I was recently having a conversation with somebody about how difficult it is to take that first “Leap of Faith” and discuss depression with the people around you. I remember how difficult it was for me because the conversation was a little forced. Let me start from the beginning:
I was a Freshman in college (I’m a senior now) and I was in my Biology 101 class texting one of my closest friends when a wave of dark thoughts and emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. As I was texting her I asked, “Do you think anybody would miss me if I wasn’t around tomorrow?” To me, that was an innocent question that I feel everybody asks themselves at some point in their life, but it wasn’t so innocent to her. Later that night I was running one of my organization meetings when my RA walked in. He was a close friend of mine but has never shown interest in my organization before, and showed up halfway into the meeting so I knew that something was up. As I wrapped up my meeting, he didn’t leave with the rest of the people because he wanted to walk back to our residence hall together. As we began our trek back, covered by the blanket of the night sky, he began telling me that he heard some things that have been worrying some of the staff that was close to us and asked that I meet with our Residence Hall Director. I felt like my life began spiraling out of control because in a matter of hours, it felt like the whole world knew.
She ended up telling our Leadership Adviser because she had nobody else to go to, he was forced to report it to the Mental Health Center because it was his job, the Mental Health Center told University officials, the University told my Residence Hall Director, my RHD told my RA and that’s where things began to get out of control.
After meeting with my RHD, she suggested that I meet with a psychiatrist since the university offers free counseling services. It began as an option for me and turned into a requirement when I was later told that I needed to go and get a psychiatric evaluation done. The University requires it to make sure that I’m not “at risk” and that I’m not a “liability.” I was SO pissed at the University and my friend. Something that I didn’t want to open up about was now.. I was forced to sign a piece of paper stating that if I was ever to harm myself in any way without telling somebody, that I was to suffer “severe consequences.” Basically, they were to kick me out of school. What’s the best solution to help somebody that feels like they have no self worth? Kick them out of a place that could make their life meaningful. If you couldn’t sense the sarcasm in that, then I apologize for not making it more obvious.
It came back that I wasn’t at risk (I could’ve told them that) but I was suffering from severe clinical depression (I could’ve told them that too). It was suggested that I go to counseling even though I was absolutely terrified. I decided to give it a shot and I have been seeing the same counselor every week for the past 3 years.
At one point in time, I absolutely hated the friend that ended up reporting my depression but now, I can’t thank her enough. I believe that if she didn’t, that I may not have been around to write this post for you. Seeking help was one of the things that actually saved me and kept my brain and my heart from going through a constant battle of right and wrong. I often hear stories of other people who report their friend’s depression and how there always seems to be some sort of backlash because of it. I always sympathize with those stories because I was on the opposite end of that at one point in time. If you’re in a situation like this, I promise you that they will thank you some day, because you did the right thing.
If you’re scared to seek help, don’t be. You’ll only grow stronger and maybe one day you’ll be the author of an anonymous blog that aims at educating people on the darkest parts of your life.
Thanks for reading.