My depression began at the age of 13. At that time, depression wasn't something anyone talked about or recognized. I remember just wanting to fit in, and wanting to be noticed. I began drinking at 15, and experienced other mind altering chemicals, but the alcohol was my way of being noticed and it temporarily took my insecurities away. As years of depression progressed, so did my alcohol usage. My parents had no clue how to handle me, because depression was not easily recognized, they just thought I was a normal teenage kid that wanted to party all the time. After numerous times of trying to hurt myself, I still didn't quite know what depression was, I drank more, rebelled more, broke the law, fights and suffered in school. I barely graduated. Years passed and the same patterns continued, depression took over my life. I started seeing my first counselor at the age 22 and I remember she suggested that I quit drinking. I didn't understand what my drinking had to do with anything. My drinking continued and progressed more and more just to get rid of the feeling of sadness. I was still capable of working, being a mommy and a wife, but I hid it from everyone. On and off medications and counselors, and after feeling like I had it all under control, I would get comfortable and quit my medications and counseling and I'd eventually end up where I left off. More and more drinking, I would neglect my husband, children and family and showed very little interest in anything. In and out of therapy, rehabilitation and jail most of my life, I just didn't understand why I felt so hopeless. Why me? I finally realized and accepted that I have a disease and this disease requires help. I am 45 now and my medications, therapy, church, support groups and God are very important to me, I have no other alternative. I have a choice to live a fruitful life, I have a passion for life again, and I hope my experience, strength and hope could help someone else.