There is a hidden strength that Makayla carries with her that not many know about. Her strength is stronger then most you know.
Just by looking at her you see the girl next door, the all American teenager. Just like most young ladies her age she enjoys spending time with her family. Her passion in life is dancing, listening to all kinds of music. But her favorite kind of music to dance to is rap. The stronger the beat, the more strength in the song, the more she loves it! She is addicted to sweet tea and spicy and sweet Doritos. She has this strange obsession with drinking applesauce through a straw, lol. (YES you read that right… A straw. She giggled as she told me that.)
Just by reading these little things and seeing her picture you would never know her inner struggle. She began to share with me her struggle with depression and how her family pulled her through it. How she used her music and dancing to break though the dark moments that would spiral around her. When I asked her what made her know it was depression, and not just the everyday teenager problems in life. She replied, “It was my Mom and Grandma who saw it. I was acting different and pulled away from what I loved.” as Makayla was telling me her story I watched as her Mom and Grandma sat across from her listening. You could see in their eyes how much Makayla is loved and adored by her family. I asked Makayla’s Mom Maria, “What did you do when you saw this happening? How did you feel?” And quick as any good Mom is she explained how she made sure to take her daughter to the doctor and made sure she didn’t leave till her child go the help she needed. Knowing that if they walked away with no help that Makayla had the chance of becoming a number in the grand numbers of children/people who harm themselves due to their struggle with depression. And she would NOT allow that for her child. Just listening to how her Grandma would explain what she sees, “There are good day and there are bad days. There were days we woke up not sure what kind of day it was going to be. It scared us. And we love her and saw she was hurting.”
You see so many children in our country struggle daily with depression and fears of being bullied for coming forward with their inner struggles. But as I spoke more with Makayla I learned she was BRAVE and stepped up to those in her class to explain what depression is and how she struggles with it. To be it was one of the bravest things to hear coming from a soul like Makayla.
Her strength and how she carries her self, and her willingness to be so open with something so taboo is something I admire!
I began to ask questions that Makayla was very open with… Specially when I asked her how she handles those dark days? And her reply was unlike anything I expected… She likes to put her music on and color. There is were she can allow her mind to let go and release the fears, thoughts, and all around thoughts that carry her to those dark places. It is her safe place that her family understands.
I asked her, “If she could say anything to someone who struggles with depression as well. What would you say?” She began to smile and told me, “I would say it will be alright. Open up to someone you trust. Know you are not alone in this. And to keep moving.”
It was the simplest of answers… But I knew as a Mom myself I needed to know what Maria would say to a Mom or Dad who was reading this… She looked at Makayla and smiled too, “Get your child help. Don’t just go to one doctor. Seek others, seek what helps you, seek what is best for your child and your family, and don’t allow the bad thoughts to pull you away. There is so much help out there.”
I have to admit as I was there watching, listening, and asking questions… I didn’t expect to see such a strong soul, being so open, seeing her family embrace her in a way that many pull away from. Makayla has such an amazing family support group, that many in our country are not blessed enough to have.
To see Makayla share so much in just a little amount of time was a joy to see. Her strength is brighter then she knows… Her passion for dance, family, and the love of those around her is something to cherish.
Thank you Makayla for being so open and willing to share a little part of your story with us all.