Student going to class

I went into my freshman year of college fearful for my life — believing with 100 percent certainty I would not even make it to the legal drinking age. I was sure I would kill myself. If my depression wasn’t stressful enough, let’s add college on top of it… I thought this would definitely push me over the edge.

Now, as a senior, I start the semester personally contacting each of my professors about how I’m dealing with depression. Which seems a little odd, but here is why I do it:

My first year at Purdue University, I was struggling horribly to stay on top of my work. Not because I am not hardworking, but because my memory was nearly nonexistent. It did not matter if I went to class because I couldn’t focus. Not like, “Oh! I am just distracted,” but like, “Did I even go to class today? What did we talk about?” It was scary and frustrating.

I would spend more time reading material and completing a simple written paragraph than many of my peers. Most of my energy was used trying to stop suicidal ideations from flooding my mind. Have you ever tried to cover a running garden hose by just putting your hand over the spout? That’s what it was like. Lots of pressure, leaking, inevitably exhausting and basically impossible.

I initially thought I couldn’t tell my instructors about my depression. I fed into the stigma that depression is not a “real” illness. Therefore, I had to take round about ways to make it through college.

First, I decided I would go to the disability resource center on campus to see what I could do and have a “legit” excuse to get extra time for my work. They told me I needed a doctor’s note and that they could give me extended test times and a private, quiet space for taking exams. That sounded reasonable to me. I was satisfied with the accommodations.

Next, I had to take the letter of accommodations from the center to each professor. Most were understanding, but I did have one professor who was completely disturbed by this accommodation. He asked, “Why am you taking this class if you need accommodations Dropping the class may be a better option.” I could sense his frustration in having to take five more minutes to assign me three separate exam dates. Like I was such a burden. That didn’t help the depression whatsoever.

For my other classes, this accommodation seemed to work well for exams and quizzes… but when it came to attendance, papers and projects, I was at a loss.

So, my second attempt to avoid telling my professors I had depression was to lie, like many college students do to avoid coming to class or facing a deadline.

I’d send an email to my teacher of my unfinished assignment with any excuse except for “depression” because “it’s not real.” It looked something like:

Professor,

Alex from class just informed me we have a written response to the chapter due today by class time. I don’t know why, but I never received that email about that added assignment. Can you please add me to the class email list? Is it also possible to have an extra day to complete this assignment since I was not aware of it?

Have a great afternoon!

— Maria

or

Professor,

I have strep throat and therefore cannot turn in a hardcopy of my report to you as I am still contagious. I realize this is an an inconvenience, but is it acceptable to just email you the report by the end of today just so you know I finished it? I will bring in a hardcopy to the next class.

Have a great afternoon!

Maria

Lies.

Just shit like that. All of which, in my head, was more acceptable than explaining my depression.

Finally I cracked. The pressure was too much. Everyone, besides myself, thought it was best to take some time away from school. So, I did. This gave me time to think about how I was going to survive my last year in college.

And I realized depression is not meant to be a secret. I wanted people to understand that sometimes, like allergies, depression flares up and affects my everyday functions. It’s debilitating. And to be functional, I have to work through it. Like for the flu, you need bed rest. For depression (the depression I’m dealing with anyway), I needed to focus on the plan I had developed with my therapist.

Finally, after eight months, I was going back to college.

My first assignment back in college. Advanced Presentational Speaking:

“Introduce yourself  (What should we know about you? What has inspired you? Why are you who you are?)”

This. This was my chance. This f*cking debilitating illness that had been been latched onto me for half of my life. They needed to know. This is what has made me experience life differently. I was the first speaker to present.

I walked to the front of the class of only about 16 people, and told them that intensive therapy saved my life. That I’m still recovering and I needed everyone’s support. I completely opened up, without gruesome details, but told them how this illness has impacted my life. This is me. A survivor.

Then it hit me: Why am I lying to get accommodations for assignments, exams and projects? I decided to stop following the stigma. If I was struggling, I would email my professor. For example, if the depression was really bad, an email might look something like this:

Professor,

I’m unable to attend class today and maybe the next few classes. I am fighting depression and right now, I need to focus on myself. I understand if I lose participation points or cannot make up assignments. I am willing to do extra work to make up for missed assignments and absences. I also can have my therapist write up a letter explaining this illness if you need. I am sorry for any inconvenience I have caused. Any accommodations for assignments would be very much appreciated. Please let me know if there is anything I can do while I am taking the time to maintain my mental health.

