My Depression Story: Childhood memories

My Depression Story: How I made the smiles, laughter, and music return 

I don’t know how to make this post look pretty with headings and pictures so I’m just going to write it. The thing is, depression is not pretty and there aren’t turning points when you know the depression is coming or pictures to know exactly what it looks like or even what it might look like. My Depression Story is my own and it is my truth. It may not look like yours and you may be surprised or you may totally relate to it and it may just make an impact. For me, I just want to write it and, while I hope you read it and like it or read it and it makes an impact on you, I mostly just want to write it for me, my family, my future, so I will know what it looked like for me at this point in time.

As I began this post and so much came out, I realized this will take a lot longer than one post. So many people post wordless on Wednesday, but I am going to continue this series on Wednesdays. Please come back each week as I work on this story. I promise it has a happy ending!

For as long as I can remember, I have been depressed. When I was younger (as in before age 10) it was manifested as shyness, withdrawal, and extreme sensitivity. I didn’t have a name for it back then and my parents didn’t really understand.

My mom was fairly outgoing, opinionated, and a strong-willed woman. She got what she wanted or she wasn’t afraid to say what was on her mind. She knew that if we were in a store or restaurant and she was about to complain, she needed to give me a heads up and I would walk away to another aisle so I wouldn’t be embarrassed.

My dad was shy and introverted, but he drank to come out of his shell and then he became a party animal. My parents drank and partied every single weekend. When things got loud and “silly”, I would either retreat to my room to read or get angry and slam door or storm around. When I was angry, I would be laughed at and disregarded. When I was quiet, nobody knew.

My older sister was outgoing and friendly and liked to push her limits. She got into fights with my mom often because they were both so strong-willed. She was a “good kid” with good grades, but she got into trouble often. I can remember her fighting with Mom and I would sit quietly in the corner or in another room. After their fight, I would come to Mom and ask her if I had been good and she would say yes and I felt better about myself. Stacie and I were not very close when we were young because we were so different. We fought about everything. We are close now and I am so happy. I remember when she went to college, I cried and missed her so much. That is when we started to become friends and I love that about our relationship.

My younger sister was the true baby of the family and everyone doted on her, myself included. I don’t remember her much as a baby, but I can clearly remember her around two years old and older. She was “my” baby. She and I would fight like cats and dogs and then we would love each other a lot. She got into trouble a little when we were young and I can remember her just getting spankings for it.

The one thing that I remember about my childhood the most is that I don’t remember a lot. I don’t know if I can really attribute that to depression or if there are things that I subconciously want to forget (there are things that I wish I could forget) but it is weird and frustrating to not have memories, especially the really good ones.

My family is different, like everyone else’s I’m sure, and I want to remember and record it all. I’ve asked some family members to help me to especially remember why and how I became so depressed. My older sister has told me that I was always introverted, but what she pointed out that was impactful to me is that our family never put emphasis on being strong and proud of our accomplishments. We weren’t encouraged to be outgoing  and happy. We were left to our own devices many times (not neglected, but not nurtured to be individuals). This series is not about negativity toward my family at all. I had a very loving and close family growing up.

This is about my truth, my memories, my desire for more memories, and my journey to understand my own depression.

If any of my family members read this and they want to contribute to my depression story, help me with memories, dispute what I think I remember, please do so! I love hearing stories about my own life, my own family, and memories from other people about me. It helps fill in the gaps that depression has caused in my mind and it nourishes my soul.

Have you suffered from depression and want to tell your story? Have you told your depression story on your own blog or in a book? Please share it with us here! If you need a platform, my blog is wide open for you!

I’m linking up to Pour Your Heart Out.


  1. Rachel says:

    Thanks for spilling your guts to us! Sometimes healing can only begin when we tell others of our struggles. I battled a slight depression when my uncle died when I was 8. After that gained weight and moved schools. I call them my “funk” years cause I was just in a funk and would cry a lot. The thing I remember the most was being anxious about everything. I will be interested to hear your story and how it unfolds and the happy ending! <3 Rachel

    • janet says:

      Thank you, Rachel! It gets better and I hope I can portray it the way I lived it (and continue to live it).

  2. Shell says:

    Good for you for telling your story- and for inviting family members to help you. We all have different memories of what happened in our childhoods.

    • janet says:

      Thank you, Shell. It means a lot that I can share this and people come by to read it.

