Sometimes you just need a little something to push you over the edge, something to make you realize that you’ve been ignoring the obvious. It happens to everyone, whether it’s a big or small matter. In my case, it was a big one.
I've had a lot of difficulties in my life: physically, mentally, and emotionally, at home and at school. As these problems kept adding up, it began to get harder and harder to keep myself together.
My high school had created a new club called “We’re All Human.” It’s an organization that the mother of a student who had committed suicide created that year. Their first big event was a Suicide Awareness Walk. The whole school came together as a group to walk and then to sit for an assembly. The assembly included stories of a few students’ experiences with depression. Each one was so different yet so powerful.
As the assembly went on, I became more and more emotional. By the time the speeches ended, I was in tears, as were most of the people around me. Those testimonies were the push that I needed in order to see the big picture. In fact, they ultimately saved my life.
As I listened to the warning signs of depression - sadness, lack of motivation, drowsiness, loss of interests, inability to sleep or eat, feelings of hopelessness, irritability, inability to concentrate, having negative or self-harming thoughts, and many others it made me really think about my own thoughts and feelings. I could relate to all of those signs and I was finally ready to admit that I was suffering. I knew that if they could get through the mental illness, I could too.
After the assembly came to a close, I called my mom and told her I needed to go home. I couldn’t be at school anymore. I had to talk to someone.
When I got home, I told my mom everything. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but ultimately the best. It took a long time for my parents and sister to understand what was going on because I had no reason to feel that way. I just couldn’t help it.
I started going to a therapist right away. It took a little while for me to adjust my outlook on life and to allow myself to open up so much to a complete stranger. As promised, after each of my sessions I felt better than ever.
Therapy didn’t fix me, but it definitely helped. I was recommended to see a psychiatrist to get prescribed anti-depressants, which also helped. After I got settled into the routine of going to therapy and taking my medication, I noticed and a lot of people around me noticed, my improved attitude towards life.
Looking back on how I used to feel all the time, the only thing I can remember is how unhappy I was. Of course, I had many happy moments, but not nearly as much as a junior in high school who had lots of friends and the best family ever, should have. I became very good at hiding my emotions and faking my moods. I taught myself how to morph a false smile into looking like a real one and how to make people believe I was okay, when I really wasn’t.
I owe a huge “Thank you” to the We’re All Human committee for giving me the strength to speak up and allow people to help me. It’s hard to admit you have a problem, but once you get the reassurance that you’re not alone, it makes it so much easier.
You never know when or where you’re going to get the push that you need to let you fall into the right state of mind that lets you see that there is a problem. Life isn’t easy, but it is easier when you have an amazing club like We’re All Human to help you.
Depression and suicide are sensitive topics of conversation and have such a negative stigma that it can make people feel embarrassed to admit their problems. Nobody wants to feel like they have something wrong with them, but trust me when I tell you that asking for help was the best decision of my life. Depression isn’t a choice - it’s a mental illness and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
My experience with depression has been a blessing in disguise for me. It took a lot of courage and strength to acknowledge it, but We’re All Human helped me appreciate life and everything I have. Because of their event, I have learned to always look for the good things that come from the bad. You only live once, so don’t make a mistake by trying to solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution. Don’t ignore the signs.