Being a college student, I am constantly surrounded by people who are stressed, depressed, and anxiety-ridden. It's getting pretty hard to tell who is just having a bad day and who is struggling with something deeper, but I think that the worst part is that it's gotten harder and harder for me to be able to tell for myself.
Whether someone deals with clinical depression, seasonal depression, or the occasional period of depression doesn't matter. Depression is depression. Whether someone struggles with anxiety on a daily basis, just when they get stressed, or as a result of another battle doesn't matter. Anxiety is anxiety.
These are two things that go hand-in-hand. The former, I've had the displeasure of dealing with before, but the latter I've not faced until this semester.
I was fifteen and in my freshman year of high school the first time I ever truly wished I would die. Luckily, I've always been close with my mother, so she saw the change, confronted it, and took me to talk to a doctor about therapy or medication.
I hated it. I hated feeling like an outcast because I couldn't even deal with my own feelings. I hated that I had no motivation, and that I had set myself up to be so involved in school and extracurricular activities. I hated not being normal, but the fact that I suffer from only seasonal depression got me through. I took medication for about six months, and then the sun came back; it warmed up, and I was fine.
I thought that I would never have to deal with it again, but I should have known better. This time, my mom wasn't here to see it happening, so she couldn't really help. I found it so much easier to push it aside and to convince myself that it wasn't happening without having to look her in the eyes.
It wasn't until my sorority's president sat me down and asked me if I was okay that I truly and wholly realized that I wasn't. I couldn't handle school. I couldn't handle sorority life. I couldn't handle leadership. I couldn't even handle eating on a daily basis because I felt like I didn't deserve food, something that makes me almost as happy as cats do. I truly couldn't handle anything, and she told me that she didn't want me to feel that way.
So now I pose the question: Why does depression happen to nice people?
Why are we stuck crying alone in the dark? Why are we forced to ask for help when we can't even tell what's wrong? Why are we told that it's "okay not to be okay" when most of the world doesn't act like that?
I don't have an answer, and I don't think that I ever will. What I have come to realize, though, is that it is okay not to be okay.
It's okay to cry, but I suggest that you try your hardest not to do it for long. It's okay to be stressed, but don't stress so much that you stop getting things done. A little anxiety is good for you, but if it keeps you up at night, it's probably time to take action.
Don't be afraid of medicine. It's meant to help, and if it doesn't, then there are plenty more that you can try. Don't be afraid to talk to someone. They don't even have to be a therapist with a degree. Your mom, dad, brother, sister, best friend, or whoever else will do just fine for the time being. What's important is that someone know what's going on.
And never lose sight of the fact that you are a nice person. You're hard-working. You're kind and caring. You're funny and easy to talk to. You're so much more than you think you are when you're struggling. Just remember that because it might save you.