Eye to Eye

I came eye to eye with death recently; Not my own death, but somebody else’s. Without disclosing too much information about myself, I can tell you that I work a job that allows me to be a first responder for guests who have medical problems. I am not an EMT, and I am not a medic of any kind, but at times, I have other people’s lives in my hands.

An older woman, about the age of 80 died on me recently. She had a heart attack, and even after my constant attempts at CPR, she died. I gave her CPR, like I had been trained, with tears in my eyes, knowing that she was too far gone to do anything. Her middle aged daughter was standing over me as I was trying to resurrect her mother; I will never forget the look on her face when she realized that I couldn’t. It was something out of a horror movie, the hysterical crying, the distraught pulling of me and my uniform. Other staff members of mine had to pull her away and she slumped on the floor in tears. Paramedics arrived on scene and even with all of their medical equipment, there was nothing that they could do either.

I didn’t sleep that night. I still see her anytime I close my eyes, but I have to keep reminding myself that it’s all a part of the job. I walk by the same spot where she died and I still see her laying there, my eyes begin to well up.  I see her in other guests around the same age. I see her everyday.

I was given a new perspective on death at that moment, as it was the first time that I have ever experienced death at my own fingertips. I like to believe that since was in her 80’s, she lived a full life and it wasn’t one that she had the choice of whether or not she lost it. I am also trying my best to convince myself that it also was not a choice that was up to me.

Life is a precious thing, and it can be over before you know it. Death is unforgiving and doesn’t care who you’re with or where you are. Hold those you love close, never be afraid to let somebody know that you appreciate them, and always be kind, because you never know the stories of those around you.

Thanks for reading.

We meet again

It has been nearly 10 months since I have last posted. The amount of regular posts have become smaller and smaller because I convinced myself that I was doing better, until recently.

It seems like the world has been against me lately. I have decided to take time out of my hectic class schedule to blog and have retreated from my apartment to a public space as a deterrent for anything irrational or irreversible.

My counselor has been out on maternity leave for several months and so I have been without a session for quite some time, I just tried to chat on one of those Suicide Hotline Chats (which I’ve never done before) but was told that “There are no available representatives online,” so blogging is my final step in the depressive episode chain. I suppose that I don’t really expect anybody to be following this blog anymore, as I have been absent for quite some time, but I think this post is more for me at this point than you.

I have been having a lot of trouble as of late in terms of the people that I still have in my life and how I’m lacking an adequate amount of friends who would be there as a support system. The only person I have is my girlfriend but I have been needing to vent about that recently and I have nowhere to go; Even a dedicated Suicide Hotline isn’t there when I need it.

As you know in earlier posts, my mother has attempted suicide multiple times after divorce with my father. It has been a never ending cycle of emotions being thrown at me each time I see her or talk to her. Whenever something isn’t going the way she hopes, we’re threatened by her with talk of suicide. It’s not fair sometimes, that I’m not able to focus on my own depression because I’m constantly having to deal with my mother’s. I give suggestions about things to do to distract herself; won’t follow my advice. I recommend a counselor to talk about things; refuses to go. It’s been four years since the divorce and it’s almost like it was yesterday solely based off the way she still speaks about it. Even though I’m an adult, I feel like I shouldn’t have to be in situations like this.

The end of my college career is coming up soon, and not only do I have my future to figure out, I also have to figure out what I’m going to rename this blog once I graduate. Confessions of a Depressed Former College Student? No clue, let me know if you have any suggestions in the comments below.

I lied a bit when I said that I didn’t have an adequate support system because I do have all of you. Thanks for reading.

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

It’s been 114 days since I’ve last posted, I wish I could say that was a good thing. I’ve been doing alright, but life has been so chaotic that it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. When you’re so super busy, it all just seems to blur together and I’ve lost track of time. 