Feel free to call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx if that is more convenient.

Thanks for your time,

Maria

My instructors thanked me for my honesty. Almost all of my teachers allowed me to do things at my own pace when I asked, as long as if it was within reason.

This lenience comes with trust. I am not one to skip classes or not do my work. So I knew I had to show I was truly making an effort. I went to office hours. I’d participate in class. You have to do small things. You have to try. You have to start somewhere. I wanted — I needed my professors’ trust. I need it so I can actually graduate.

Here is, in my opinion, the best way to survive school when you have depression:

1. Email your professors before the first day of class and ask if you could meet with him/her during a scheduled time or office hours to discuss the upcoming semester and how you can be the most effective student.

2. At the appointment, jump right in. Professors are super busy and if they’re kind enough to not pawn you off on a teacher’s assistant, respect their time. I know this is difficult. I spend at least half of my therapy appointments saying nothing of substance.

Explain how you’re working on your health, and wanted to inform him/her you may struggle at points in the semester. Not because you aren’t trying, but because you are recovering.

3. Set up a plan with your instructor in case you can’t make it to class due to panic attacks, a trip to the hospital, an emergency appointment with a therapist, or if you just need a mental break so you don’t burn out. Here’s how I do this:

Step one: Email your professor as soon as you feel like you might be late to class, miss a class or need extra time on an assignment. Even if you are 75 percent sure you will get the assignment done on time or will be in class, go ahead and let your professor know in advance.

Usually, professors appreciate the heads up. One, it shows you aren’t trying to avoid going to class. And two, it’s respectful. I mean, college is like a job. It’s important to have good work ethic.

Step two: Read and read and reread the syllabus. Understand every expectation of the instructor and find the rules for absences, late work and tardiness. Most instructors have a few freebies for absences just in case someone is horribly ill. Use them wisely. Seriously. And even if they are freebies, make sure you still let your professor know if you are missing class. Always keep him/her in the loop of what’s going on… just in case things get bad. It may seem like overkill, but just in case something goes wrong on your end, it’s nice to know your instructor actually knows who you are.

Step three: If you are really struggling, email your instructor and politely ask for an extension. Always make sure you look through the syllabus and reiterate that you know and understand  x, y, and z rules, and know they may not want to give you an extension. In which case, ask if any other opportunities will be available to make up points. Make sure if they do need a therapist note or doctor note, you have one. And offer to provide it.

Instructors aren’t always going to understand. Especially if all the due dates are handed to you in the syllabus the first day of class.

“What do you mean you couldn’t finish this on time? You have known about this assignment for a month.”

To which I would have to argue, “Depression can sneak up on you. Sometimes triggers are just thrown in your face and boom, two weeks are gone. Where did they go? I don’t even remember. That’s how this depression affects me.”

For those instructors who really do not get it, I do go out of my way to send them research on depression and how it affects focus, memory and general energy. I get notes from professionals explaining this is a real problem. If you decide to do this, just be respectful.

I realize this is a lot of work, but it takes work to get things worth having.

I hope this helps students out there like me. I know it’s really difficult to handle the stress of school on top of maintaining your mental health. You can do it! Good luck on all future educational endeavors!

Follow this journey on Roses in Her Cheeks.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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In social work, “self-care” is one of those terms that is so overused, it has ceased to mean anything. Typically when self-care is referenced, the speaker is referring to activities and experiences that bring you pleasure. “The work in this field is really tough. You have to practice self-care. Go to a yoga class. Take a walk on a sunny day. Protect your leisure time. Get a mani-pedi. Soak in a bubble bath. Treat yo’self.”

Pleasure is great, and it is important. During seasons when I am depressed, I force myself to indulge in pleasure as though it were a lifeline, because it is. Most likely, there is actual theory and clinical principles behind this, but I’m no clinician, so I can’t speak to that. Here’s my interpretation: feeling bad all day, every day, is exhausting. It’s not good for your body, or your heart, or your psyche. So when I reach day 3 of feeling sad and terrible, I force-feed myself pleasure, even though depression sucks all desire for fun and pleasure out of you. For me it feels similar to the way you might force yourself to eat a salad because you know it’s good for you, even though you may fucking hate eating salads. (I am doing that right now, by the way – eating a fucking salad. It is picture perfect, with local lettuce and beets, tomatoes, dried cranberries, with a lemon-balsamic vinaigrette. I hate it. I’m eating it anyway.)

