Anneke de Looze
My name is Anneke de Looze and I am a junior at Maple Grove Senior High School. I am going to tell you something that I have not opened up to many people about, not even my fellow peer ministers. I feel the need to share this with the SJA community and I know that I can trust you all (and because writing about is easier than talking about).
I began quarantine at the same time as most people, early March. It was right after my birthday and at first, I was actually excited about the pandemic because I am a huge history nerd and it was so cool to me that I was living through something that will end up in history books. After about a week of being in quarantine, however, I started to get depressed. It was a mixture of needing space and feeling bad about how my body looked. I live in a split level house with five other people, one of whom I share a room with. It was incredibly difficult to find somewhere where I could be alone.
I am an introvert, so I get my energy from being alone. I started closing myself off to my family. If you ask anyone in my family, they will tell you that I love hugs, and I love being close to people. While I was depressed this completely changed. I would not let anyone touch me, and if people started getting too close to me, I would start to shrink back. At the same time, I was growing very uncomfortable in my body. I stopped eating almost completely, I would only eat if I had cooked a meal for the whole family.
My parents tried to help me, they cleared out a room in the basement and set up some old chairs so that I could be by myself. I would go to the basement at around 8 AM and then stay there until 11 PM. I would almost never leave, and in hindsight, I think this made my depression worse. I stopped going outside, I stopped joining my family for dinner, I did not join my family on the daily walks they took.
Once, my mom convinced me to join everyone for dinner and I sat at the table without eating and I watched my siblings mess around at the table. This made me feel sad because it felt to me that they were carrying on just fine without me. It didn’t seem like my siblings missed me at all. Looking back at it, I know that this thinking was stupid, but at the time, it was very real to me. I asked to be excused halfway through dinner, and when my mom looked like she was hesitating, I exploded, saying things like, “I am not contributing anything to the conversation”, “Why do you even want me here”, “I am just making everyone depressed” and as I got up and started to leave I said, “just go back to having fun, you obviously don’t need me”.
This was when I finally realized that I wanted out. I wanted to break through the haze that had surrounded me for the last few weeks. I wanted to have fun with my family but dragging myself out of my depression is much easier said than done. I started noticing that when I cooked and when I went outside, I felt much better.
Over the next few weeks, I slowly started to come out of the depression. I started eating again. I finally came out of it about two weeks ago when I was lying awake at night and I was thinking about what kind of life I wanted to live. I realized that I no longer wanted to hide away in that musty basement. I wanted to laugh with my family again. There were many other things I thought about, and I refer to it as my epiphany. So the next morning I woke up and did a workout. I was more energized than I had been all quarantine. I told my parents about the epiphany, and the first step was giving them a hug.
Now I am back to my normal self (mostly). When something like that happens, it is life-changing. I will never quite be the girl I was before quarantine, but I think that is okay. Since then, I have really cultivated my love for cooking and I join my family on our daily walks. I have found love in planning meals with multiple courses (next week I am making a five-course Indian meal). Now I feel blessed with the things I took for granted while depressed. I call my friends very often and I have 3-hour long conversations with them. I recently found out that I made it into my school’s branch of the National Honor Society. I stay up late with my foreign exchange sister and laugh at the most random things.
This is my story (which I have written with shaky hands and have had to take many breaks from) and it is completely unique to me, and can in no way be used as a mirror for someone else’s depression, but I hope someone finds comfort in it and knows they are not alone. Thank you for taking the time to ‘listen’ to me, and know you are not alone in this crazy time.
Our youth at SJA have amazing things to say. Our goal is to give them a platform to share their thoughts on topics they want to talk about. Their thoughts are uniquely theirs. From politics to faith, school issues to our church, this blog shares their voices with our community.