To The Student Struggling With Depression

To The Student Struggling With Depression

You're not alone.

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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.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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