I thought I was doing this self-care thing the right way until November when it became obvious I was not. Yes, sometimes self-care looks like pleasurable activities, and in such cases, it is not so hard for me to get myself to do it. But if that were all that self-care entailed, I would not have found myself in the place I am in. I’ve been doing that kind of self-care for years with insufficient gains, so this leads me to believe my self-care regimen was incomplete.

What social workers and other people don’t often tell you is that self-care can be completely terrible. Self-care includes a lot of adult-ing, and activities you want to put off indefinitely. Self-care sometimes means making tough decisions which you fear others will judge. Self-care involves asking for help; it involves vulnerability; it involves being painfully honest with yourself and your loved ones about what you need.

I am reconstructing my ideas about what it means to take radically good care of myself. I am making it a priority, to the detriment of other priorities, because I have to come the realization that my life depends on it. I will tell the truth about my present self-care, even though I have zero assurances I am getting it right. Because a) getting it right is not the point (but God, do I love to get things right), and b) the other thing nobody tells you about self-care is that it’s nearly impossible to know if you’re doing it right, until months later when you either find yourself feeling better or shittier. Check in with me in June for an addendum.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY.

Medical self-care is completely unglamorous. Is there anyone on the planet who enjoys going to the dentist? If I go to the dentist once every three years, I’m doing really well. Self-care is paper-gowned, bare-assed vulnerability, as you do the un-fun work of showing up for your Pap smear, mammogram, or enema. Medical self-care is particularly difficult for me when I am depressed and anxious. The depressive part of my brain doesn’t care if I’m sick because it can’t care about anything. The anxious part of my brain doesn’t want to make the doctor’s appointment because what if something is wrong, and what if the nurse is mean, and what if the doctor commits a microaggression, and what if I have to go to doctor’s appointments by myself for the rest of my life because I never find a partner? I’m almost 30, and I can no longer indulge the myth that I am invincible and I will never have physical health issues. Right now, self-care means getting the medical care I need, even if it is difficult and scary for me to accept I am a person who sometimes needs medical care.

QUIT.

In the past year, I have just been quitting shit left and right. Marathons. Jobs. Pet ownership. I hate quitting so much, I can’t even tell you. For a Type-A perfectionist who has always based my self-worth in my accomplishments and being perceived as a capable, self-reliant person, admitting I’m not well enough to do something, like work a full time job, is one of the most painful realities I can imagine. People talk about setting boundaries and avoiding over commitment as though it’s fun. That shit ain’t fun. It is not fun to sit in the office of your work supervisor and explain why you keep calling out sick. It is even less fun to finally suck it up and leave a job because you’re not well enough to work full time, even if you think you ought to be. Even if I have been before, I am not now, and self-care means being honest with myself and other people about that.

The painful self-care I am doing now is coming to terms with the fact that I have built my life around performing only the best parts of myself for other people, or performing for myself to project an image of who I would like to be. And it’s time to quit that shit. I hate it. I feel weak and lazy and dramatic and irresponsible. But I know deep down I am not any of those things, and regardless, it is the self-care I need to do. I can hate it and do it anyway. And maybe tomorrow, I’ll hate it a little bit less. And next week, I’ll hate it less still.

ASK FOR HELP.

In my experience, people talk about reaching out for help as though it is cathartic and will always be well received. The truth is it is scary and uncomfortable, and until you’ve done it, you have no assurance about how people will react. You would think it would be easier if you have strong loving relationships with your friends and family, but I am lucky enough to have all of that, and I still find asking for help completely terrifying and painful and shameful, even though it ought not be any of those things. Having loving parents means I worry about causing alarm. And if the people who love you are empathic people who pour intention into your relationship, it can feel really scary to let them into the dark places of your life, and own up to feelings of deep sadness or suicidal thoughts. For me, a person who is driven to please and to perform, and who has immensely loving friends and family, being honest about my depression causes a unique anxiety – fear that I will say, “I don’t want to live,” and people will hear, “your love is insufficient, and so insignificant to me that I’m willing to leave you.” This line of thinking binds me into a false choice between my pain and someone else’s: if I am honest about my pain, I will cause pain for the people I love; therefore asking for help is a bad choice. No. Reaching out has been necessary, and now that I’m on the other side of it, I’m glad I did, but it took a lot to overcome that line of thinking, and it certainly was not the pleasurable type of self-care.

