It's Not Just Sadness

FHS Guidance counselors Mrs. Heather Harris and Mrs. Johanna Scott say depression is the most common issue brought to their attention. Scott describes this disorder as “an intense sadness or lack of enjoyment in anything like sports or hanging out with friends.” She added, “Depression is different for everyone; some people actually seem depressed, some people don’t care about the things they did before, some people sleep a lot, everybody’s a little bit different.” A frequent question asked is ‘What does my friend want from me? What do I say to them?,’ Scott recommends, “Tell them you care about them and that you will aid them in getting some help.” Although it’s tempting to do so, pressing for information and making them spill their feelings will not make them feel better. Listening is better medicine than advice.
Living with depression may be hard, but being friends with someone with depression is no easy feat. Being supportative and not overwhelmed with their conditon can be exhausting. A friend who is going through this and wishes to remain anonymous to protect her friend’s privacy recommend to not “remove yourself from them just because you’re feeling drained. They need you. However, you shouldn’t completely deprive yourself of care. Take some time to do self-care and try your best to stick by them. Ask them periodically if they’re ok- don’t pry. My friend sometimes wants to be alone, sometimes she wants to talk. I just try to listen to what she wants as best I can.”
Everyone has days where they feel sad, anxious, guilty, hopeless or tired- but when these feelings become cosistently frequently, the posibility is that the person is suffering from clincal depression. Described as “a never-ending turmoil of negative emotions that imitate being stuck in the depths of the ocean, fighting an invisible enemy, or being encased in a tornado.” American author Mary Roach says, “I don’t fear death so much as I fear its prologues: loneliness, decrepitude, pain, debilitation, depression, senility. After a few years of those… death presents like a holiday at the beach.”
When asked to describe depression, sophomore Cheyenne Erris says its “not having motivation. Freshman Shelby Rochez says it can mean “not being content with yourself” or “extreme sadness” according to sophomore Joe Tucker.
About nine out of ten of the students interviewed said that they knew someone who is or has been depressed. Freshman Catherine Harris says, “I wouldn’t be surprised if half the school had it; it’s just so common.” None of these students say that their loved ones have gotten help. Because the condition is internal, many people don’t know that someone is affected.
Studies show that depression, although it affects physical health as well, tortures the mind. Signs of depression are easy to miss. A student that wishes to remain anonymous says, “Lots of times, people with depression don’t want their illness to be a big deal, so they make their friends promise to keep it a secret.” She recommends getting outside help if the person could possibly be putting herself in harm’s way.
Another anonomys suffer shared, “Depression is invisible ink; sometimes you can see it’s there, but other times it is what it’s supposed to be… invisible. It leaves marks sometimes and isn’t exactly erasable or irreversible; you have to acknowledge it’s there and try to decipher the message.” When asked what she wants when she is depressed, she said, “Sometimes it’s nice when they listen and aren’t going ‘just be happy’ like.” Although there are different types of depression, she feels the most prominent feelings for her are “loneliness, anger, and self-loathing.” Recently she started talking with guidance counselor Julie Kirk, and reports that she’s “been doing better. I’m glad she intervened with my life, gave me a slightly better perspective, and showed me everything good. I hardly ever get sad anymore and when I do, I rarely wish harm on myself as I would have a month ago. Getting help was a good decision, and I encourage others to do so too before it’s too late.”
If you or a loved one needs help, call or text these numbers:
Hopeline: 1-800-784-2433 (Call for help with addiction, mental health, relationships, self-esteem and self-care, faith, parental issues, loneliness, anger, abuse, etc.)
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Counselor’s Office: 540-422-7307 (or talk to them in person)

by kylie gordon–contributor