"If you are looking for joy, I am that joy [even if I have depression]." This is a phrase that I learned while I was in Cuba.
1. When I found out that I had depression.
That whole day was weird. It was spring break of my ninth grade year and my parents told me that we were going somewhere “fun.” Our definitions of fun must have been completely different because next thing I knew I was at my first session with a psychologist.
I remember being so confused and ashamed to even be there. Then, to make matters worse, she said, “You has depression,” at the end of the session. I felt like my life was over. I felt ashamed, confused and even more alone than before.
As she began to share with my parents all of the medicines I could be put on I just wanted to cry. I mean it all made sense but apart of me wanted it to be anything but this. That night I wrote. I wrote twenty-four reasons why I should choose joy and not allow my diagnosis to be who I am entirely. I wrote to remind myself I am more than depression.
2. When I was bullied.
I was bullied a lot in grade school. It was always something: pulling my hair, my acne (calling me polka-dot), he said she said, etc. However, there was one specific time in grade school where the wordstruly hurt me.
It was in my eleventh grade year and I ran varsity track. We did not have any female coaches but the girls I ran with wanted to have a meeting. During the meeting, they asked me not to smile anymore because just because I was happy doesn’t mean that they were happy as well.
I remember thinking, “how come when I am myself I am always asked to change.” I know this may be small but for me it was one of the final straws. I remember going home that evening my uncle said, “Morgan, you are special don’t let people change you.” Those words not only brought me joy, they saved me from myself.
3. When I did not want to do “this” anymore.
I have been suicidal before, however, told myself that i’d never do it because of my little brother. He has always been my light and my life. When I look at him I see a reason to keep living. However, one night I felt the need to leave this world as I was in a really dark place.
So I google searched, “how to end your life.” What came up after changed my life. It was a message saying, “You are worth living, do not do this.” I thought that I was dreaming when I first saw this but it wasn’t a dream it was a reminder.
In that moment, I realized I can do this. A few years later I looked on google to see if I could see the same message but instead it gives you resources to call to help you through. Thank you google for being a serious tool.
4. When I didn’t get the job.
Circa Summer 2015, I was going through it. Everything that I felt could go wrong, did. My grandfather had just past away, my best friend and I were not on speaking terms; it was awful. However, I found this huge ambassador job that would have shifted my college experience.
There were several rounds to go through before being selected and I had thankfully made it to the last one. I had an interview that Friday and prepared all week. Then, the day of the interview no one showed up on the skype. I was devastated. I remember thinking, “How can I make the impact I want to make without this job?” I never heard back from them. I was disappointed.
Then, I began to see my own organization, JOYDAY, begin to grow. I was able to make the impact that I wanted to make with that company but with something that I created. Not only did I make lemonade out of lemons, I began to bring mental health awareness and joy to others as well as myself. I think not getting the job or a hear back eventually allowed me to see a lot of joy. It is funny how things come full circle.
5. When I got my heartbroken, for the second time.
I’ve only had two ex-boyfriends in my entire twenty-two years life. Both broke my heart into a thousand pieces that took forever to place back together. The first guy broke my heart which hurt but not like the second one. The second one I could actually see sharing my life with so when I found out that he did not love me anymore it really hurt.
I did not eat, I did not sleep, and I did not want to do anything anymore. The things that used to bring me joy just didn’t work anymore. Then, I could not even talk to my best friend about it because he was my best friend. I had it bad. I remember one day being at his house and us arguing. He said, “You are one of the smartest girls that I know. You always talk about self-care and protecting your peace. Do it.” For some reason, that stuck with me.
That night I wrote down twenty-four reasons why I should choose joy like I did when I first found out that I had depression. Soon after, I started going to the parks/trails. Then, through my heartbreak, I was able to find my healing. The pain I once felt had subsided and once again I was joy.