depression. anxiety. ocd. adhd. these things are their own entirely separate entities, but all sharing the same shame that come with them. no one goes around proudly flaunting their anxiety or wear a t-shirt saying “kiss me i have depression”. having any sort of mental illness is something that people try to hide and pretend it doesn’t exist because that’s all we know to do.
for me, i’ve lived with a cooky, crazy cocktail of anxiety and panic attacks and recently, like many young people, have developed a new fun one, depression. i have extreme social anxiety, unreasonable phobias, and panic attacks that can leave me unable to move or breath. i can remember having panic attacks even as a little kid in elementary school and not understanding what was happening and why going to school or going somewhere new could cause me to feel physically ill and why other people didn’t feel that way. on top of that, back in november, i had my first suicidal thoughts and had no idea what to do with them. adding that into the mix with my already insane anxiety and panic attacks was a nightmare, but i wasn’t about to call home about it or talk to anyone back on campus though because i was so embarrassed and thought that if i were to tell anyone how i felt, they would laugh at me or tell me that i was fine and that it would pass. thankfully, i was able to open up to a few friends and it passed relatively quickly for me, but that’s not the case for everyone.
this leads me into the meat of this post, the reason i’m writing. 44% of college students suffer from depression and only 25% of those students seek out help and those young people diagnosed are five times more likely to take their own lives than an adult. one in every six college students deals with some from of diagnosed anxiety and 22% of those students said it greatly affected their academic performance in a negative way. if that isn’t a clear indication that the lack of mental health resources is a huge problem, then i don’t know what will be. many people dealing with mental illnesses don’t know where to turn or what to do because the US is lacking significantly in mental health recourses. states have lost over $4 billion in mental health funding in recent years making it the biggest cut in funding since the 1970’s deinstitutionalization movement. institutions specializing in mental health are few and far between because of these cuts which, you guessed it, makes access to the help that people so desperately need almost impossible to get.
i’d like to say that i have a great note to end this on, but i don’t. i know that mental health will never be seen without being a negative thing, but my hope is that in the years to come it becomes a more normalized and accepted thing and that people see the need for more recourses, or for people to stop telling me that a mental illness isn’t real. adhd isn’t a lack of parental discipline, depression isn’t attention seeking, panic attacks aren’t over reacting.
here’s a dog that represents me and my anxiety with the fire representing life and responsibilities. it actually fits with what i wrote and it’s a good lol to be honest so let’s end on a less sad note.