Don’t be afraid to seek aid

By Jeanette Fritz

Life can get extremely difficult, and we sometimes feel like it is too much to handle.

That was the case with someone who I love more than anything and who helped me with my own depression. He struggled for so long, and I always begged him to get help, but he never reached out for help. Now he’s gone.

I can tell you firsthand that dealing with depression and getting help was very hard for me, but watching a friend silently suffer and wither away eats away at me more than my depression ever did.

Depression is a lot more common than you think. The man or woman sitting next to you in class could be struggling with it just as bad as my friend was, or may have a more minor case, such as myself.

According to To Write Love on Her Arms, an organization dedicated to preventing self-harm and suicide, more than 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression, but about 80 percent of people diagnosed with major depression “can be treated and return to their usual activities and feelings.”

All cases of depression are mental illnesses that should be taken seriously and prevented. If you experience depressive symptoms like hopelessness, regret, loss of interest and unhappiness, it’s time to reflect.

Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Understandably, everyone has an off day once in a while. The problem is when you experience them multiple times in a row. A depressed mood that lasts for an extended period is concerning.

Karen White, Psychological Services Center director, said one or two bad days are normal; however, 14 bad days could mean a chemical imbalance and could be a sign of depression.

“A major symptom that often doesn’t get realized is not making a decision. Nothing gets done,” White said.

The Psychology Department offers therapy programs for those who suffer from depression. Cognitive behavior therapy is one of these programs. According to the Psychology Department’s website, full-time students have no fee and part-time students pay partial service fees. Your first session is free. Because the Psychology Department helps students and the community, a lot of appointments have already been filled, but the department staff are working diligently to fit in everyone who needs help.

If you would like to talk to someone about issues you are facing without setting up an appointment, the Counseling and Student Development Center, located in the Campus Life Building, Room 200, is for you.

Walk-in appointments are available 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Most sessions are free. These services are only available to students.

There are also things you can look out for that could be signs of depression. The most important is to look for changes from normal habits.

“This could mean eating too much or too little and having trouble sleeping,” White said.

While there are ways to look for signs and treat depression, there are also ways to prevent it.

White suggests staying active, having an optimistic outlook on life and keeping a strong social support system.

Give and receive support from loved ones.

Self-care is also important for your mental health.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Even talking to a friend can put your mind at ease, and your friend, knowing you’re going to be OK, can feel at ease.

You are more than your depression.