By CHRISTINE STAPLETON from "Depression on my mind"
I started drinking and drugging when I was 14-years-old. I eased into it. I didn’t drink or use drugs everyday and it would take decades before I was. But it definitely started when I was 14. I was a freshman and I did it more to impress the 16-year-old junior I had a crush on that because I wanted to get high.
But as the years went by, I realized that despite the horrific hangovers and drama that followed my drinking bouts – many of them that ended in a blackout – I discovered that for a little while – maybe just a few hours – drinking made me feel good. I did not know that alcohol was a depressant and was making my depression and mania worse. All I knew was that a drink or a joint took away the darkness for awhile.
That is how self-medicating begins. And it will always – ALWAYS – end badly. It did for me.
I am telling you this because we need to screen our youth – all of them – for mental illness and we need to do it in school. Why? Because maybe it would have helped a kid like me. Back in the 1970′s we didn’t know a lot about mental illness, especially in kids. We do now. And we are ignoring the greatest asset we have – teachers – in helping our kids.