A surprising amount of college students can say they have depression or anxiety, but a lot of older generations think the idea is just a Millennial creation. However, depression and anxiety are very serious. Just as you can catch a cold or break a bone, your brain can get sick. It is, after all, just another organ. As someone who has struggled with depression, I can vouch that it is nowhere near just a "made up" thing. If curing depression was as simple as "just being happy," no one would be depressed (as if anyone chooses to be depressed, to begin with).
Depression is a void that can suck you in at any moment. One day you're feeling great about yourself and life, then suddenly a bad thought fleets across your mind for the smallest second of time. That's all it takes as your spiral down starts. By nighttime, you can be in a full suicidal/hopeless episode. It's that simple. And once the thoughts start, they don't stop. I thought this was just the new me: that being depressed and hopeless and tired and apathetic was the new me and there was no hope for me because I was too far gone.
I opened up to parents and finally saw someone who could help me and offer me medication. I was hesitant to try medication because everyone says that it takes about 6 months to kick in and I didn't even know if I had that long to hold on to this seemingly bleak life.
Within two weeks, I noticed a change. I went for my check-in after starting my medication and realized that I only had one bad day and it didn't even last a full 24 hours, in the ENTIRE two-week span! Usually, I would be in a depressive episode for at least four days before I started to climb back out. And even then the breaks of "content" and "okay" were few and far between and never lasted long. I realized that I was feeling better and that I was happy.
But, I wasn't just happy. Even on bad days (because we all have bad days, regardless of medication and mental state), I never spiraled out of control, I was simply bummed for a bit and then got on with life.
I never thought the day would come for me to be able to feel this way again. I was recently showing a new friend some old photos of me and I showed her one from four years ago. She said, "You look different. Like, your face just looks different somehow." And I realized it was because I was happy in that photo. My eyes were crinkling with a true smile, my dimples and smile lines in full view for everyone, and that my smile wasn't forced. I looked so different because I was so much happier. And thinking that almost made me want to cry because I could never see myself being that happy again.
For anyone else who feels the same, even in the slightest bit, go see a professional. You'd be amazed how much better you can feel.