Also, maybe there are some people in this world who have the ability to ask for help in a graceful and appropriate way. However, I do not possess that trait. My efforts at reaching out and asking for help have fallen in the center of an unattractive Venn diagram, the circles of which include a) clumsiness, b) histrionics, and c) mild disregard for other people’s needs and perspective. Asking for help is difficult on a good day, so when you’ve waited until you are the worst version of yourself before you try to do it, it’s not a pretty picture. You’ve gotta do it anyway, because self-care; it’s totally shitty.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR RELATIONSHIPS.

I believe there’s usually a lot of ugly shit at the root of our depression. Yes, it is a medical and physiological disorder, and I’m trying to unpack the stigma I didn’t know I had toward depression. But mental disorders and illness are never as simple as, “here, you need more of this chemical between your neurons.” Underneath the physiological processes, there is usually a ton of FOO (Family Of Origin) issues, some maladaptive coping, and some cognitive distortions surrounding your identity and your relationship to other people. Recovering from depression means confronting some of that shit and working through some it. (I say some, because baby steps.) Recovery means hard, honest conversations with your loved ones about what you need, and what you don’t need. It also means doing your best to love and support the people who are loving and supporting you, at the very least on your good days. Unfortunately, experiencing a major depressive episode does not suddenly make you the center of everyone’s universe or give you permission to be an asshole. Taking care of your relationships when you’re depressed or anxious can be hard. Not always, but sometimes. I am finding the only way to do this is through open, honest, direct communication. I am stumbling through it, and I am lucky enough to have people who are willing to stumble inelegantly along with me.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR BASIC NEEDS.

Pay your bills. Plain and simple. It’s necessary if one wants to continue living indoors. I can only speak for myself, so I’ll say that financial responsibility is really hard for me when I’m anxious or depressed. I don’t want to log in to my bank account because I’m afraid of judging myself for seeing how much money I’ve spent on eating out because cooking meals at home is too overwhelming a task. I’m forgetful and have trouble focusing, which means utility bills get paid at the last minute, and vehicle oil changes get done 1000 miles too late. Even though these things are hard to do when I’m depressed, I have to find ways to make them happen, even if it means asking for help or reminders.

IN CONCLUSION

If you’re doing these un-fun aspects of self-care, I’m proud of you. If you’re doing them, and you are sick, mentally or physically, or if you in a tough spot in whatever way in your life, I’m really, really proud of you because it’s not easy to do. If you’re not doing all of them, or you’re struggling in asking for help, or you’re struggling in quitting something you need to leave behind, I believe in you. It’s not fun or easy, and you can do it anyway.

Follow this journey on Each Little Spark.

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If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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What Nobody Tells You About Self-Care




Talking about the darkness that lives inside me hasn’t always been easy. It took years for me to tell anyone other than my parents. When I was first diagnosed with depression, I felt so alone. I was surrounded by people who didn’t understand what went on in my head every day, and it was a difficult thing to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it.

Looking at me and my life from the outside, you’d never know. I work hard to slap a smile on my face every morning. It’s never easy, but it’s necessary. I greet everyone I pass with that same smile and a “hello” hoping to make their day better than it was before. It reassures me I’m still needed on this Earth. I try to be as upbeat and as chipper as possible, even though I know it will completely and totally exhaust me for the rest of the day.

From the inside, you’d see the darkness that dwells in my soul. You’d see the hurt that creeps into my heart and shatters it into a million pieces. You’d see all the tears I hold back on beautiful, sunny days as I lay in bed, too exhausted and sad to greet the world. You’d see the terrible things I think about myself held behind my tongue and bouncing around my brain fighting to escape my lips.

One day, I decided to let the light in. No one would ever choose to live in darkness. I started telling people who were close to me about my diagnosis. I then talked with extended family members, classmates and coworkers. A funny thing happened once I started to share my story. I found out I wasn’t as alone as I thought I was. I heard the phrase, “Me too,” come out of many people’s mouth. I found out that I wasn’t the only one who struggled.

It is an incredible feeling to know there are people just like you in a world. We cried together about the bad days and celebrated the little victories we accomplished.

When it all comes down to it, I share my story for two reasons. The first one is for awareness. Mental health needs to become a priority in our country. We cannot be afraid to talk because with more awareness comes more support. With more support comes more programs and professionals who can really help people in need or in crisis.

I also share my story to shine my light for others. For the people who can’t navigate the high seas of sadness, I am the lighthouse. For people who can’t find their way through the depths of depression, I am a flashlight. I shine the way because others have shined the way for me. We cannot be afraid of this light. You must shine it for others to guide them through this confusing and terrifying journey. It is a beacon of hope on cloudy days and a sign that we are never alone. Collectively, we will bring light to this condition and make sure no one is afraid of the dark ever again.

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Depression is like a thunderstorm that strikes at the heart of our body and soul. It ravages our personality, massacres our behavior and twists our thought patterns. Many who have survived the storm of depression would guarantee one thing. Once the storm was over, they were not the same person they used to be. The mark is imprinted on our mind and soul forever. Our lives change forever.

Though that sounds so pessimistic and chaotic, the change caused by depression may not necessarily be a liability. There are some changes that can brighten up our life in ways we have never thought of. There are always silver linings that can decorate our injured soul and replenish what we lost.

1. You feel everything deeply.

Now, some of you might regard that as a disadvantage. Feeling emotions has always been considered as a flaw in personality. A flaw that affects relationships and careers alike. Yet, believe me, there is a silver lining to that as well. Just as we feel anger and guilt deeply, we would also begin to feel deeper happiness. Even the sight of a flower booming or the sunrise could inflict a sense of tranquility upon me. A survivor of depression is never satisfied with superficiality. They dig deeper to get a better knowledge of their inner self as well as the world around them.

2. You have enormous amount of empathy.

This one factor is enough for me to justify the struggle I go through in depression. When the storm ends, we are left with enormous amount of empathy for the struggle of others, a quality that seems rare among humans these days.

We can feel our hearts break at the sight of suffering, be it the suffering of our loved ones or of any living soul. Since we have been through pain, we know what is like to be the person who’s struggling. A survivor of depression can empathize with any person and help reduce their pain. And in turn, we achieve an inner peace that can replenish our soul.

3.  A chance to rebuild your life.

Every storm leaves a whole lot of destruction in its wake and depression is no different in that aspect. And surviving the storm of depression is the most difficult part of all. It might last for weeks, months and maybe, even years. It requires patience, love, empathy and kindness to survive it. So, if you are going through depression right now, be patient. Go easy on yourself. Outside the bubble of struggling you’re stuck in, there is hope. Remember that.

Remember that if you survive, you have a chance to rebuild. A chance to rebuild your life on a very strong foundation made of struggles, pain and tears.


The feeling of wanting to die is overpowering. I kneel on the floor, body caving inward as I grasp my head between clenched fingers. I slam my eyes shut, open my mouth and scream without sound. Numb, my mind is frazzled and frenzied, accelerating out of control. The world is building far too big and far too fast. Its weight is crushing my mind.

Hold on.

My brain slips, my fingers tightened around my skull trying desperately to hold my world together as my thoughts race. A panic starts to build, I clench harder and harder. I squeeze my eyes tighter, burrowing my state of conscious choice deep behind my lids, hoping the mere pressure of my tightly sealed vision will hold my mind in place. But it is slipping.

Hold on.

I open my eyes and drop my hands, leaning back I gasp for air, just now realizing I haven’t been breathing. The yellow light bulbs inset in the ceiling above me looked vile in their filthy, penetrating presence. I stand up quickly, flicking the light switch off and letting the calming darkness pour down around me. Though I have taken a shower an hour before, I feel uncomfortable, dirty and unclean.

My skin crawls and I can’t escape it. I want to be washed clean. With the moonlight shining through it, I opened my window and take the screen out, resting it gently against my bedroom wall. I climb out and onto the roof from the first floor extending out below me. I stand with my arms wide open on my rooftop. I close my eyes again, feeling the rain wash over my skin, soak my hair and calm my mind.

As the night wraps her darkness around me, I felt a stillness begin in my head. I open my eyes, step forward and stand with my toes touching the edge of the roof, two stories up. This isn’t enough to kill me, is it? I think, looking down. I shut my eyes again. I take a deep breath, as the rain cascades down along my body, fighting everything inside of me to jump.

Hold on.

Is life really too precious to lose? The thought draws pangs inside of me. It has to be. God, it just had to be, even though it doesn’t feel like it. The pain spreads, starting in the core of my chest, outward through my torso as it punches a gaping, raw hole in my chest. I feel the freedom to cry. Wrapping my arms around myself, on this cold November night, I weep and whisper a prayer.

Depression, please, be still.

That is how I often felt, when dealing with the depression before I stabilized. It was an unending pain. I couldn’t make it stop. This symptom is often belittled or misunderstood about depression or the depressive side of bipolar disorder.

