I know this month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month but did you know it is also Mental Health Awareness Month? Well, unfortunately not enough is said or done on this subject and because of that people suffer and struggle in silence until it is often too late. In recent months we have heard of several celebrities that have made the decision to take their own lives because of depression. I’d like to tell you the story of someone that I knew, that fought depression a couple of times in her young life.
In 1990, two young freshman girls in high school quickly made friends with one another, and they soon became best friends. Though not an athlete, one of the young girls was very active in the arts in her high school, and was a gifted student. The two girls shared the same English class. With the promise of not having to take the final exam if your grade in the english class was an A or B, the girls were very excited. The girls knew this was one final exam they did not have to worry about.
After forgetting to read the short story that was assigned one day, the best friends, each in different classes coincidentally asked the same person from their english class for a brief synopsis in order to turn in the assignment on time. After handing in their papers on time, the next day when the teacher handed the papers back but the two girls did not receive their papers. After being accused of cheating and working hard to explain to the teacher that they indeed had not cheated, the girls knew that they had to tell their parents.
The parents met with the teacher and the principal, and all was resolved, so they thought, until the report cards came and the young ladies received D’s in the class because they did not take the final after earning A’s in the class, and in accordance with the teacher’s classroom rules.
The girls had to request a hearing with the Grade Change Review Board and present their case. They WON!! When the teacher decided to appeal the decision, the girls then had to present their case to the district’s school board. They won again. You would think the story ends there, however, after the best friends won the case before the school board, the teacher wrote a letter to all of the teaching faculty stating that this incident is why they are all required to administer final exams.
Though the letter did not have the girl’s names, everyone knew exactly who was involved. During this process one of the girls became severely depressed she withdrew from all of her school activities, missed her favorite weekly TV shows, went to bed early without eating dinner etc. Thankfully her mother recognized something was wrong and sent her to visit a Psychiatrist to help her deal with her feelings.
That was my first bout with depression. I have had a couple incidences since and because I recognized the symptoms, I found someone to talk to to help me get out of the darkness. I am glad to report that today I am happy and I am so grateful that my mom had no problem sending me to the doctor. It is because she did not make me feel like there was something wrong with going to the psychiatrist that, when I started feeling depressed again I quickly found a doctor in my area that helped me out of the hole I had fallen into. In our community people are often afraid of admitting that they or their loved one needs psychiatric help. I grew up in a Christian household, as a matter of fact my mom is a Priest and although she prayed for me to get better she also knew that faith without works is dead. There are lots of places to seek free help if you do not have insurance. If you are feeling sad and cannot seem to shake that feeling. Please seek help and do not be ashamed of seeking help.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. is 1-800-273-8255
BMWK: Have you ever experienced depression?