Coping with Depression

Depression is something many people deal with on a daily basis. It can come and go as it pleases. One moment you feel alive and well and the next there’s this crushing feeling of self-doubt. It can come out of nowhere or something as small as someone forgetting to ask you if you want to go for a walk can trigger it. This happens to me. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression, but I know it’s there looming in the background until it decides to emerge. This has come to the forefront of my mind because people are still talking about, the now famous show, 13 Reasons Why and how it glorifies suicide and depression. This show isn’t doing these things. It’s showing the world how people live with depression and the warning signs of someone who could be thinking about suicide.

I’ve been there and thought about ending it all. I didn’t think I’d get to high school graduation, but I did. Now I’m nearing my college graduation, which I didn’t have the same feelings about, but still a similar thought. I didn’t think I’d get to my high school graduation because I thought I’d be dead before I got there. I thought I’d be like Hannah Baker in 13 Reasons Why. But I wasn’t. I still wonder why to this day, but I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad I didn’t end it all. Honestly, I don’t think I ever could, not back then and not now. I’m too aware of how it would affect other people in my life. I don’t think this is typical of how a person who wants to die would think, but at one point I didn’t think I could go on any longer. I didn’t have the knife to my throat or the pills in my hand, but the thought crossed my mind. What would happen if I took a bunch of Tylenol. Honestly, it probably wouldn’t kill me, but that thought has been in my head on more than one occasion.

People ask me if I’ve ever gotten help. Talking to a stranger about my problems doesn’t appeal to me. I know it would probably help me in the long run, but I deal with whatever this is just fine on my own. I talk to my friends when I’m having a breakdown or just feeling off. I try to make myself feel less alone even when I feel lonely and that’s the cause of my breakdown. There are many causes to my breakdowns. Some don’t even have a cause. Sometimes I just feel low. I know it happens now. I know how to deal with it. I talk to any friend I can get ahold of. I talk it out with people. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Sometimes I have months of good days and suddenly there’s a bad one thrown into the mix. Those bad days I can’t help but think to myself that I was doing so well for so long, but that tends to makes things slightly worse because I’ll get angry with myself. Luckily, most of the time when that happens I’m already talking to a friend and that friend tells me that it’s alright to have a set-back.

I know having set-backs is okay, but sometimes you’re doing so well for so long and one thought triggers a breakdown. When that happens I can’t help but be upset with myself. However, there are times when I have breakdowns that I don’t get upset or angry with myself. My depression doesn’t always come in the form of breakdowns, but that’s when I notice it the most. Especially when I would cry every night and give myself a reason to feel like crying. The reason I don’t ask for professional help is because I was told once that our friends are our best therapists. I believe this to be true because it’s worked for me for a long time. Every time I had a breakdown someone was always there. You may be wondering what will happen when I have one when someone isn’t there. I believe I’ve had those before too. They’re hard, but they’re not impossible to get through. You just have to believe that there’s better to come, that there’s hope. Even in the darkest of times, when I didn’t think I had hope, there was still a sliver of hope somewhere inside me. I never stop thinking of my family and friends in those moments.

I may feel like I have no friends at times, although that feeling is less so now than it was in high school, but I know all I have to do is reach out. The way that I cope with my depression is I let it happen. It’s probably not the best of ideas, but I let it wash over me instead of holding it back. I’ve held it in before and that didn’t get me anywhere. Holding it in, at least for me, just leads to a bigger breakdown later. I know, I’ve been through it before. Especially in hard times I need to let my emotions out instead of holding them in because that’s when they need to come out. If you feel them pushing through, let them go. It feels a lot better to let out your emotions than to keep them hidden.

When I watched 13 Reasons Why it scared me that I felt like I could identify with Hannah Baker, but then my boyfriend said to me that at some point everyone was her. At some point in everyone’s life they’ve thought about ending it all. Some people come away from that and some people are like Hannah. This show is teaching the world that we need to talk about mental health. We shouldn’t be so afraid of it. If society is afraid of it, then that means more people die because people are afraid to seek help. People are afraid that people will judge them or see them as less than human. People are people no matter what they have going on in their heads. We have to stop looking at people as different when they have a mental illness, any mental illness. As a society, we have to stand together and help each other.


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Laura Samuels

Former English major and college graduate from Michigan who’s trying to make her way in the world.