GUEST COLUMN: Let’s talk about depression
When people meet me for the first time, I’m told it’s my love for life that draws them in.
I'm always happy to meet new people, and if I can make a person laugh, that’s even better. If they only knew that for a majority of the last 10 years, I felt emptiness, sadness and even hopelessness.
You’re looking at the face of depression. If you look at my life on the surface, you will see someone who has achieved at the highest of highs. I have a Bachelor's degree from Indiana University. I played semi-pro football and I am a graduate student here at Central Michigan University. But, I also have suffered in silence for so long.
For years, I was able to hide my depression by wearing masks and living in self-denial, saying that I was just having a “bad day.” I would pretend that it would just work itself out and everything would be fine. But as the years wore on, the lows got even lower.
We try to push aside depression and mental health issues because it’s “somebody else’s problem.”As I continued to fall into the depths, it became my problem.
I would say that I wanted to disappear, escape or leave the world. Yes, I have thought about ending my life before. I thought a move from a small Indiana farming town to Mount Pleasant would help shake me out of my personal hell and help me beat this on my own.
But, I learned real depression is when you’re surrounded by happiness and only feel pain. It’s a storm in your mind that is unrelenting.
I chose to write a portion of my story because I want each of you reading this to know that real depression is not about failing a test or having a bad day. It’s not even about getting rejected by a girl you like. These are all disappointments. Real depression is when everything around you is going right, yet you feel like you are falling deeper into the pit of quicksand.
If you are suffering from depression or any mental health issue, it will get better with help. You have to take that first step. Talk to somebody that you can trust. Seek out a counseling center on campus. Whatever you do, please do not fight this alone.
For 10 years, I fought an uphill battle that I was losing. I made the choice, and I’m proud to say that each day I feel myself becoming stronger in my fight.
We need to remove the stigma that society places with depression.
Know that if you are suffering, you are not weak. You are strong for hanging on for so long.
I am just one of the many faces of depression in the world. And I will never give up my fight.
Graduate student, Central Michigan University