Unfortunately, mental health issues and depression don't discriminate. I have friends and family members who've ambled through the darkest clouds. My words here can't even begin to scratch the surface of their personal struggles, but I can share my own story as a testament that depression can flow through the cracks and suck you right in.
September was typically a trepidatious time for me thanks to the new school year ticking over right around Labor Day in the US. Couple that with the fact that my birthday fell seven days into the aforementioned month, which should of been a happy time -- but, I was the awkward kid handing over the cupcake filled Tupperware container to my teacher on or around the first day of school while thinking I'd instantly become popular (never happened). The SAT's left me in cold sweats in Junior and Senior year, but it was the second year of university when things turned dark. Turns out living away from home for the first time plunged my already sensitive mind right down to the rip currents. Here I was 20-years-old, crying in the middle of the Gap on Newbury Street one lovely fall night, unable to see the tags through the hot tears -- with an hour left in my shift sizing underwear became less of a priority as my chest grew tense -- look busy, that's it, so no one would catch onto the tinge of mania.
I hated myself, the experience, for rooming with a girl who didn't even want to know about me, the gaggle of girls who partied at 3 AM in the common area, the neighbour who professed she was apple shaped after watching an episode of Dr. Phil and swore off all food (what does he even know about a woman's body, I thought), and the suite mate who disappeared in the middle of the night and to never be seen again after breaking down. It's safe to say she was having a much tougher time than me.
When you're twenty the minutiae of life really stings, and suffering in silence only cures the concrete. Instead of remaining stuck, I put in for a dorm transfer request to move closer to my best friend, Diana and found a counsellor. My sunny disposition slowly returned, I was finally able to immerse myself in schoolwork and comfortably socialise again, and I think my parents even made fewer trips up and down 93 in order to break me out of school.
If I didn't change my situation, or recognise something was in fact wrong I think I would've given up on studying, and hated myself even more for squandering something I worked so hard for.
Throughout the entire month of September I'll be raising money for Liptember to help support women's mental health; all donations will go directly to Lifeline, a crisis support hotline, and the Centre for Women's Mental Health in Australia.
Or, you could purchase a neon Liptember shade from Chemist Warehouse, and wear it proudly throughout the month of September.
Go on, make the first donation, you won't regret it!