Many people want to say depression isn’t sadness, and they are partially correct. Depression isn’t solely sadness. It can be rage, depravity, numbness, cognitive dysfunction and so many other horrible things. Yet, sadness is definitely part of depression for many, many people.

It isn’t your typical sadness, though. It isn’t something that has a clear end or a, “Once I cry it out, I will feel better,” type of sadness. It is an immeasurable, unending grief. Sometimes it focuses itself around a physical thing, loss of a loved one, failure in life or something of the like. Other times, the sadness of depression centers itself around the people with depression themselves. They are grieving the idea that they aren’t lovable, they aren’t worthwhile or their life is pointless. Sometimes, the sadness has no grounds. It just is.

Mental illness can be masked for many different reasons and in many different ways. Not everyone who has clinical depression develops that incredible sadness, and not everyone with incredible sadness has clinical depression. Yet, that symptom of either life or depression can be one in the same and requires the same reaction.

Just be there. I can’t tell you how many times I wished someone was just there when I was struggling with undiagnosed depression and even before when life hit me particularly hard. When you are there for someone who is weeping or unbelievably sad, you open up their ability to confide in you and get help if they need it.

There was one defining moment, in the heat of my first depressive episode that lasted for months. It was one kind act by one old man who helped me in ways I don’t even know if I can explain. I was in a parking lot, sitting in my car and wringing the steering wheel in my hands, sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn’t do it anymore. Life was too much. The depression was just too much.

Then, I heard a tap on my window. I wiped my eyes quickly and looked up into the kind eyes of an old man. He motioned for me to get out of the car. I wanted to drive away, but I didn’t. I got out and stood there. He reached out, put his hand on my shoulder and asked if I was all right.

He then squeezed my shoulder and told me not to give up. I looked up into those eyes, old, wrinkled and wise, and I felt OK, even for just a moment. It was enough to get me through that horrible day. I still think of that man sometimes. I don’t know if he is even on this earth anymore. He is an angel either way.

All it takes sometimes for someone to hang onto life a little longer is for someone to go out of their way and care a little more than everyone else seems to. All it takes is compassion. It isn’t hard, and you can save someone’s life.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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I’ll lie in wait. When the door is closed and the lights are off is when I emerge. You are alone. But you have me. I sneak in and you reveal your deepest worries and regrets. You confide in me. I reaffirm and show you reasons why these worries are true. They are fabrications and I love to spin stories, but I have your trust.

I have convinced you that you are alone; I have you convinced you are the root of the problems around you, I have played on your deepest fears and I have even caused you to hurt yourself physically, just to gain relief from my constant onslaught of darkness.

Some have been inspired by listening to others talk openly about me, and some have confronted me head on and sought help themselves. But I’m confident I have you. You don’t know any of this. You don’t even know my true name is depression. I’m comfortable here lying in bed with you. You continue to mindlessly sift through YouTube. All the while I do my work in the background.

It’s starting to dawn on you what I am, but you haven’t named me, probably out of fear. We’re in bed again and you’re in so much pain, you’ve forgotten about the rest of your body. I have you stuck in one of my favorite stories. Your misery is inviting.

Ha! You are having that thought again; I have reduced it to a tiny thought. I’ve done my work on it: “Seek help.”  You’ve wanted to go to the toilet for three hours now and you haven’t even made a move… do you really think you can walk all the way to the student counseling services?

Shit, I need help. Anxiety wake up!

It’s only 3 a.m., Depression. He’ll be alone even longer if you convince him to skip lectures and stay in bed. Ah, depression – what have you done? You’re supposed to keep him stuck, not piss him off.

Look kid, you will have to get dressed to go there, otherwise people will look at you weird if you arrive in a tracksuit and a wrinkled hoody. The counselors will probably only laugh at you and tell you you’re wasting their time. Imagine if everyone you know in college finds out! That’s it — stay awake thinking about that. It’s really not worth it.

Nice anxiety, I think you have him.

Man, he’s still thinking about going. That’s all he’s focusing on.

He’s held on to this thought all night. Jesus, he looks exhausted.

So am I.

Me too.

Damn, he’s moving. What do we do?

What can we do? He’s going to the counseling center.

OK, while he’s waiting in reception we will convince him to leave.

They already have his information though…

We will have time to convince him to lie…

Damn, she called him in…

Shit, he’s broken down and told her…

Be strong enough to seek help. Taking on depression as part of a team is easier than fighting on your own. There are people out there who can help.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. 

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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