I apologize for my absence, but I do appreciate those of you who have sent me emails asking how I’ve been. The support I get from you, even when I’m not writing is why I wake up every morning. I hope to start writing more often, as it’s a therapeutic release for me. Unfortunately, with my busy schedule I haven’t been able to get in to see my counselor in months. I suppose that’s a good thing for my blog and its readers, but it’s sometimes nice to have someone who can give an unbiased opinion to matters. 

Maybe all she would hear about is how exhausted I’ve been, working full time, going to class full time and running organizations. I don’t know how I do it sometimes, but I’m grateful that I can. While I’ve been gone I was shared an infographic that I’d like to post for all of you, for more information visit the website

  
With that, I’ll be back soon! Look forward to a post in the next couple of days. In the meantime, I want to know how you’re doing! Comment below or send me an email at depressedcollegestudent@gmail.com!

#SuicidePreventionDay

September 10th was Suicide Prevention Day. I wanted to wait awhile to make a post about it, not only because I needed my time, but because there was an observation that I wanted to make.

On the 10th, I was nervous to look at my Facebook, only because of how heavy the topic would be for me. The random text messages throughout the day that said, “I’m thinking about you today,” and “I love you” were heartwarming, but the subtle reminder of what I have been through (as well as people close to me) was something that I didn’t really need that day. As open as I am about the things that I’ve been through, its still doesn’t get any easier. But here is what I observed that REALLY bothered me:

A lot of the people on my Facebook were opening up about their depression and struggle with suicide.. And a lot of people were supporting them..

Now the reason that this bothered me so much was because I only see that type of support on a day where “#SuicidePreventionDay” follows the story, and that’s only one day of the year. As soon as midnight hit that night, I no longer saw posts of Suicide Prevention but of #NeverForget and #911. The topic of Suicide is so taboo that you need the security of a National “Holiday” to blanket the thoughts of people who believe that you are just seeking attention or that it’s a cry for help. It has been nearly a month and I haven’t seen a post from anybody opening up about their own lives, but I have seen a lot of funny animal videos that people have shared! Why is it that we live in a world like that and when are things going to change?

I wish that we were able to treat every day like Suicide Prevention Day and that it was as routine as Breast Cancer Awareness or something similar. What do you think about Suicide Prevention Day?

Ask.fm

Asking questions is one of the best ways to receive and understand information. Every once in a while, I have asked for suggestions on things that you would like to hear about in regards to my blog posts and myself (without giving too much). One thing that has been difficult for people to do is voice their opinion or ask questions because they are not anonymous, and to me, that’s not fair.

Why is it that I can be anonymous, but I’m asking you for feedback without the opportunity to conceal YOUR identity?

Here’s your chance, I created an Ask.fm page which allows you to anonymously ask questions. When I answer them, they will be posted publicly on my Ask.fm page, and your name will never be shown. I would love for it to be utilized!

Here is the link:  http://ask.fm/DepressedCollegeStudent

Thank you so much for your continued support!

Today’s Top Story: Student Suffers from Depression

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.

Caring is only for the strong

“Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.”

― Karl Lagerfeld

Recently, I have been trying to do a lot of deep thinking because I feel that my soul is stuck in a dark place and I don’t know why. After reading the quote above, I couldn’t help but think: “What if you sacrifice so much of yourself that instead of people not caring about you, that you don’t care about yourself or anything you do?” This is something that I’ve come back to constantly in the past few weeks (and maybe even months).

If you know me on a day-to-day basis, you would know that I try my best to care about others and assist them in anyway that I can. For nearly 3 years in my college career, I’ve dedicated my life to improving the lives of others. Unfortunately, something internally has changed: I’ve stopped caring… I’ve stopped caring about myself and it’s carried over into my social life..

