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First Signs and Cries for Help

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This feature discusses a topic that is not suitable for all readers. It discusses depression and suicidal actions. All names have been changed at the request of those interviewed to keep identities hidden.

 

 

As I watch my friend at dinner, she pushes her food around her plate, not letting her usual bubbliness shine through. I try to crack a joke to see if I can make her at least smile.

“So, the other day I made a joke! You wanna hear?”

She shrugs, not even giving me a full statement. Did she completely just blow me off, not even giving me a “k”? Nevertheless, I decide to ignore the attitude I just received and try to lighten her mood.

“What did one Australian sunburn say to the other? [In an Australian accent] Aloe!”

I start dying of laughter, assuming that she would soon indulge as well at the hilariousness of my cheesy joke. She didn’t even try to fake a smile. She never joins my laughter and it fades out.

“I don’t even think cheese is as cheesy as that joke.”

I don’t even get laughter out of that, either. At that moment, Katie’s depression began to become apparent to me. I looked her up and down to see if she seemed thinner. No, she didn’t seem thinner. I didn’t know at the time precisely what was up, but Katie began to spiral out of control. From that moment on, she had a pretty tough senior year. She found out she was with child. She became moody and evasive. I assumed that she just didn’t know how to cope with it. I never actually thought that it would lead to her committing suicide. She never talked to me about it, keeping it locked up and away from me. She wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. She thought that because I was four years younger, I couldn’t possibly be able to comprehend the pain and suffering that she was experiencing on an everyday basis.

My obliviousness and immaturity caused my friend to believe she had no one to turn to. Her death sparked my interest in understanding the actual physical, mental, and emotional feeling behind depression. I wanted people to feel comfortable to talk to me no matter the age difference. I interviewed a couple of people whom I know are battling with depression and suicidal thoughts to help me and those of us who have never experience mental illness get a grasp on what it feels like to be depressed.

We’ll call my first interviewee Lucy. Lucy is a friend of mine who has struggled with depression off and on for many years.

“Honestly, there is just a lot of depression in my life,” Lucy said. “It’s not anything big compared to what tons of people deal with every day but still…I want to be genuinely happy for more than an hour. I feel like I’m standing in a hole, and I cannot seem to climb out and more than once people have dug the hole even deeper for me.”

Afterwards, Lucy apologized for dumping all this on me. I was dumbfounded at the mentality people have about having depression and sharing it. Upon research, I found that apologizing for simple things like that is one of the common signs of depression which keeps many from reaching our for help.

I talked with another friend; we’ll call him Kevin. I asked him a series of questions, including if he feels like he has to hide his depression from people.

“Yes…your mindset is negative,” Kevin said, then corrected himself: “Our mindset is negative. What they don’t take into account is that it is not completely my fault? They are making me feel like I have no one to talk to. Why shouldn’t my views be negative if their views are negative?”

Kevin stirs in his seat waiting for my next question. It is dead silent. I hear the clock ticking away at the time. I ask him, “Do you feel comfort in knowing that someone else has depression and can relate to your troubles?”

He breaths in and out, taking in what he will call the “double-headed sword” of sharing the burden of depression and trying to formulate an answer to it.

“I feel a sense of connection on a deeper level,” Kevin starts off by saying. “Depression is always weighing down. It’s like a double-headed sword. You are happy because you can connect with them about it, but then again, you also know, to an extent, what they go through. You don’t want anyone to feel the pain you feel.”

I finish up the interview and started walking to Wesley, a church organization on campus. As I am walking, I hear frustrated grunts and mumbling. My friend “Bethany” is silently cursing to herself, kicking the ground. I walk over and jokingly mess with her.

“Hey what did the ground ever do to you?”

She tries to laugh, but I can tell it is forced. As I sit with her and talk with her, she soon reveals that she is facing depression, just like Lucy and Kevin. I ask her the same question I asked Kevin at the end.

She answers back: “That’s tough. First of all, you cannot completely connect with a person on this because no two people will have the exact same depression. No one has the same exact triggers as you do.”

Talking with Bethany broadened my eyes to the fact that even though there are many people who face depression, no two people have the same type of depression.

We talk for thirty minutes. I get her insight. It seems that there are more people than I thought who have had suicidal thoughts and depression. The thought saddens me, but at the same time, I am glad to be learning more about depression so I can work on learning how to approach it.

At the Wesley, a girl named “Caroline” shares her testimony. She went through a rough patch where she experienced depression and suicidal thoughts. She toells us how she tried to commit suicide.

“Life sucked anyway,” Caroline says. “And then my brother killed himself. I wanted life to end so badly. It became a routine thing for people close to me to threaten to report me to the cops. I couldn’t manage my emotions. Life sucked.”

It struck me that what kept her from speaking out was fear of being punished. Imagine not seeking help for a disease because you feel there will be consequences with the law. Caroline’s testimony clearly shows the dangers of allowing misconceptions about depression to continue to be circulated. Clearly, this is an issue that needs to be discussed.

While at Delta State, eight different people have spoken to me about their depression. Seven out of the eight admitted to attempting hurting themselves and/or taking their life. It says a lot about the epidemic that is sweeping the country.

I feel that Katie would want me to continue my research on depression so that I can really relate to and help the people suffering from it.

If you or a friend are feeling suicidal or need someone to talk to, please see DSU Counseling Services right away (call (662) 846-4690 or visit the Campus Counseling Center located in the O.W. Reily Health Center), or contact one of these other resources: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433), or the Depression Hotline(630) 482-9696. Para obtener asistencia en español llame al 1-888-628-9454.

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