start of my story. I don't blame him. He didn't cause the depression in me. It was going to happen. And that random event just jump started the process. I miss him. And I do wonder if he hadn't died would I still be where I am today? Or would I be "normal"?