I didn't seek help for my depression for a very long time, but there were a lot of factors to it.
I was your typical kiwi tomboy for the most part, but as a kid I was sexually abused by three different family members/ family friends over long periods of time. I was encouraged to spend time alone with these people by my very innocent brothers and my parents either didn't know what to do/ were completely ignorant. I escaped being raped by the skin of my teeth but each 'incident' left it's scars. On two occasions i talked to my Mum about being very uncomfortable around these people and she instantly shut down, to this day I don't know if my Dad knows anything about it, they still invite all these people in their home and its literally never mentioned.
I was also the target of bullies being intelligent enough to coast through school with good grades and being a chubby, poor kid who didn't like Barbies. At one point I was shoved off a wall and fell three metres onto concrete before being (lightly) beaten up.
When I was twelve I was offered a scholarship to a boarding school eight hours away. I jumped for it. Right around then I started to get what i thought was homesickness. I'd have eating binges, then periods where i just wasn't hungry.But the bullies weren't as bad and i started to make friends. My parents had remained relatively out of the picture, I'd call collect once a month and beg them to send letters, which they would. They couldn't afford/ had too many of their own issues to come up to see me and so I only saw them every three months in the holidays. When I was home the sexual abuse continued.
When I graduated high school i permanently moved to the town I was boarding in and started a nursing degree. I was the first person in my family to graduate high school, my brothers and sister decided their talents lay elsewhere and got excellent jobs in the army, trades etc. My parents never bothered to show for my graduation despite promising they would for months.
Right about then it started heading very downhill, although i was in total denial. My family slowly began to cut all ties, calling me a spoilt brat and accusing me of being a meddling know it all when i started to take especial interest in my Dad's health when it began to decline. I'm not saying I didn't fire a few insults back. While we still have some contact now it mostly ends in an argument. there's some weird control issues in our family - my dad once told me that he could have stopped me from getting my scholarship with one sentence if he really wanted to and that i should be grateful he decided not to at the last minute.
In my second year of my degree I began to crash and burn. I had a breakdown and stopped attending classes, hid from the world in my room or a friends house, and generally just gave up on life.
i was never suicidal - right about the point where i got really depressed a friend of mine committed suicide and i swore i would not put my friends through that, however unintentional. Eventually my school work got so bad i was forced to suspend my degree. I went to my GP and got a locum who i had to beg for help. She prescribed antidepressants and counselling, but trying to get into counselling in New Zealand is like trying to get into the VIP area of a club without a bribe, and i never found a counsellor I could feel comfortable enough with to come to second session. When I told my parents i was on antidepressants my mum pulled down her walls and said "well, that's never happened before in our family" and refused to talk anymore about it. I later found out that we have a long family history with my dad being committed at one point for attempted suicide when I was little, my sister experiencing serious depression, grandparents, brothers, cousins etc etc. This all happened when i was a few years old and has never ever been discussed.
I have always been private, prefering to help solve other's problems rather than share my own, and though my closest friends have now worked out some of the general problems of my past they don't know anything more other than me having a couple of dodgy uncles. Eventually, on my own (with the support of my friends) with the help of some fluox (prozac) - which either left me feeling like a zombie, on an insane high when my doses went up, or in a major low when my doses were reduced - I started to climb out of my hole. It took me a long time to get over my sexual/body issues and a long time to find a partner I could trust enough to tell them everything.
Now i'm mostly recovered, i still have low days, but nowhere near as often. I'm still negative about myself (although much less than I was) and i tend to try and ignore negative thoughts rather than focus on them. I still have some body issues. I recently recommenced my degree and am passing with high grades and really enjoying practicals.
The thing that makes me wonder is whether other people have the 'symptoms' as me. When I'm down it feel's like theres this weight, like two heavy huge hands, on my shoulder. The world becomes dimmer, like a dark cloud in front of the sun. Everything becomes harder, and although i know i need to do something to keep my mind from focussing on it, its too much effort for me - especially, if say, I'd have to clean the dishes before I could cook etc. There's this wave of can't-be-botheredness/ uselessness/ hopelessness/ pointlessness when I look at the task before me. And i feel ?threatened, ?unsafe - not actively, but I feel so much safer in bed distracting myself with a movie/book and pretending the rest of the world doesn't exist. I see myself as ugly and can't comprehend how anyone can see different. All i want to do is block out the world and sleep, and the more tasks are waiting for me (e.g. an assignment) the less motivation I can work up. I'm lethargic and have a bleak outlook.
I can now knock myself out of this in a day, or i'll recognise before i get to that point that i'm stressed and plan a "nothing" day in the weekend. A year ago however these periods would go on for a week, or up to a month. And there was thoughts of self harm, thinking if i could only create some physical pain it would lessen the emotional, however i never acted on them.