I’ve stopped caring that I’m in a horrible financial situation. I’ve stopped caring that I haven’t been able to pay off my tuition from last semester so I’m not going to be able to schedule classes until I pay off the $1,500 tuition bill. I’ve stopped caring that class starts in a few weeks and my financial aid hasn’t even come through. I’ve stopped caring that I almost got into a car accident the other day and now for some reason, all of my maintenance indicators are turned on. I’ve stopped caring that the people that I’ve sworn to assist and protect at work treat me like shit on a daily basis, even though I’m just doing my job. I’ve stopped caring that those same people spit on me, curse at me and throw things at me when they don’t agree with the rules that I didn’t make. I’ve stopped caring that I run organizations on campus and have barely lifted a finger this summer to work on them, simply because I have no motivation. I’ve stopped caring that I’ve gained nearly 30 pounds just over the past couple of months because I am so exhausted from life that I don’t want to exercise. I’ve stopped caring that I’ve barely talked to any of my friends this summer and have barely left my apartment. And most importantly, I’ve stopped caring that I’ve stopped caring..

I don’t know why this is.

It seems like an internal switch was flipped when I was sleeping and all of the sudden, I became an emotionless zombie going through the routine that is, life. I have been in such a slump lately and it feels like I will never get out of it.

I love all of you and I appreciate your continued support, thanks for reading.

Guest Blogs

I want to take a quick break from my normal posts and encourage everybody to make their way over to my Guest Blog page and read what some of YOU, the readers, have been submitting. I’m always looking for more guest bloggers, so if you want to write a piece, email me at depressedcollegestudent@gmail.com! Thank you so much for everybody’s support!

The Semicolon Project

If some of you have been on social media lately, you’ve probably seen viral posts about “the Semicolon Project.” This is something that is becoming wide-spread and more familiar in the eyes of society. If you don’t know what the Semicolon Project is, it represents a story that an author could have ended by putting a period, but instead, put down a semicolon because they still had things that they needed to say. You’re the author of your own life, so put down a semicolon and keep writing. Simple concept, huge message. What’s great about the Project is that it can mean 100 different things to people because we all go through different life experiences. The reason that I am writing this post is because, I too have a Semicolon tattoo on my body and have for nearly 3 years.

I know that I’m safe in giving this type of information on my “identity” because quite a few people have this tattoo now; But I thought that it would be beneficial to talk about what this tattoo means/meant to me when I got it.

I was a freshman in college and it was the very first tattoo that I got. I feel like most people go their entire life planning out the tattoos that they want on their body, but not me… I never wanted a tattoo, because I guess I didn’t really understand the point. My semicolon was very spontaneous and was something that I shared with my mom, she was there when I got my first tattoo and she got one at the same time I did. As you know in earlier posts, my mom is my best friend, and her and I went through a lot of shit together, so it was only appropriate. I tried to carefully place my tattoo on my right wrist so it could still be seen, but could also be covered up by a watch if necessary. I knew that having this tattoo was going to force me to be more open about my story and my personal life, because it just screams, “I WAS SUICIDAL, BUT I’M OVER IT NOW!” Of course, there’s more to it than that, but getting people to understand suicide and depression in one quick interaction can be very difficult.

The line in Starbucks, servers in restaurants, coworkers, etc. The constant, “What does that semicolon mean?” only brought a “Suicide Prevention movement” response solely out of an overwhelmed feeling of being “open.” It took sometime for me to explain what it actually means and then proclaim, “It has a lot of significance in my life, so I decided to have it tattooed on my body,” it wasn’t until then that people started to know, I was suicidal.

I’m prepared to go through this for the rest of my life, owning up to the hurdles that life has thrown at me, and you know what? That’s okay. I WAS suicidal and it has only been something that I have grown stronger from, and will continue to on a daily basis.

5 Facts Everyone Gets Wrong About Depression

As I continuously move forward with my fight against Depression, I’ve become more educated about the illness and in return, have become more educated on myself as an individual. As I have become more open about my Depression in day-to-day conversation, I have picked up on how other people feel about Depression and things that they believe to be true about it. This is a countdown of my favorite incorrect facts and misconceptions on somebody who suffers from Depression:

#5. Depressed people are constantly miserable and alone.

