For quite some time I’ve been thinking about writing something, but never sure exactly of what. There were ideas, but admittedly I’ve been floating to and fro with summer classes, a fellowship, and my relationship with Rebby (who is as wonderful as always).
But I decided to write about my depression. This was influenced by an episode that began yesterday. I think it’s also motivated by the fact that whenever I go through this cycle, nothing seems to change.
I had hoped to return this summer with a triumphant amount of discussion about the relationship I cultivated this spring, maybe some interesting anecdotes and things that I learned. Alas, that can’t happen. While my ex and I had been broken up for a while now, we still talked until a couple of days ago.
This has been a very difficult period of time for me, and it has interacted with my depression in a largely predictable fashion. I have hinted at my depression in some posts, but I have never given it a real examination.
There’s a war going on. The battlefield is not a country far and away from the public eye. It is in our own backyard, in an area where the entire population consists of civilians. It is an invisible war, a quiet crisis that speaks only when spoken to. That battlefield is the college campus. The battle is not between political adversaries but internal struggles with depression.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 6.7 percent of Americans are annually affected, making it the most ubiquitous mood disorder. Additionally, in 2009 the American College Association-National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA) found that nearly 30 percent of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” during the past year. College is a heavy hitter, as now students must deal with increased responsibilities while learning to function more independently. Maggie Alexander, a student Howard Community College, said, “[Depression] has made it harder to focus on my schoolwork and it has also gotten to the point where I have trust issues with most people if I don’t know them too well.”