Fighting depression

Libby Hill

Libby Hill

The funniest thing about attempting suicide was that never in my life was I as depressed as I was the day after.

In one fell swoop I had alienated my friends, family and boyfriend.

And I had never felt more alone.

But, in a way, I was not alone. According to the Oct. 7 issue of Newsweek which ran during Mental Illness Awareness Week, there are currently three million teens suffering from depression. The problem is a huge one, and its true breadth is only now becoming apparent.

Perhaps you think depression only happens to those with difficult lives. But you’d be wrong.

It can happen to anyone.

I had a great childhood. My family loved me. I loved school because I knew I was smart and that pleased me. I had plenty of friends. I was normal.

In the sixth grade I got my period and everything changed. I hated school and didn’t want to go anymore. My anxiety about attending made me sick to my stomach. I was convinced my friends hated me.

Through all of this my parents and I were convinced it was your typical teenage angst and that I was just being willful. We were wrong.

My small town was familiar and everyone knew their place. While a stifling experience, it also gave a sense of order to life.

College, then, would be my undoing.

Entering college was the great equalizer. Suddenly all order was gone and I was lost. I stopped going to classes because of old fears and I didn’t know what to do.

Finally, I called my parents and told them everything. We decided I would see a therapist.

My therapist, however, seemed like a therapist you might see on television. In fact, I seem to remember crayons being brought out at one point in time.

In my second semester of college, my grandmother, an intricate part of my life as a child, passed away. The old patterns returned.

Which is how I found myself on one cold March night, huddled in a stairwell, downing bottles of pills. I had just had an argument with my boyfriend and in his frustration, he said, “Fine. Just do it then. Do it or stop talking about it.”

It wasn’t his fault. He was tired and mad and frustrated at my self-indulgent sulking. But I heard that message and I said to myself, “He’s right.”

The next few hours were a blur. My boyfriend found me. After another argument, he got my resident assistant, and she and my residence hall director called an ambulance.

I yelled and screamed at my boyfriend, blaming him. And five minutes later, when I asked him to hold my hand, he did.

At the hospital, they shoved a long tube down my throat to pump my stomach. They then made me drink a charcoal solution.

But as hard as all of that was, the hardest was yet to come. I had to call my parents and explain to them that I was in the emergency room in Brookings because I had tried to kill myself.

It was, undoubtedly, the hardest thing I had ever had to do.

My mother came up. When she got there, my boyfriend was still at the hospital. I had an appointment with the man who would become my regular therapist.

The next morning, my mother left and I was completely alone.

Now, almost three years later, I am not completely better. I never will be. I suffer from a lack of serotonin in my brain. It is comparable to diabetics, who suffer from a lack of insulin.

It is a disease and it will never be cured. I can only fight it with drugs and therapy.

However, thanks to identifying my problem, I can lead a more normal life. I have fun. I go out. I enjoy things. My family, friends and boyfriend have forgiven me.

I can breathe again.

#1.887917:837270090.jpg:depression.jpg:Many students struggle with depression. This photo shows our model feeling many of the emotions that depressed people may feel.: