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One Young Woman's Story of Depression, Self-Harm and Hope

12/09/2014 12:47 EST | Updated 02/08/2015 05:59 EST
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Warning: Article may contain emotional triggers for some people

Erin Farkas (no relation) is a smart, articulate young woman who's been through depression's grinder. She wants to help other young people fighting depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts. In 2014, Erin posted a YouTube video talking about her struggles with anxiety, depression, self-harm and bullying. "It's taken me a long time to get the courage to do this, but knowing how much this may help people makes it worth it," Erin states.

Erin was bullied throughout her school years. At first, wearing glasses and braces got Erin teased. The teasing quickly crossed the line into bullying about what she was wearing, how she'd talk, or how she'd walk. When puberty hit, the bullying became worse because Erin was physically more developed than her classmates. She developed anxiety and depression. As Erin puts it, "some vicious kids thought they could say or do whatever they wanted to people and get away with it." Erin went from being a regular happy kid to being painfully shy.

Erin believes the bullies did it simply for entertainment because they were bored. "Kids can have it in their minds that they can say or do whatever they want to people and get away with it. Bullying isn't bullying for some kids. It's hazing which is okay. It's your fault if you can't handle it."

Things got so bad for Erin, she started cutting herself. She didn't see any reason for living. She hid how she felt so well that no one noticed her downward spiral, except for her mother who suspected something was bothering Erin. One day her mother walked in on Erin as she was cutting herself. Erin is grateful for that moment because it was the start of her getting help.

In 2013, Australia's Youth Beyond Blue published some interesting facts. The organization found that concern about mental health is on the rise for youth. The top issues for young people in 2013 were coping with stress, school or study problems, body image, depression and family conflict. Young people see mental health as a more important issue than things like the environment, bullying, education and employment. It's estimated that one in four young adults will suffer an episode of depression before age 24. Look on YouTube and you'll find videos of teens and young adults sharing painful stories about depression while offering advice and help for others.

So what are kids saying about coping with depression? Don't give up. It will get better. There are people who love you and want to help even if you don't believe it. Talk to someone. Tell someone what you're thinking of doing. Take it one day at a time. Depression doesn't ever go away but you'll learn to cope with it. Don't be ashamed. Love yourself.

Erin doesn't want to talk about all of her past because there are issues still affecting her today. But she's at a point where she knows she can help others and that's what matters most to her. Helping others in ways she didn't have available to her when she needed help.

Erin's story in her words:

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