Did you know that depression affects over 18 million people in the United States in any given year? Did you know that one person every 13 minutes dies from committing suicide? That is 41,000 people a year. That honestly makes my heart sink to the bottom of my stomach and upsets me so badly knowing such a large number of people are affected by this taxing medical condition.
To those of you who are unfamiliar with what depression is, it is "a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person's ability to function at work and at home." This illness comes with a large number of symptoms, but here is a list with a few of the symptoms: Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood, feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, decreased energy, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions, insomnia, low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain, thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts, and irritability.
For about seven years now, I have been struggling with depression, anxiety and PTSD. This started the summer before my freshman year of high-school after I was sexually assaulted by a classmate at the time. I was only 14 years old. From that moment on, I slowly became distant from everything in my life. I quit playing tennis, I quit the flute which I played since fourth grade, I quit drawing, and I stopped socializing with friends and even my family. I remember the countless nights I would stay up crying until the sun rose to start the next day. I remember the times I harmed my wrists and ankles in the shower because of the hate I had for myself for reasons I could not explain. It was so hard for me to get out of bed most days to even eat anything. I eventually became bulimic on-top of all of those depressing symptoms I was dealing with at just 14 years old. I remember hearing my parents cry to one another because they did not know how to help me. They wanted to see their little girl enjoy the beautiful life she was given, not see their little girl wish her life away.
This past summer, I was sick of this illness controlling my life and I decided to get help. This was the best decision I have ever made in my life. I now have a medication that helps me, a therapist who helps guide me in the right direction, and most importantly, I found my faith again, I am happy, and I now realize how strong and beautiful I really am. For these reasons, I am okay with having dealt with this mental illness. It made me stronger in the end.
Unfortunately, others with depression may not know how to help themselves or feel that anyone cares to help them or listen to them. This is why this topic is extremely important to me. I believe that NOBODY should ever have to go through this grueling illness alone. I want people to know that there is help out there and that people DO care about them.
My plan was to tell you my story. By telling you my story I believe that this holds a great benefit. You all are now aware of what depression is, how it affects people, and you all now know that this could affect people close to home. I believe that informing you all about my story and depression, this will give you the awareness, courage and desire to help those who are or those who show signs of being depressed. Helping can be as little as just hearing what a person has to say or listening to how they feel.
Please, sign my petition to make a promise to help those in need. I wish I felt like I had somebody to talk to when I was severely depressed and suicidal. By signing this petition, you make a promise to help others who felt like I did for years and by doing so, you could save lives. Thank you for listening to my story and thank you for promising to join me with helping others in need.