Depression is heavily undermined in today's society, despite its prevalence steadily increasing among young people. Because mental disorders affect the mind and not the body, the legitimacy of them tends to be brushed off and stigmatized. Think about it: would you rather excuse your absence by saying you have a bout of flu or, instead, state the truth that you are severely depressed and can scarcely get out of bed?
I know what it's like.
It's that awful, hazy state that never seems to lift. It's welcoming the darkness of a five-hour nap just to escape the world for a little longer. It's cutting ties with all your friends and letting all of your grades slip. Depression doesn't always necessarily feel like sadness. Sometimes, it feels like absolutely nothing—nothing but clouded apathy. When I was in high school, depression stole everything from me. It took away my friends, chipped away at my GPA, isolated me from my family, and declared me a social outcast.
Mental health is just as important as physical health.
It's true, but I know that not everyone seems to be able to understand that. An estimated 20% of college students deal with anxiety, depression, or both. You are not alone. A lot of the time, it might feel like no one understands. People may tell you to "just be happy," and it can be really frustrating to hear that. If the answer were that simple, of course, you would choose happiness.
Depression is not a sign of weakness.
A common misconception about depression is that it only impacts those who are "weak." Why, then, have such prominent, successful people throughout history suffered from depression? Abraham Lincoln, Sylvia Plath, Judy Collins, and J.K. Rowling are just a few of the many strong, accomplished individuals who have dealt with mental illness. The cause of depression is complex, drawing from both biological and environmental sources.
You don't need a reason to feel depressed.
Believe me, I know how crippling depression can be. It can creep up on you even when everything seems to be perfect. I just wanted to let you know that nothing has to warrant your depression. You don't have to experience a catastrophic, life-changing event to become lodged in depression's grip. An imbalance of serotonin in the brain may be all that is required to send you spiraling into a depressive state.
You have options, and I believe that you will get through this.
The only person who can save you is yourself. Depression will put you into a state where the last thing you want to do is try. But I am begging you, please, please seek help. There are people who care about you and want nothing but the best for you. Talk to someone, whether it be a friend, teacher, family member, or coworker. Find resources at your school. You don't have to fight this battle alone.
You are you, with or without depression.
Depression doesn't define who you are. We all struggle with something, and I am here to tell you that it does, in fact, get better. Maybe it won't get better today, or tomorrow, or even next month. But it will get better, and you will be so glad you stuck it out and didn't give up the battle. I love you, and you will get through this.