Day-to-Day Depression

Look+around%2C+statistics+show+it+really+could+be+anyone%3B+you+never+know.+

Cody McConnell

Look around, statistics show it really could be anyone; you never know.

Every day, it takes me 15-20 minutes to get out of bed. This is a significant improvement over the hour that it took me just a few months ago. I go to my bedside table and take the small pill I take every morning, an antidepressant to keep me from tearing myself down with every step I take and to keep the anxieties that constantly rack my brain at bay. Usually, I cry for a little while, often for no reason, while brushing my teeth in front of the mirror, trying my absolute hardest not to analyze every misaligned feature on my face. I find I am often unsuccessful. I could go on, but I’d rather not ruin whatever mood you may be in, so I digress.

I never actually talk to people about my struggles. Why? Because I don’t want to be a problem, an issue to those around me, or a “downer.” I lost a lot of people when I shelled myself off from the world in the bottom of the little hole I had dug myself. It is one of the main reasons that every morning, after my routine of misery, I put on a smile, drink a cup of Chai for some energy, then march out of my house proudly, ready for the day. 

I wonder how many people are like me. According to Pew Research, 13% of US teens reported a depressive episode in the year 2017. Still, I know the number has to be much larger, as I never personally reported. Thus, I am certain that many others hold in their emotions and issues to preserve their self-image, or perhaps because they don’t want to hurt or worry those around them. Whatever the case, depression amongst teens is an issue, it’s widespread, yet many people feel isolated and alone in their sadness. I have talked to multiple people around the school, and often the stories are similar. For one reason or another, people feel as though they are alone, as though they cannot get help, and those who want help have zero clue where to get started. So they continue their daily lives, walking the halls with their heads down, music at full blast, a dead stare in each class, waiting for the day to loop again and again. Ask yourself, how many people do you know who are depressed? How many kids do you see who sit alone every day, who don’t say hi to anyone in the courtyard? How many people do you see smile wide every day, but who you know are struggling at home? 

The lack of recognition is astonishing. Mental health is preached as a top issue in everything from school to work to sports, but it is often cast aside. Everything else takes priority. Taking a mental health day sets you back like missing any other day; constantly creating stress that only worsens the matter. Councilors are challenging to meet with due to constant college meetings and other things around the school. It makes one feel like they have been cast aside like they are second fiddle to everyone and everything else, a feeling that is already a common issue amongst depressed people. Therapists are often expensive, and thus inaccessible to the majority of students, so even those who want to get help often hit a wall along the way.

So, here is how YOU, yes YOU, can help. Make sure to let people know how much they mean to you. It doesn’t matter how happy they may seem, often those who seem the most optimistic are the ones who are struggling. A smile, a laugh, or a simple compliment can change someone’s entire day. Small bits of positivity make a world of difference. Allow people to vent, talking it out, and knowing that someone is there who cares can save your day. And know that if you are struggling, I know you have probably been told this, but I assure you, you are NOT alone.