Speak up: don’t let depression destroy you

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It’s Wednesday evening. I just woke up from a “nap.” I look at my phone to see what time it is: 5:55 p.m. I spent the majority of yet another day in bed.

The school year comes to an end next week — a school year I completely wasted.

I passed all of two classes. Maybe.

Last year, for my final piece as editor-in-chief, I wrote a column in defense of the five-year experience. I was going to be a “normal college student,” volunteer, and focus on classes and life after graduation. But things didn’t go as planned.

Instead, my girlfriend and best friend of nearly a decade ended things with me in October and moved on. My life spiraled out of control as she and I tried to find our place in one another’s lives and I tried to deal with the heartbreak — something I hadn’t really experienced before.

I was lost and confused, and I gave up.

I was embarrassed to admit I was having problems at all. I felt weak for letting something so common destroy my focus and change my entire outlook on life.

A natural-born optimist, I had lofty goals. I always put my work first. I was dedicated and passionate. But all of that changed when the future I had envisioned since I was 14 changed.

I spent much of the year battling depression alone in my bedroom. When I emerged, I put on a fake smile and tackled as much as I could before I ended up crying in a bathroom or speeding recklessly down a backroad questioning whether or not life was worth living anymore.

I felt alone.

I didn’t tell anyone how serious my depression was. My closest friends are all busy. My family lives three hours away. They have their own problems. I didn’t want to burden them with mine.

Last week, I joked I was going to write a piece in defense of the six-year experience. But I’m not.

I should be walking across that stage in two days. I should have a job lined up. I should be planning for some big move. Instead, I’m waking up at 6 p.m., registering for fall classes and preparing to move back home and sleep on an air mattress all summer.

Why?

Because I didn’t speak up.

I let my problems simmer for months, telling only those I felt I had to — coworkers, professors. I went to the Counseling Center in December but stopped going after two sessions because “it just didn’t work for me.”

I only recently started telling friends other than the girl who broke my heart how bad I had gotten, and it has helped tremendously.

If I had talked to my friends sooner, maybe I would have gotten over my ex quicker.

If I had admitted my problem wasn’t with counseling, but with the fact that it was a male counselor and I have trouble connecting with men on a personal level, maybe I could have gotten the help I needed from a female counselor. Maybe I could have passed more than two classes.

And maybe — just maybe — I could have graduated this semester like I was supposed to.

But I didn’t. I sulked for far too long.

I am not in defense of the six-year experience if it’s because you wasted time and refused to get the help you needed from the start. For me, this year is another bullet point on my long list of regrets. But for everyone else who experiences something traumatic — whatever it may be — get help immediately.

Speak up.

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