I was clinically diagnosed with depression at age 30, but it has always been in my life for as long as I can remember. Things started getting bad for me at about age 13 or 14 and just got worse from there.
As a teen, I cannot really recall ever being 100% happy. I was very shy and self conscious. I was never one for a large group of friends, just one or two good ones who never really knew the "real" me, just the surface me.
I began to self injure at about age 13 and it became the way I coped with pain in my life. I had no motivation and no desire to do much of anything except use drugs and alcohol.
Drugs and alcohol numbed the pain that I felt and it masked the depressive symptoms. I wandered around in a hopeless daze, suppressing all of my past. Became one of those "If I can't see it, it doesn't exist" things for me.
I have had many up and down periods in my life but hit the skids HARD about a year or so into my last relationship. My ex suffered with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and it made life very complicated for me as I was struggling with my own issues and trying to help her with hers when help wasn't wanted. I have always been the type to throw myself into the problems of others in an attempt to avoid my own.
I crashed hard, the drinking started, the pill popping, passing out stone cold and awakening in odd places. I just wanted something, anything to take the pain away. I felt so hopeless and helpless. Getting up out of bed was a struggle for a while and then insomnia hit. I had no motivation or desire to do much of anything. I holed up in the house, not wanting to go anywhere, do anything or talk to anyone, except on-line. I tried to shut the world out and largely succeeded.
I felt so heavy and weighed down with issues. Didn't eat, didn't sleep and certainly didn't want to walk into work every day and face people. I questioned myself, second guessed myself and my life. Social anxiety reached an all time high for me. I simply panicked when faced with dealing with people and withdrew further into my "safe" shell of a life I had created.
I looked for a quick easy fix and to my dismay, there wasn't one. Finally I started bottoming out and was lovingly pressured to seek help. Began Paxil and CBT therapy in my doctors office and began to gain some inner strength back.
As an aside, I won't say all my experiences with depression have been bad ones. There are some positive things I have learned from it all. I have learned that I can handle what life throws at me, but sometimes I need to ask for help to deal with it and get it into perspective. I have learned to be more compassionate and understanding of others, have realized that we all have our problems and that someone's mood isn't an indicator of the type of person I am, it is more of a reflection of them and what they are going through.
Depression and past histories come in all flavors and all walks of life. It's not an indication of weakness. It is usually an indication of inner pain that needs to be dealt with.