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Why Getting Rejected Because of My Depression Only Made Me Stronger

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Today was the first day in my 22 years on this earth I felt I was being discriminated against. I’ve battled depression, anxiety and fibromyalgia for several years now, and that means I’ve experienced situations or moments when I felt like I didn’t belong. For example, you don’t have the energy to deal with all-night long parties as a 22-year-old should, but you also feel like you have to take the stairs and walk through pain because the elevators are for those with “real” disabilities. Regardless, I’ve always been able to feel like I belonged, or that my mental or physical conditions weren’t a reason for me to have different opportunities as everyone else. Until today.

I study psychology, and because I’m in my last year I have to start applying for internships. I’ve always dreamed of being a clinical psychologist, and I always thought I would be that psychologist who would fight against stigma and help people who’ve felt as hopeless and lost as me. Consequently, I applied for an internship in clinical psychology, which I was sure I would get because I have the academic profile and grades necessary. I got the mail with the results, and you can imagine my shock when I saw I was denied a position in clinical psychology.

I wrote an email to the teacher who was in charge. His answer: The director of the program specifically told him I couldn’t get that internship in clinical psychology because she heard I had depression and she thought I was “too weak and emotional to handle it.” I’ve never told her about my issues, and he has never spoken to my therapist or my psychiatrist. She just heard it from a teacher (who I told about my issues over six months ago when I was in my worst depressive episode) and was judging me based on that. I was brave enough to accept my mental condition, and because of that I was condemned? 

So just because I have depression and I’m brave enough to accept it, I’m weak, I’m not capable. Well, let me tell you something. It actually took me getting denied a position because of my depression to start believing in myself. Now I see it — I’m so much more than my diagnosis, the pills I take, the tears I’ve cried. No one is braver than those who have to battle our heads daily, who choose life even though our heads scream about suicide, who get out of bed when it seems hopeless. No one is braver than us, who fight not only against our illnesses, but also against an ignorant society that insists mental health is a joke.

To you, reading this and struggling: You are so much more. We only grow stronger from ignorance and stigma. Every time someone tells you that you are too emotional or too weak, the warrior inside of you grows. Because there are so many people out there you have to prove wrong. Fight every second to show those who once discriminated you or mocked you or denied you something for your mental health that you are strong, intelligent, brave, caring, loving, generous… That you are imperfectly perfect. You are capable of anything, anything that you dream of. No condition, label, medication or rejection can stop you from being the best you can be

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Image via Thinkstock. 

Originally published: December 28, 2016
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