  3. Hi Janet! As you know, I have my own dealings with depression as well. I think it’s very important to get to the core of what triggers your depression. I know that therapy has been a big help for me, along with communicating with people who share in my struggles.

    One of the worst things you can do for someone who is depressed is tell them to forget, or tell them that it’s all in their head. Things are so much more complicated than that.

    It’s good that you came out with this. I hope more people will, because this is a problem that affects more people than society would like us to believe. Some of us don’t just “have bad days.”

    • janet says:

      Thank you so much for the support. It means so much that people know what I feel and speak with kindness and empathy.

  4. You are brave for putting this out there. I struggle with depression too and I have a strong family history of bipolar and ADHD. I have a very vivid childhood but I wish I could suppress some of it. I am here when you ever need to talk.

  5. Jamie says:

    So glad you are sharing your story. I struggle with telling certain parts of my story because I know how some family will react. I think it’s important to own your story and to share it! You have no idea who you might touch but most importantly, you are working on your own healing.

  6. Reading your sister’s comments made me think about my brother and me – How we see things and remember different things about our childhood… I think I was more like your sister (but was considered the “good kid” and ‘the favored” one) while J was not as outgoing but got into a TON of trouble. It is crazy how different our memories can be!! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I am still working on a #ThisIsMe post it is so hard to choose what to write about because there is soooo much!!

    • janet says:

      Melissa, just hit “go”! This is my 3rd or 4th so far and while some are similar, they all address something different. This blog IS me so I’m just writing it and hoping someone will eventually read it!

  7. I applaud you for sharing your story. That takes a lot of guts, so I guess you’re stronger than you think! I suffered from depression big time through my teen years. Some days, I still feel the pain, but my mind is stronger to control/let go that it used to be. Big hugs to you mama!

    • janet says:

      Thank you Melissa. Sometimes my mind is strong enough to control it and sometimes not. I am on medicine and that is where this story is leading, but for now, I’m hoping to just share my story as it comes out and maybe get some memories back.

  8. I love the honesty in this post Janet. I touched on my depression in a post I wrote last week. It felt good to even put it down, in writing. I’ve suffered from depression my entire life. It runs in both sides of my family. And yes, I was sexually abused as a child as well. There’s several other traumatic events I experienced that would blow people’s socks off if I ever wrote about them…I’m just not ready yet but thank you, thank you, thank you for talking about depression and opening the doors for others to do so as well. Hugs <3

    • janet says:

      Kimberly, I am headed to read your story as well. I think it is so cleansing to write and so helpful for others to read!

  9. I love you my friend. That is all.

    • janet says:

      I love you, too, Christy Lee! (I don’t know where the Lee comes from, but it sounded right)

  10. Brandi says:

    Janet, I’m so proud of you for sharing your story. Not only will it help others, but it will help you, too. I experienced some pain in my childhood, and push through depression as an adult. You are not alone, Friend.

    • janet says:

      Thank you for coming by, Brandi, and letting me know. It is cleansing to start getting it out. And it all has a VERY happy ending, I promise.

  11. Lisa says:

    Just remember that your truth is just that. As somebody said above, this is your story. Don’t worry if it steps on toes or hurts feelings. As somebody who has blogged about personal issues in her life also, there area a whole band of us who will hold you hand as you take this journey.

    • janet says:

      Thank you. I’m afraid that I may need more hand holding than I thought I would.

  12. Depression should never be hidden and you should never be made to feel ashamed because you have it o shared it with others. It is a big step to talk about it. I know the effects all to well. Sharing will not cure it, but the people who read and share back will make you fell less alone in your battle. Kudos and XOXOX!!

    • janet says:

      Thank you, Rebecca, it means a lot to have so many people supporting this writing.

  13. Thanks for being so REAL – it’s so important for people to talk about what they feel, what they remember, what life is like for them. So kudos to you and I hope this journey will help you heal.

    • janet says:

      It’s definitely not stylized here and the gaps in my memories make it feel even more real.

  14. I think it is very brave of you to share your story. There are many out there who suffer from chronic depression, I am one of them.

  15. About the missing memories. I think those are built in walls of protection around our hearts. I wouldn’t try too hard to go knocking them down! =) I have a lot of blank spots.

    Like you … I battled melancholy from the time I was VERY young! It was never diagnosed as depression or treated. Some times I think that if it had been … I might have been able to better avoid this layer of fat that I wrapped myself in. Maybe not? But I think that those blank spots are probably my valleys and God has erased them from my memory to protect me from further hurt!

