I cannot speak from personal experience with depression; however, I can speak from an observer’s perspective. Many people in my life, whether friends or family, have struggled with depression. I feel like the term “depression” is often used loosely amongst friends when discussing a minor issue. “I failed my exam, I’m depressed”, “My parents won’t let me go on Spring Break, I want to die”. Why is this term used so loosely when it can be such a debilitating disease?
I have been at fault for saying these same statements. However, once the topic became more personal, I quickly realized the severity of the issue. The reality is that you do not know what is going on in someone else’s life. You only know what they show you. Many people with depression feel the stigma that is often attached to mental illness, so they keep it to themselves. In a recent study by SP Wamala, it was found that two-thirds of depression cases go undiagnosed. It is very difficult to seek help when you feel like no one will understand. That is why I believe that educating yourself about mental health, depression, and resources accessible to you, can be one of the best things you can do for yourself and for others suffering around you.
Depression is a chemical imbalance in one’s head. It is a condition that requires medical attention to address. It is serious and affects people’s moods, thoughts, and feelings. Depression can be triggered by a multitude of different scenarios; stressful events, family history, loneliness, illness, drugs, etc. Depression does not have one standard solution. Unfortunately, it can take many trial and errors to find the right solution for yourself. From being on the outside of many peoples battles with depression, I have learned that it is an uphill battle. There are good days, and bad days. Medicines can help for some, but others might not find it to be a solution. You not only need to be motivated, but more than anything you need to surround yourself with a team of people that will help you along the way.
Although there are several known tips to help with feelings of depression, that does not necessarily mean they will help everyone. These tips are merely suggestions to try out. One way to help is to feel stronger physically. Get enough sleep, eat the right amounts of food, and try working out. That doesn’t mean you have to jump into a gym and start lifting weights, but try to get outside, go on a walk, go swimming. Other ideas are to surround yourself with friends, family and seek professional help. Push yourself to make plans and have events to look forward to with your loved ones. It can be hard to make these first steps when you are feeling down, but even the littlest of changes can have a positive impact on your life. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals. They are there to help you. There are many organizations that will help you navigate the different options available.
Depression is a multi-faceted illness. Everyone has different experiences and struggles in their life. There is no one solution to make depression go away. You just must find what makes you happy and push yourself to continue doing those things. Listen to your instinct and trust yourself. The most important thing to remember is that you never have to face it alone. Your family, friends and there are professionals that can help you. You never need to be or feel alone, reach out, don’t be afraid. Depression is a complicated disease to battle. There will be highs and lows. You must keep fighting, not just for yourself but also for all the people that love you.
Laura Yardeni is a senior at the University of Delaware and is the Communications & PR Intern for SL24: UnLocke the Light and Sean’s House.