My Journey of Healing and Acceptance

Gloria Young, Contributor 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but people should be comfortable to discuss the topic year-round. I am pursuing a degree in psychology so that I can help others who have struggled just as I did. I have come a long way since my darkest moments. When the events were still raw I was hesitant to open up and discuss my experience with depression. As easy as it is to say, “I wish it never happened,” am I crazy to think it happened for a good reason?

Both my middle school and high school experience were horrible. I think I started feeling the sadness as early as 6th grade, but it was not at the surface yet. I was in 7th grade when the feelings began to really affect me. I began to see a therapist regularly before my mom had scheduled a doctor’s appointment to help identify my symptoms. I was diagnosed with depression, and from there, I was prescribed antidepressants.

Even after beginning the pills, some days were horrible for my family and myself. After a discussion with my support circle, we decided that the pills and therapist sessions were not enough; I needed something a little more. I joined a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group for girls. Initially, I was against joining because I did not want to be in a group setting, and I believed I could get better on my own. Weeks went by, and I graduated from the group before I knew it. Through the program, I gained emotional and mental tools that have shaped who I am today. I continue to practice the activities I thought were silly at the beginning of my journey.

I still have depression. I still take medication daily. It did not just go away since I’m feeling better. I have the tools and knowledge to maintain my mental health, but depression will always be a part of me. Without the battle with my mental health, I would not have been able to realize what the important things in my life were. The friends that stuck by me. My family who did nothing but love and support me when I could not reciprocate that.

The biggest thing I’ve learned through this is that I am much stronger than I thought I was. I was able to come out on the other side of this path of darkness that took up most of my teen years, but without it, I would not have been able to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It seems cliche in a dark time, but you are not alone. The following are a couple of helpful lines you or a friend can use if you are dealing with a mental health issue:

Center for Wellness and Counseling: This is our on-campus service that can help students with academic support, personal problems, health concerns and more. The office hours are from 8 am to 4:30 pm, located on the first floor of Anderson Hall.

TALK to 741-741: This is a crisis text line that I have personally used. If you are feeling overwhelmed or your thoughts are constantly running, this texting line is a great place to talk anonymously to someone that will listen. The volunteers are efficient getting to you, and they are there to give you the best support they can.

1-800-273-8255: This is the National Suicide Prevention Line. If you or a loved one is serious about taking their life, please give this 24/7 free support line a call. They offer confidential and immediate support.