    The only one that frustrates me is a memory of hitch hiking in Acapulco. I was 17, “invincible,” and stupid! I remember being in the back seat of the car being driven the opposite way of where we asked them to take us. I remember the car (2 guys in the front seat) pulling into a driveway out in the middle of nowhere. NOTHING after that. You can imagine what my imagination can do with that one! =)

    • janet says:

      Wow, Beth, I honestly thought this memory thing was just my bad brain. I have always wished I had a better memory. Hearing your story, now I’m reconsidering.

  16. I put a note in my “author bio” recently that says, “What you will read here is my story, from my perspective, and in my words. Some may see these stories differently.” Because even 2 children growing up in the same family can remember a completely different childhood. It’s about perspective. My mom told me a few times that I remembered my childhood (of which I have VERY limited memories) incorrectly. I finally explained to her that I didn’t want to hear that because I wasn’t judging anyone else for what they had or had not done. I was just sharing the story of my experience from my point of view. She hasn’t commented on my blog since then. Sigh …

    • janet says:

      I have two sister who remember our childhoods different than me and I shared growing up with each of them in very different families. It’s all perspective. This is just my story.

  17. Beth Pike says:

    Man, first series and I already cried! I love it tho! Very interesting and gives me an outlook on things I may not know or think differently about! I think u should also like document this somehow and have it printed for later use!!!

    • janet says:

      Thank you, lil sis! I might turn it into something someday. It is printable, but now I have to figure out where to go with it next. :-/

  18. Stacie Gay says:

    Perspective and memories are a funny thing…I have often said that I was generally a good kid…would push my limts…but that I didn’t get into too much trouble. It’s funny that you saw it as me getting in trouble a lot. I think all of us in our immediate family have/do struggle with some degree of depression…it just manifests itself differently. You were shy/introverted…I am/was outgoing and loud and often use humor as a defense mechanism, constantly seeking the approval of others…yes still in my 40’s. I am better now and have been able to find peace and joy from within…but still sometimes long for that external affirmation. To this day, I am scared to make a mistake…but learning more and more that who I was and how we grew up has shaped who I am. Do I love myself yet? No, but I am starting to like myself more and more and God has put so many wonderful people in my life to remind me of HIS promises…that He knew me and loved me before I was born.

    • janet says:

      I agree that you were a “good kid” and just pushed limits. I think you “getting in trouble a lot” is more of a comparison (in my mind and in my view) to me getting in trouble. Although I have heard Dad talk about me getting in trouble for far worse things than what you and Mom would yell about. 😉

      And for the record, I love you!

  19. I knew there was a reason we got along so well – we both suffer from middle-child-syndrome (making like of a hard situation, much like mine).
    I suffer from chronic depression and chronic anxieties but I haven’t shared my story yet. I’m not good at expressing myself in writing. But you…you do so well. I love reading your posts, and, though I’ve never met you in person, I love you like a long distance sister!!!


    • janet says:

      Barbara, you do NOT give yourself enough credit!! Did you read the first part of this where I said I have no idea how this is going to come out? I didn’t try to stylize it or make it sections. I just started writing. I wrote two paragraphs and quickly realized it would be way too long for one post…so, it’s a series. Just start writing, put it in draft or email it to me and I’ll let you know that it is amazing! I know your writing, Barb, and it is beautiful when you just let yourself write. It feels so good after you do it, too!!

      • You’re too sweet!

        I just might take your advice and start writing; sharing my story. I think my biggest issue is…I need my meds adjusted. I honestly feel overwhelmed – and shut down – when I feel like I’m getting too deep into something; anything, right now.

        I look forward to reading your next post in this series…and I can’t wait to read your happy ending. 🙂

  20. Tracie says:

    It is so wonderful that you are sharing your story openly. There is still so much stigma around mental illness and depression. I’m sorry you have had to walk this path. My struggles with depression started early in life, also. I was sexually abused as a child, and I know that was part of it. Writing has been a huge part of my healing, and it is one of the things I do now when I am having particularly hard days with depression.

    • janet says:

      Tracie, I was also sexually abused as a child and that will be part of my story. Thank you for reading and for commenting as well. I’m hoping this will reach at least one person who is struggling and help them come out of that ditch.


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