Thoughts on World Mental Health Day

The summer after my freshman year in college, it felt as if I had become untethered. Like the anchor that had connected me to the world — my friends, my family, my education — was suddenly gone, completely lost to me. This is how I look back at a time in my life that left me sobbing on the floor of the shower for hours, sleeping for what seemed like days, and pushing away the people that I care about most because my depression made me feel ugly inside and not deserving of their love. Because that’s what depression does. It derails your life, and it lies to you. It carries a shame so intense that I’ve only recently told my then boyfriend and now fiancé what happened that summer. I didn’t want anyone to know that the disease that took my father and came for my mother was now after me.

It was something I dared not to even name. To give what I was feeling a name would make it real. But, it wasn’t until I acknowledged my depression that I was able to work my way back to almost everything I loved and get the care I needed.

But, depression cannot be cured, only managed. To do so, I live my life governed by self-love. I remain vigilant about taking care of myself and letting nothing distract me from my joy. Every day since that summer, I’ve worked — in both big and small ways — to regain the things and the people my depression stripped away from me. It’s a battle that I will wage for the rest of my life but one that I am determined to win.

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