It is Ok to not be Ok
“For the longest time, I did not think I was going to make it to 21,” said Adrian Leuthauser, a 21 year old student studying magazine journalism at Kent State University. Adrian, along with a reported 350 million other individuals are affected by some form of depression.
There is not just one form of depression either, as depression can expand into much more involved states of mental illnesses. The two most common forms of depression are Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder. Even though these two are variations, they are intertwined, just as most mental illnesses are.
From an early age, he could tell he was different. He noticed differences between himself and the mostly Caucasian population of his high school in New York. Adrian was adopted by the Leuthauser family and grew up in New York. Originally from Guatemala, these cultural differences contributed to his feelings of despair and hopelessness that reside in the darkest parts of our minds, and seem to make their presence known when we are already feeling low.
College students in particular are susceptible to enduring the symptoms of depression. Kent state is no exception to that.
“It is roughly around 60 percent of students coming in who are reporting with depression,” said Dr. Jason Miller. Miller is the Director of the Counseling and Human Development Center for Kent State.
The statistics and stories alone are reason enough for why the barriers regarding depression need to be broken. There is a stigma surrounding individuals who suffer from mental illness. This stigma inhibits any open conversation about the topic, or anything that is remotely close. Adrian believes that this needs to stop, and a way to do this is to encourage more open environments where this discussion can evolve and progress. These reasons epitomize Adrian’s personal experiences with depression and why he is so open and personable when discussing depression.
“When I tell people that I am depressed, or I have depression, or I’ve been on medication people are like, ‘Dude, you’re always laughing all of the time,’” said Adrian. “I do this because I don’t want people to feel the way I have ever felt.”
Adrian cites writing, creative writing, poetry and reading as major contributions to his overcoming of depression. He also believes that any passion that someone can focus on can help alleviate the symptoms that depression can cause. There are a variety of factors that can contribute to college students being more susceptible to depression, and Dr. Miller attributes this to environmental factors such as the emotional development and not taking care of themselves emotionally or physically.
Like a parasite inside a human host, depression takes an unprecedented form of bondage on the individual it affects. This bondage latches on to the internal infrastructures that comprise to form who we are, so all appears fine externally, but the inside is withering and deteriorating.
After everything that Adrian has been through, he is in a much better place. Of course, there are still difficult days. Some days are better than others, but after taking the initiative to seek help and coming to terms with the inner turmoil that can burn within so many of us, Adrian is on the rise. He has shared his experience with depression and this has helped others seek help and not feel alone.
“I’m ok with not being ok, and letting people know that so that they don’t feel alone,” he said.