If you’re reading this, you’re not alone.
Everyone has their own complicated story, and most times you won’t get to hear it. It’s hard to open up and be vulnerable to people, it’s hard to admit you might need help. When I was diagnosed with depression in high school, I thought I was the only one. I refused to take my medication regularly and isolated myself in hopes that it’d just go away. College was a chance to start anew, so I met everyone with a big smile and tried to please the crowds. I was putting other people’s needs before my own, until I started to get worse. It’s hard to describe what depression feels like or to truly know when episodes start and end. All I could tell was that I couldn’t sleep at night and was tormented by my own mind. My anxiety wouldn’t let me go class or hang out with friends. Everything was too difficult and I couldn’t find the words to ask for help.
As a resident advisor my second year, I knew all the resources and decided to do something I know I would tell any resident to do - I called CAPS. Even once I had a therapist, I struggled being able to express what had been going on. I had really good days and really bad ones. But through learning to be vulnerable and following my treatment - I did start to get better.
I’m open with sharing because I know it was other’s stories that helped me. Other people showed me that mental illness isn’t an easy fix. It’s a long battle that I still struggle with today and will continue to for the majority of my life. However, the thought of relapse doesn’t scare me as much as it did before. While I hate being depressed, it’s made me who I am today and has taught me to be resilient. When I do have my bad days I know what to do - I lean on my friends, reach out to a counselor, or practice self-care. I learned that the most important thing I do every day is love myself.
I love myself not despite all my flaws, but because of them.
Who I am is enough.
You are enough.
You are deserving of love for being exactly who you are right now. Some days it can be really hard to believe that, I get that. But you don’t have to go through it alone.
We are here for you.
Emily U., University of Virginia