Head Held High
Hello readers out there. Normally I am a very bubbly person with a very vibrant personality, but today I want to hit on something a little serious. A big topic in the media lately has been mental health. It is seen that if you have a mental health issue then you are less than. Mental health has this negative stigma and often gets ignored. Well I’m here to shed some light on the issue.
Last Monday marked a milestone for me, it was a year since my mental breakdown due to depression. Like many young adults I thought I was invincible. When people would talk about depression I thought it could never happen to me and that I was too joyous a person to ever be depressed. I thought depression only came from within and that only weak-minded people got depressed. My thinking was way off-base. Depression can hit anyone. No one is immune from emotions. My depression was a result of many things, childhood memories, being away from home, not having many friends in college, and a mix of stress from classes. January 15, 2013, I broke down. I isolated myself in my room for two weeks straight. I barely ate and would have sleeping spells that would keep me up for days on end. I had hit rock bottom. My mom had to make the decision to withdraw me from classes so that I could get help. I didn’t want that. I thought how could I tell people I was seeing a therapist. I thought for sure I would be labeled crazy or unstable. I did not want to be associated with any of the negative stereotypes that comes with mental health. I look back now and think how silly it was to even have those thoughts. Counseling was the best thing I could have ever done. It saved my life. Counseling provided me an avenue to express myself in ways I never had. It allowed me to explore myself and more importantly understand myself. It helped me accept the person I was and appreciate how far I had come. It helped me to sort through my thoughts and handle the pressure I felt I was under.
I shared my story to say this, there is nothing wrong with seeking help. Life is about ups and downs and sometimes the downs become unbearable. No matter how invincible we may think we are the truth is we aren’t. If you ever feel stressed or down don’t let it compound as I did. Be truthful to yourself, you know when you aren’t right. Don’t let fear of judgement stop you from seeking help. There are some great therapist on campus that are more than willing to help you sort through your problems. Friends can be great to talk to but many of us aren’t able to listen without forming some kind of opinion. Counseling gives you someone to express exactly how you feel without having fear of judgment. Also, therapists have heard many of the things you are going through so they are able to help you understand why you are feeling that way and give you ways to cope better.
I have found when I share my story many people have had some of the same feelings or thoughts but didn’t have the courage to seek help. The truth is it takes a strong person to admit they are weak in an area and need help. Life is no joke and can sometimes deal you a terrible blow, but it is how you handle that blow that determines the type of person you are. If you are reading this and happen to be one of those people that are down or depressed I just want to tell you you have something to contribute. You are a valuable and strong person. Your tough times won’t last forever. One day you will be able to look back at this point and smile at the progress you have made. I know I do.
Today I am so much better. As you can tell I am back in school and genuinely happy to be here. I look back at where I was a year ago and pat myself on the back for taking the steps I did. My only regret is not seeking help sooner. I don’t see myself as unstable or mentally unhealthy. I see myself as a normal human being that just so happens to struggle with depression. Depression doesn’t define who I am. If anyone of you would happen to see me around campus you would not be able to tell that I battle with depression. I use it as motivation and inspiration. Yes, I did hit rock bottom, but I got back up a better and more complete person. If my story can help or inspire one person I feel I have done what I was meant to do. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and like my counselor told me keep your head up, life is too important for you to miss.