*name has been changed
This past year was my first year in college. I had friends, I was doing well in my classes and I talked with my family everyday. But everything came to a head when my best friend tried to commit suicide in the dorm bathroom.
I was out with friends when I got the text. It was from a blocked number and it said *Sara had been rushed to the hospital with slashed wrists. I left everyone and ran back to campus. I was too late to see her before she left, but I saw the aftermath. In one word, it was traumatic.
I pretended I was fine. I visited her in the hospital and called her everyday, and everyone thought I was such a good friend. People kept telling me how strong I was. But in truth, I was breaking down. Everyday, I was on the verge of tears from the minute I woke up. The only thing that took my mind off it was class.
Then I got an email from the Dean. I was on financial hold and unless I paid my tuition of $20,000 immediately, I wouldn’t be able to continue my education there. I called my parents in tears. They tried to apply for loans, but their credit wasn’t good enough. The verdict was that I would have to come back home and work for my parents instead.
I guess the stress of my financial situation combined with the trauma from earlier that year was too overwhelming. My downward spiral accelerated to an all-out plummet. Anytime I was alone, I couldn’t stop myself from crying, all I ever wanted to do was sleep, I stopped going to classes, and I was barely eating.
I thought being out with my friends would help. But every time I was with them, all I wanted to do was get back in bed. I know they knew something was wrong with me, but I think they just wanted me to get over it. And so did I.
I hated myself for being so weak. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, and it made me angry. My mom is a nurse so I thought she would understand, but she thought I was trying to make up excuses for my poor grades. Eventually it got so bad that I tried to hurt myself and ended up in the hospital. But since I didn’t have any medical insurance (don’t tell Obama), they couldn’t even help me and just sent me home.
Help came in the form of my English teacher, Dr. Jan Armon. He realized I was missing classes and he reached out to me. The only reason I went to the meeting was to save my grade. But he looked so worried, I had to tell him everything. And instead of telling me to stop overreacting. He just gave me a poem. He told me to recite it whenever I felt overwhelmed. I lost it during move-out day and I forget most of it now, but I’m really thankful to Dr. Armon for helping me.
“Depression is like trying to peel a potato. It’s not fun, it doesn’t work and you just want to cry. And then people are like, “Why don’t you just use a peeler?” And then they hand you another potato.”
This quote is from a tumblr post. This metaphor is a perfect description of what it feels like to be depressed. Most young people with depression don’t even know what’s wrong with themselves. They feel like they have no one to talk to. Like the whole world is against them.
I really do think that the reason the suicide rate among teens is so high is because of undiagnosed depression. If you know someone who is depressed, please don’t take it lightly. Just listen to them, you could save a life.