I always swore that I would never write this article, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like I needed to share my story. As college students and adults, we go through a lot of things behind closed doors that many people don't know about. One of those things is mental health.
I think this is an epidemic that continues to grow because people aren't talking about it enough or normalizing it.
Only a handful of people know that I've been dealing with depression for about three years. It all started when I started my first year of college at Kent State. I was away from home for the first time and I hated every part of it. I came home whenever I could and I stuck to myself for the most part. I was dealing with insomnia for the first time and it was total hell. On top of never sleeping, being on the road for three hours at a time every few days and not caring about homework, my GPA tanked.
I came home for the summer and things seemed to be getting better. I had decided to transfer to the University of Kentucky and very excited to move in with my boyfriend at the time. When my sophomore year started, I quickly realized that things hadn't gotten any better over the summer, I was just masking my depression by constantly keeping myself busy and ignoring the problem. My migraines started to get worse, my relationship ended, and I was stuck in a state of mind I have never been in before. Migraines, on top of living with your ex and trying to move on, on top of college is not a good concoction for your mental health.
I was never suicidal, but I completely lost my drive for life.
I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning because I didn't care about anything. I completely lost my purpose in life and I didn't know how to go up from there. I was terrified that I wasn't going to be successful in school or better yet in an internship or a job. Summertime came around and once again, I just covered up everything I was going through. I quickly realized that I needed to use this time to work on myself (you can read that article here).
Although I did do a lot of work on myself, it was the hardest six months of my life and I was more depressed than I had ever been. I was missing work all the time, getting migraines due to the stress and lack of or too much sleep. I came back to school in the fall and things took a really bad turn. I was passed the point of feeling sad and depressed. I felt completely numb. The only thing I cared about was my school work.
When I looked in the mirror, I didn't recognize the person staring back at me.
I would make impulsive decisions without even thinking about it. I felt like someone else was controlling my actions and my life. I then came to my senses that none of this was right. I had been dealing with this on and off for two years now and for the first time, I couldn't get myself out of the "rut" I was in so, I decided it was time to seek professional help. With the help of professionals, facing my demons head-on, working on myself even more and talking to my friends about what I was going through.
Four months later and I can confidently and wholeheartedly say that I am the happiest I have been in years!
Wow, it feels REALLY good to say that.
I'm sharing my story with the world because I want to show that you're going to be ok. It may take weeks, months, or even years, but you're going to feel that happiest again and find your purpose. Once you realize what your demons are and decide to tackle them, it can only go up from there. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's so worth it to work on yourself that much and for that long to get the outcome you deserve.
I think it's important for people to know that it's OK to feel these things, and it's ok to admit that you're depressed or don't feel like yourself. Millions of people are dealing with the same thing you are. It is more than ok to use the resources around you and to seek professional help. I know it can be terrifying, believe me, I wanted no one finding out about this when I was going through it. No matter how bad things may be, taking your life should never be the answer. There are so many resources and people that can help you to prevent the worst from happening.
I promise it doesn't end the pain, it just passes it to the people who love you.
If you are going through something or relate to what I have been through, feel more than free to reach out to me. Sometimes talking to a stranger that understands is the best medicine.