Ending the stigma

Megan Friel, Editor in Chief

With the days getting shorter and the nights seeming so terribly and unbearably long, the risk of suicide and depression overall seems like a weight on my shoulders that I can’t seem to shake. Being that my mom is a therapist, I’ve always grown up quite familiar with therapy and meditation in a broad sense; how to cope when I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed, calming myself down when I get worked up – all the short-term cures to something bigger that feels like it may never go away. Growing older, these methods became less and less effective to the overwhelming depression that started to consume me. Lately in class, we’ve been brainstorming ideas on what to talk about involving mental health. I’ve decided to share my story, and what I feel could be done to help many more students who may feel the same way.
I began therapy on October 25th of this year. Starting my sophomore year, I began to notice my signs of depression. From struggling to get out of bed at all hours of the day, to pushing away most everyone that seemed to have the ability to hurt me, even my own family – the symptoms piled on. Numerous things added to the inevitable decision to go to therapy, but it wasn’t until my family started to truly notice my depression that I decided it was time. The first time I went, I sat in the waiting room, (her empty garage), anxious and open-minded, yet thinking of all things terrible. This feeling quickly went away as I stepped through the door. I approached a bright room filled with sunlight and warmth, a grand piano casually placed in the corner, and the typical couch and chair. I cried before even talking, not because I felt extraordinarily sad that day, I just felt overwhelmed. We’ve created such a taboo on these things: therapy, medication, treatment – that going there felt like rock bottom, when, in reality, I was on a path to bettering myself. My therapist and I, we talked about everything. Friends, family, boyfriends, school, stress, pressure, and all the things in between. Sometimes we talked about things I wasn’t worried over – the weather, our vacations, diets, animals – it just felt good to talk. It felt natural. We laughed, I sobbed, and there was never a moment to pause. Everything spilled out of me like a glass much too full that couldn’t stop seeping from the cup. The one session turned into weekly sessions, and each time I feel better about my struggling depression, which has turned into less of a struggle and more of a work in progress. Therapy became so incredibly satisfying for me – it wasn’t a scary place anymore, just somewhere I could talk to someone with no conflictions. Therapy quickly became the thing I looked forward to every week.
This is not a cry for help, nor a call for sympathy as so many people continously try to make it out to be. Whenever I open up to a friend about therapy, I see the look on their face that makes me feel like how I did that first day in the waiting room, but I know this is not who I am. I know that I am okay. I just need to work on myself a bit, which is something no one should be ashamed of. In fact, I suggest therapy to all my friends, especially with the stress of debt and college becoming more of an reptitive topic. Therapy shouldn’t be a scary place anymore – it’s just a place to talk, and feel so much better afterward. Not only at therapy, but outside of therapy, where you can put into actions the coping methods you learn while in therapy. Unfortunately, however, some insurance companies do not cover therapy, so this is harder for some families in Biddeford and all over the country. If we want to see our depression and suicide rates decline, we need help from our government to provide us the option of seeking therapy. It shouldn’t be the last option for those who desperately feel as if they have no other option – we should progressively try to help those who start seeing signs of depression early on, before it becomes too late.