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When I was eleven, I bought two black dogs. Some days, they go missing. But once one of them finds their way back, I wait in anticipation for the next to follow. Some days, both leave to find other people to aggravate. When the dogs aren’t with me, I feel light as a feather. I’m so used to having the dogs around that I feel guilty when they leave. I worry about where they are and who they are upsetting. I wish the two black dogs could perish but they are unstoppable.

Depression and anxiety. That’s their names. I am the owner. I do everything with them. My whole life revolves around those dogs. Most days, I have no control over them. I’m so busy worrying about people seeing my black dogs, that I isolate myself, wanting to be alone. Just my two black dogs and me. Some days I just want to end it all, I have tried once, but it was unsuccessful. I just want to have a day without the black dogs.

Late in the winter of my sixteenth year, my mother only decided then that I was depressed, presumably because I hated leaving the house, hated talking to other people and ate infrequently. My mother decided that I needed treatment, so she took me to see my local doctor (Susan) who has known me since birth. She agreed. She told me to attend a weekly support group which could benefit me.

This support group features teens who hated talking about their feelings and was only there because they were forced to. The support group, of course, was depressing as hell. We met on a Monday morning in the church down from my house. We would sit in a circle with the leader and he would talk about the depressing miserable life he had. He blamed everything on his wife who left him eight years ago due to their disagreement about their new pet’s name. He needed up calling his stupid dog, Bernard. Then we introduce ourselves. Name, age, diagnosis, and how we are feeling today. I’m Jessica, I’d say. Sixteen, depression, and I’m doing just fine.

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The only redeeming part of attending the support group was seeing this kid called Josh. Josh was amusing to watch. He also had depression. He’s a lanky guy with hair curly hair that flopped to his right side. Kind of like Harry Styles. He would make inappropriate jokes that he would get told off for but deep down everyone loved them and he really brought the mood up in the depressing support group that was in the basement of the church down the road from me.

Anyway, I’ve been going to this support group for a couple of months now and I’m still hating every minute that I’m in there. I tell my mother I’m getting better and that it’s not necessary to go anymore. She just walks away every time. I cry. A lot. I beg her that I’ll do it all on my own. I’ll help myself and my two black dogs.

All the things I used to enjoy are now pointless. My dogs distract me and ruin everything I attempt in life. I don’t want to affect anybody else life and let them be as miserable as I am. This is the reason I hide. Some days, I think my dogs have left. That they won’t come back. But for me, they always come back. They can come back at any time and who knows, the dogs may be bigger and more viscous next time.

If I could say one thing to my eleven-year-old self, I would say to get help early. I wouldn’t be going through the hardship I go through now if I knew what depression and anxiety were.

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