What Living With Major Depressive Disorder Is Really Like

6 Ways People With Major Depressive Disorder Live Life Differently

The trauma I experienced in my early teens has prevented me from having close relationships with new people. I want to be friendly and outgoing but sometimes it seems damn near impossible.

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Being told at the tender age of 14 that you have major depressive disorder is not how you want to start your freshman year of high school. I've missed some of which was supposed to be the best years of my life. I have written and probably deleted this article at least seven different times due to the fear of judgment. There are no words I can put into this article on how to describe the daily struggle myself, and a majority of people struggle with major depressive disorder have to deal with. How do you explain to strangers, the reason I'm being standoffish is that I automatically think you're judging me. "What could possibly be wrong in your life?" is a common phrase I'm tired of hearing. People who haven't struggled will never understand.

It's time to educate the "normal" people on this topic and why it doesn't define us as people.

1. Wanting to be social, but you just can't

The trauma I experienced in my early teens has prevented me from having close relationships with new people. I want to be friendly and outgoing but sometimes it seems damn near impossible. I'm not intentionally trying to be a bitch, but that's just how it comes across when I am feeling shy. If you feel as is if I'm being standoffish, don't assume, just ask and I'll explain.

2. Freaking out over situations that haven't happened yet

In my friend group, I am notorious for this. If someone close to you is experiencing this, instead of telling them to relax, explain to them it's all in their head and hasn't even happened yet.

3. Missing out on sleep

I normally only get around three and a half hours of sleep at the most during the night, which is why I'm always so tired during the day and sometimes a little grouchy. So when you tell me I look rough, I'm well aware. When you tell me I'm moody, I'm most likely groggy and just not caring about the day anymore at that point.

4. Having a bigger heart then most

Being in this state of mind, I will always be sympathetic with others feelings. I am normally a friend who can relate to just about any situation. I will never judge anyone when they confide in me.

5. Not always being in that state of mind

This is the biggest missed conception of being depressed. I have my moments, days, or even weeks but this doesn't mean my whole life is a depressive episode. I do have really great days.

6. Feeling harder for other people's emotions

I've only been in two relationships in the last four years, which made me feel very good and then very bad. Even in friendships, I tend to be more charismatic. I never want someone to feel underloved. When someone else is feeling an emotion, I will feel it with them. This can be a great thing in friendships, or it can affect me negatively depending on the emotion being felt.

* * *

These are all just qualities that come with this disorder, but not one single one of them define me as a person. Next time someone close to you has one of these symptoms, stop making them feel like it's their fault. Try to understand them better. Always check up on your friends and family.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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