Do you struggle with depression? Do you sometimes think to yourself, “Why me?”
Depression is a mental illness that affects individuals of all ages. According to verywellmind.com, it is the second leadind cause of death among 15-24-year-olds. I’ve decided to share my depression story in the hopes that it might make someone feel less alone.
I have struggled with depression my whole life, but it came to the forefront of my life when I started my college career. College was my first time being away from home for an extended period of time. I didn’t know many people at my university, which made me feel lonely.
I knew, though, that my school was a small institution, which I thought would make it easier to make friends. I was determined to get to know my peers and make lifelong friends, and I told myself that I had to just put myself out there and let people see the real me. Within the first week at my new school, I met many wonderful people who I knew would be always there for me. I started to open up to my peers pretty quickly, which felt good!
Fast-forward to the second week of classes, when I suffered an injury that will affect me for the rest of my life. The injury was so serious that I was forced to take some time off from school to recover. This is when my depression really started kicking in, but at first, I didn’t notice how much it was affecting me.
Eventually, I started back at school, which helped boost my spirits. I saw some friendly faces and was surrounded by beautiful scenery. The rest of the semester went pretty well, with just a few bumps along the way.
I spent a much-needed winter break with my family. For a while, I felt like everything was going back to the way it was before college started. I finally felt happy again.
When I came back from winter break, I felt better than ever. I was so excited to start new classes, meet new people, and enjoy my college experience. After a few weeks had passed, though, I started to realize how many people didn’t truly care about me and even took advantage of me. The more I realized how betrayed I felt, the more upset and angry I became.
I stopped eating three meals a day. Instead, I would eat a few bites of my food and throw the rest away. I refused to participate in extracurricular activities, instead choosing to keep to myself. I would hide in my room, isolating myself from the world and everyone around me. One day, my feelings of loneliness and lack of nutrition caught up with me. It brought on a feeling that I still can’t describe to this day.
I decided to go to therapy, so I could talk about my feelings. After a few sessions, I began to feel better about myself. One day, I tried with every ounce of my being to open up in therapy. Instead, I broke and started crying out for help. During that session, I cried my eyes out, felt my bones weaken, and sat in silence. After some time had passed, I was able to tell my therapist what I was truly feeling.
I wanted the pain inside of me to stop and the voice in my head to silence.
I decided to make some changes in life and take some time off from school. My time off didn’t just affect me; it affected my whole family. My depression was not easy for my loved ones to take in. They had to learn what my triggers were and how to help me in the most effective way.
Eventually, I returned back to campus. I slowly started to feel like I belonged, but I had to take everything one second at a time.
Throughout the years, I’ve learned lot to learn about myself and my depression. Most importantly, I discovered that I needed to accept my mental health as it is. I continued going to therapy, learned tools to help myself, and started leaning on others when I really needed to.
I continue to fight my depressive demons. I have learned about my depression and discovered that I needed to keep talking about it. I have learned that I need to remember my limits. I believe that my cry for help saved my life.
If you have depression, you are not alone. You may need a hand to hold or a stronger support system, and that’s OK. Remember that there is help available to you, and seeking guidance doesn’t make you any less of a person. Your cry for help may just save your life.