The reason that I find this one so interesting is because sometimes it tends to be the complete opposite. One of the best ways to describe it is by that Taylor Swift song, “The Story of Us.” There’s a part of the song where she says: “Now I’m standing alone in a crowded room, and we’re not speaking.” Yes, its cliche that I quoted a Taylor Swift song, but I’m a fan.. So, deal with it for the moment. I feel that it nails it right on the head because sometimes, the ones who are suffering from Depression are the ones that you might least suspect. The ones who are constantly surrounded by people or active in their social life. Of course, sometimes we do tend to be introverted and need some time away from people to reflect and think, but that doesn’t make us any different from an introvert that doesn’t suffer from Depression, right?

When you suffer from Depression, you tend to become really good at putting on that happy persona and making things seem like they’re okay. There’s an interesting science to how our brain works. Did you know that if you’re not feeling well, the more you think about it, the more sick you become? We can literally trick our brains into making our bodies do something, simply by thinking about it. So yes, if you think about negative things, negative things will happen. But what shocks people and seems to be extremely difficult for people to understand is that if you also think positive things, positive things can happen too! Even if things aren’t going that well, if we put on a happy persona we can trick our minds into thinking that things are okay! So there you have it, we’re not constantly miserable, and we’re not constantly alone!

#4. Depression just means being Sad

No No.. Being sad is when your favorite TV show character gets killed off the show. Being sad is when you watch that scene from “I am Legend” where Will Smith has to kill his best friend, Sam at the end (Oops, SPOILERS). And of course, being Sad is when you’re eating that very last Cool Ranch Dorito and you accidentally drop it on a floor where you probably shouldn’t apply the 10-second rule. Depression is a constant black cloud above your head that always seems to rain on your parade. It’s a constant thing, sadness is just momentary.

#3. Depressed people just need to ‘snap out of it.’

I think this is one of the biggest things that REALLY needs to change when it comes to the culture of Depression. It is defined as a Mood or psychological Disorder. Do you know what other things are disorders? Bipolar Disorder, Insomnia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc. These are all things that are never asked for, so people who suffer from disorders don’t want to be suffering from them. They’re things that cannot be changed overnight or at a moment’s noticed. They’re things that might take medication or years and years of therapy, which brings us to our next item:

#2. Counseling or Therapy never works, it only makes things worse!

I’ll be completely honest on this.. I once thought this too. It’s actually really ironic how life sometimes works because at one point in time, I wanted to be a therapist. When my University first discovered about my Depression and Suicidal tendencies, I was forced to see a counselor. Even though I wanted to be one, I was so against the thought of talking to somebody about my problems because they’re a complete stranger, they don’t know what’s going on in my head, etc. Let’s just say I’m no longer wanting to be a counselor, but I did see a therapist like I was supposed to and after that first examination, an option was given to me on whether or not I wanted to continue going to counseling. That was three years ago, and I have seen my therapist every week since then. I can honestly say that my therapist and I are extremely close and she is one of my biggest fans. Going to counseling every week has really helped me straighten out my thoughts and feelings, and I look forward to it every week. It’s nice going to a place where you know you wont be judged or know that she won’t gossip about you as soon as you leave due to confidentiality. It helps, I promise. You should give it a shot.

#1 Depression is no big deal– it’s not that serious.

Did you know that nearly 15% of people who suffer from Depression and leave it untreated will resort to Suicide? That number is way too large, and because of that, you can’t tell me that Depression isn’t serious. We need to educate each other as to why Depression is serious. It’s one of the most documented mental illnesses, but it’s also one of the least understood. It can be overcome, but it makes it so much easier when people are understanding and willing to help. Having to jump over life’s obstacles with weights around your ankles is hard enough, we don’t need to combat your criticism along with it. Yes, I may be different than you because of my Mental Illness, but I’m still human and that should be enough. I hoped you learned something today.. Whether it’s about me or Depression in general, I hope you take what you learned and put it in practice. Make a change in somebody’s life, talk to them when something goes wrong, hug them tighter than you normally would, and let them know you care about them.