CDC reported twice as many people died by suicide than homicide in 2016.
When you think of depression, what do you imagine?
A cold empty room, a raining cloud above one’s head or a gray veil of sadness that distorts your vision are all common descriptions I’ve heard.
The truth is a depressive’s mind is a playground for what can only be described as a twisted game.
Depression is not the gray veil of sadness that blinds you.
Rather, it feels as if the thin veil of joy you momentarily believed was real has been lifted from your eyes, and you now see the truth clearer than ever:
Nobody else feels the way you do; being miserable is what’s real; and it’s not that people don’t care about you — you could make a list of everyone who does — but that somehow, you’d be doing those people a favor if you didn’t exist.
Sound ridiculous? Because it is, but depression lies.
When I heard this description by writer Andrew Solomon during a Dec. 18, 2013, TED Talk, I felt comfort in knowing that my experience is shared.
Of course, there are variations to depressive disorders; your experience might not look like mine.
There are far too many symptoms of depressive disorders to list, as they can impact every aspect of our lives physically and mentally.
Take this recipe for disaster and add final exams, projects, work, and no sleep into the equation.
Last semester, I overloaded myself by taking 18 credit hours.
The droning pressure to do well only amplified my symptoms of depression, making the game much more difficult.
If you can help it, don’t overwork yourself, especially if it feels like your mind is working against you.
The good news is students don’t have to play depression’s game alone. There is help and it’s free to students.
Students can make an appointment in the main lobby of the student advocacy center to see a behavioral counselor.
Talking to somebody is the first step to a better quality of life, and for some people that’s all it may take.
Others may also need a change of activities.
In my experience, the counselor I spoke with helped provide context to what I was feeling.
I felt there was no way out of the hole I was in, and the simple act of speaking with a professional improved my mental state.
Students can also join one of 10 support groups, including the depression and anxiety support group that meets 2-3:30 p.m. Wednesday and 1-2:30 p.m. Thursday in the student advocacy center.
Other support groups discuss addiction recovery, intimate partner violence and LGBTQ+ issues.
Call the student advocacy center at 210-486-1111 for more information on support groups.
My experiences are not only real, they are common.
Far too common, in fact, for the amount of discussion that isn’t taking place in our communities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta reported suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals aged 10-34 in the U.S. in 2016.
That year, there were twice as many deaths by suicide as there were by homicides. Suicides numbered 44,965; there were 19,362 homicides.
Ask yourself, which one are you more afraid of? Mental illness is real and has infected our population.
We must do all we can to eliminate the taboo of talking about depression, and other mental illnesses, until nobody feels trapped by depression’s twisted game.
Talking with others about your experiences is the first step and this college offers great opportunities to do so.
Although it may not seem like it at times, this game is one you can win, so long as you keep playing.