Photo from theodysseyonline.com
By Jen Cooper
To the person who asked how I am depressed if I am in class and smiling:
Getting up out of my bed is a struggle. Going to class from dorm is a struggle. Sitting through consecutive three-hour classes is a struggle. But, skipping any of this would be a struggle too.
Depression and anxiety have controlled my life since I was about 11. I have been in and out of hospitals, off and on medications. I have tried to let it be. I have tried to take it into my own hands. I have tried everything. Some days I am okay. Some days I am not.
What people do not understand about my mental illness is how much I second guess it myself. When I am feeling neurotypical, I wonder if I am making it all up or if it is all in my head. Am I imagining how bad it is? Am I exaggerating? Can I handle more?
And then I go back to the crushing depression making me unable to even sit up in my bed let alone get out of it.
Let me make it clear: I am not imagining it or exaggerating it.
Sometimes I manage to force myself out of bed and spend the whole day only able to take shallow, painful breaths. I am a ghost some days. But some days my anxiety rules my life. I seem fine, but I show up half an hour early to meeting my friends for lunch.
Sorry guys, I’ll text them. I’m already here. Anyone on their way?
If I could do anything to not feel this way, go through these cycles, question and destroy myself, I would. My absence from class is not, “Oh, I am feeling sad, I can’t come in.” It is an “Oh, I can barely breathe today or move or function.”
My depression and anxiety are not excuses, but strengths. Sometimes I can overcome the scariest most painful things in the world. I can conquer my greatest fears. I can appreciate my deep breaths when I can actually function.
Do not assume everyone is fine. Remember that everyone has something tough going on that you do not know about.