This story was written by one of our Talon reporters, but is being shared anonymously. We hope this discussion of one student’s experiences can raise awareness and lower the social stigma for other students dealing with mental health issues. This article is part of our participation in #TCHSAware
I don’t think many people would have realized that I was in a deep state of sadness and anxiety throughout my life, especially through my high school years. Not my friends, not my teachers, not even my family could notice my depressed demeanor. I hid it well. I constantly acted happy and consumed my dark thoughts inside. I kept everything in and let my anxiety build up to bad proportions. I admit that I thought on what would happen if I just wasn’t there anymore and if I died, who would miss me. I cried myself to sleep many nights because my life wasn’t living up to par, I wasn’t living up to par, and I had attacks in which I couldn’t breathe. I was scared to tell anyone because society expected me to be happy and strong, so I faked it. But recently I have lived by a few concepts that continued to enlighten me through my journey with depression.
I am not a scientist. I am just a girl who has experienced many hardships with depression and would love to share her counsel with everyone.
Get Actual Help
Inspirational quotes and songs will not help you. They can temporarily ease your sadness but it will not make you not sad. As much as I can replay “Happy” from Pharrell Williams and sing the lyrics in my head, it won’t make me happy in the long run because it can’t satisfy on what I feel inside. It led me to listen to morbid songs about suicide like Blink 82 “Adam’s Song” and it increased the depression’s hold on me. With quotes, it did give me hope but it didn’t ignite something in me to act upon that hope. My advice is to take action and ask for help. I am not saying “Stop listening to music. It is all a lie,” I am saying get help that will better benefit you. Songs can only do so much. Personally for me I didn’t have the courage to go to therapy, but I talked to other people that faced the same condition I was going through. I talked to my mom, who supports me through everything, and I told her the honest truth on how I hated myself and that I am severely depressed. It was a heartbreaking moment because she thought I was fine when really I was unstable and had a declining mental health.. This reminded me that I wasn’t alone and that I had a support system when I couldn’t depend on myself. Save up money for therapy or go to someone that you trust and just rant on how you feel. Don’t waste so much time on waiting for depression and anxiety to go away with catchy lyrics or words, take action.
Make Hard Decisions
One of the major problems for me was that I knew what was making me sad and anxious but I didn’t want to establish a solution because I knew it would be hard. I rather had faced the symptoms rather than cure the situation. I had to make decisions like cut off long term relationships with certain individuals and straying from the norm. In order to conquer depression and anxiety, you need to be a leader rather than following what everyone expects you to be. Sometimes it means moving away from the road you were on and starting your own path. I had best friends that would push me down and downgraded me on a weekly basis, yet I still spent time with them. When faced with this, I had to determine what was my next step. I decided to not be friends with them anymore. It might of made me downhearted when I had to say goodbye to my friends who I knew since I moved to Keller, but I have not regretted it because I don’t have that constant reminder that I am not good enough compared to them. I still feel the repercussions of my choice when I stopped hanging out with those friends because I still miss the memories that we had, but my choice helped lower my depression. I also made tough decisions about my family’s divorce, yet it as made me happier long term. Make the difficult decisions, even if it hurts in the beginning.
A comedian named Bo Burnham said, “If you can live your life without an audience, you should do it.” This is the most important advice I can give. We live in a society where we are constantly performing in front of an audience. Social media is being misused as a way for people to showcase and be a satisfied audience member, not for the purpose of communicating to others. We define our success on how we perform in our grades, how many likes on Twitter, and if we are charismatic enough. We hide in a mask in which we please others, question our worth and pretend our emotions. I am not saying be yourself because what we are is what is above, I am saying take a break from being a actor or actress and start finding what you think the definition of yourself is; your better self. I had a mask and kept experiencing raw pain and misery instead of pure happiness, but without the charade, I became a new me. I wasn’t as anxious and I wasn’t ignorant to what was around me. I gave myself peace. Now, I have relapses from time to time. I sometimes burst out crying because I hate the hard situation I am in and the future is so dark and bleak, but when I am not performing in front of people that want to see me succeed or see me fail, no doubt I have a genuine grin on my face because I was happy. Be your better self and take a few moments away from the tempting masquerade.
I hope my fellow students will take my advice.
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