​A Letter To The Person Who Doesn’t Understand My Depression

​A Letter To The Person Who Doesn’t Understand My Depression

Please stop telling me how to feel.
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I know you probably mean well, but I need you to stop.

Telling me you “feel sad, too, sometimes,” is not going to help me. Encouraging me to “go out and make new friends, talk to people,” is not going to make me okay. Saying “don’t be depressed,” is not a cure.

Do you think that I haven’t tried? That I haven’t forced myself to go out and mingle in hopes being social will make me better? If someone has suggested it, I have probably tried it and I’m tired of people thinking that they understand my illness better than I do when they have never experienced it.

When they have never cried in their room late at night because they feel so alone, when they have never felt like they were drowning by simply existing, when they have tried and tried to the point of wanting to give up on themselves. You don’t understand, and I’m not expecting you to, but I need you to stop pretending.

Pretending is an art that depression has taught me to perfect. I pretend to smile, pretend to be happy, pretend to be okay. But the fact is, I’m not. It’s something I am dealing with every day of my life and I am continuously trying to move forward. But sometimes the sadness tries to win and it’s hard. It always comes close. It’s tethered to me like a phantom limb and I carry it with me wherever I go – even in my best moments, it is still there.

Though I don’t expect you to understand my illness, I do need you to understand that none of this is easy for me. Existing is the hardest thing for me to do and yet I am trying my best to hold on. But telling me to “get out more” and “people have it worse than you, why are you sad?” is not going to make me better. Being “strong” or trying a new medication won’t magically fix me. Even if you think I “don’t have a reason to be depressed,” it doesn’t make it go away. I need you to stop minimizing what I’m going through.

Depression is not a simple sadness. It is an all-encompassing darkness that hangs over me and attaches itself to everything that I do. Switching between yanking me under and tossing me in other directions.

But I am a hurricane of a person.

I’m 20 years old, and I have a depression that lives inside me like a storm brewing under oceans, lying in wait for new victims to pull under, yet I find myself to only be marginally afloat, too.

There is destruction in my blood and grief in my mouth and though I do not seek to ruin all that casually exists before me, I seem to do it without trying.

I am spiraling toward my destination without stopping, I have tried without luck to change directions, to stop myself – I just keep spinning. But I’m trying.

Cover Image Credit: Shushan Khachatryan

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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Despite Your Judgment, I'm Confident In My Pescatarian Lifestyle Change

Dietary habits are basically just traits we learn, they are not inherited.

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Growing up my exposure towards dietary habits was mostly influenced by my parents. My dad, an avid carnivore, who believes meat is a necessary component for each meal, is much different than my mom who could happily pass up the Thanksgiving turkey for her favorite stuffing and mashed potatoes. As a child, I had an affinity for barbeque chicken wings and above all, the smell of bacon in the morning really couldn't compare to anything else. Yet, as I've grown older and have begun to make more and more of my own decisions, I've come to realize that my diet is something that is entirely up to me as well.

After my freshman year of college, I decided that once I went home for the summer and had the means to cook for myself again, I would truly start fresh and eat healthier. What a failure that was. You'd think with the absence of stress factors and more options, it would be a simple goal to accomplish. Yet, with working like crazy I found even less time to cook for myself, and ended up following the patterns of my parents once again.

On July 2nd, a typical "pasta Sunday", I took a bite pasta with meat sauce (specifically ground turkey) and immediately felt rejection in my stomach. I swallowed and everything stayed complacent, but I just had this disgusted feeling burrowing inside of me. In the prime of my teenage years, I've seen this rejection of red meat repeatedly stem from my taste buds. I've said on multiple occasions, "I'm going to be a vegetarian one day", and at this moment I decided this would be the day.

To clarify, my choice to become a pescetarian, a diet that where one eats fish and dairy, was not fueled just by a dislike in the taste of meat. Social media and the knowledge I obtained from online majorly impacted my decision as well. In weeks prior, I stumbled upon this video on my Facebook timeline:

After watching this, I came to terms with my ignorance. Realizing just how privileged we can be as human beings, I decided that I did not need to follow this path for much longer. Unapologetically from birth, it seems as we are raised with this mindset that we are above animals. Everyone praises Chik-fil-A and Chipotle but never once dares to question how their beloved food is prepared before it is tableside. Let alone, do most people even consider doing the killing themselves.

However, just because we aren't slitting the necks of cows or pigs when we eat our food does not mean that we aren't still contributing to this industry. For too long have I played cluelessly and put such little thought to any kind of morals towards domestic animals. Once again, I blame this on how we are brought up. America loves its pets. I for one, love dogs and never once thought that pigs or cows have similar feelings and personality traits to our pets. After watching the documentary "Earthlings," I began to conceptualize a world where I understand that as living, breathing creatures, we really are equal beings who just want to be loved. Plus, I really just wanted to change my lifestyle to a more healthy one.

Becoming a pescetarian, I believe, was a great stepping stone for myself to possibly eventually become a full-vegetarian. I know many would criticize me and ask, "Why not just stop eating animals all together" or not consider me caring for all of the animals. I do enjoy the taste of seafood and fish and think they can be really healthy in moderation! Slowly, I have transformed my diet to include eating more fruits and vegetables and finding protein in other sources like beans, nuts, and some grains. This has been a major lifestyle change for me and as someone who has dealt with both body image/weight issues, and my mental health, I can sincerely say I feel amazing! I'm cooking at home more, experimenting with different recipes, and having fun while doing so. My energy has increased, some bloating has depleted, and I just feel proud of myself when I see the colorful foods I'm feeding my body and mind. Following this diet has given me more purpose and it is something I find I can grow with.

These are only a few of the varieties I have been granted after becoming a pescetarian. I have chosen a clean body, a clean life, and a clean conscious. The possibilities are truly endless if you simply try.

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