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Camryn’s Story

“Most importantly, talk about it. Someone will listen.”

Share your stigma experience.

My first real, long-term bout with depression came after my first year of college. I was doing fairly well with A’s and B’s and working many hours at a fast-food job to pay my rent. The summer following my freshman year in college, I sought individual counseling, which is offered for free through my university. I had gone to counseling in high school after my parents’ divorce, so the concept of counseling was not new to me. I began to tell my counselor about how much I disliked my job, disliked how I look (which dates back as long as I can remember), and how unmotivated I felt to do things I enjoyed. My counselor recommended that I take part in a “Body Wellness” counseling group that promoted body-image positivity, so I joined the group and continued the individual counseling. I had also gotten a new job, so I figured that I was on the upswing. But during that fall semester, I found myself spread too thin, so I had to decrease my hours at work, withdraw from a class, and quit an internship, all of which helped to alleviate some stress.

Fast forward to the following Fall, where I returned to counseling after not going in the Spring and Summer semesters. When the fall semester came, I had lost the motivation to get off of the couch and do my homework. Hurricane Irma disrupted classes and I was even further behind. I was having crying spells and being irritable around my friends and family. All of these signs indicated to me that I might have depression. The biggest stigma against my depression came from myself, not other people. Part of it may stem from my cultural background and seeing my family suppress their emotions for so long. I would think that I am too young to actually be clinically depressed and I’m definitely too young to be on antidepressants. I thought that it was something that I wasn’t trying hard enough to get rid of, even though I had been seeking counseling for 2+ years. After legitimate thoughts of suicide, I decided that something needed to be done.

How did you overcome this experience?

I began listening to the Hilarious World of Depression podcast in hopes that I could hear some stories similar to mine from comedians that I love. I heard these people speaking about their “rock bottom” and decisions to take care of themselves. I then asked my family for their opinion and they were all supportive of me taking antidepressants. After some more self-convincing, I returned to my counselor, was referred to the university psychiatrist, and I am now a few weeks into taking antidepressants. I know it’s not a cure-all, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

As hackneyed as the expression may be, take care of yourself first. Surround yourself with friends that will be supportive of your situation. It’s okay to ask for help, regardless of how long it takes you to come to that conclusion. Most importantly, talk about it. Someone will listen.

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