Since I was five, I have loved my independence. On the first day of Kindergarten, I didn’t even let my mom walk me to class. I strapped on my Powerpuff Girl sneakers, and off I went. I took that independence with me to college where I felt completely at ease suppressing my emotions, good or bad. In my mind, anything was better than burdening someone with how I actually felt. Like I said, I liked my independence, and when sharing a shoebox sized dorm room with a roommate and a hall bathroom with 20 other girls, my emotions were the only things I didn’t have to share. And I was ok with that, for a while.
It wasn’t until my second year of college that my desire for independence was truly tested. The funny thing about depression is that life doesn’t give you a warning. There’s no sign when it hits, it just does. It hits you like a ton of bricks, regardless of how ready you are. It hits you hard and fast, and it leaves you wondering how you ever will overcome it. Unfortunately, I was away from home when depression unexpectedly crept in. I felt utterly and completely alone. I used to like being alone, but this was different.
Someone will be there for you, just trust me. For the first time, my independence had failed me. I knew I needed help, but didn’t know exactly what that looked like and doubted whether anyone even cared. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Trust me, you are SO loved. Asking for help will be frightening and it may even make you feel weak, but the most courageous act you can do is admitting you can’t do it alone. Someone cares about you enough that they will do anything to make sure you feel healthy. For me, that came in the form of friendships and family. My two closest friends listened, cried, and helped me find the best resources to ensure that I could get better. Overcoming these obstacles in life will be difficult, draining, and at times, disillusioning. But it will be oh so rewarding. I am now infinitely stronger, immensely happier, and exceedingly thankful. So, if you’re reading this, trust me that there is someone - a relative, friend, therapist, or maybe someone you aren’t even thinking of – that cares so much about you that they will carry you through. Be brave, be vulnerable, but most of all, be courageous. Just trust me.
Natalie H., University of Virginia ‘19