By Heather Seidel | firstname.lastname@example.org
When the news of Robin Williams’ death became public, his depression and consequent suicide became sensationalized by the media. The scariest part about Williams’ death is that we didn’t see it coming.
In 2011, the American College Health Association administered a nationwide survey of college students at both 2- and 4-year institutions. The results? 30 percent of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at some point in the previous year.
These students and alumni bravely chose to show their faces in order to help fight the stigmas surrounding depression and to help those without depression understand their situation.
“Even though you’re depressed you can still enjoy things, you know? You may even have a good love life, which is my case. You may enjoy going out and doing things with your friends…we’re not always moping.”
What do you wish people would stop saying to you when you’re feeling low?
“You have nothing to be depressed about. That is the worst thing to tell someone because not only then do you feel bad, you feel bad about feeling bad.”
What’s a day like for you?
“There’s good days and bad days, depression makes doing anything really hard. Before Zoloft, I didn’t even feel motivated enough to get out of bed.”
“Personally, I really appreciate when people are willing to listen and not fix your problems. It’d be great if people would just listen.”
What is it like when you’re alone?
“It’s hard. Putting on my mask for the day helps, but when I go home, with the mask everything else goes. It’s tiring.”
What do you wish people knew about depression?
“That every case is different.”
Did you ever take medication for depression?
“So they were putting me on mood stabilizers…it takes off a good chunk of it, but it also takes away the high levels, so you’re really monotone, and things that you really enjoyed before, you don’t enjoy them anymore. For me it was theatre, I used to love being on stage when I was going through that, and then when I was on the mood stabilizers I wouldn’t get the same euphoria. A lot of people don’t react like that, but that’s how I did.”
“I don’t like it to define me. I don’t want one bad day to negate the peppy, outgoing side of myself”
How do you wish people would treat you in regards to your depression?
“I think it’s stupid when people are like “well it could be like this, it could be this bad, you could be starving in Africa”. This comparison doesn’t help me at all.”
What do you think a common stigma is about depression?
“That the person who feels depressed can actually do something about it on their own. Im not outwardly depressed, in a sense…and so it’s kind of like I want to do something myself but I can’t. Because you just feel like you can’t. And you don’t know how to get around that, because we’re not outwardly depressed, we don’t really go and talk to people about it. So you just kind of just end up dealing with it alone.”
Do you deal with it on your own?
“More or less. It’s kind of a day to day thing for me, and I think that’s the worst part is just not knowing when a day is gonna be a good day. Like today was a good day, great day! But there’s days where I wake up and I don’t wanna deal with it anymore.”