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Student describes his struggles with depression



Student who struggles with depression, feels as if he is surrounded by darkness.

*Disclaimer: in order to protect the confidentiality of the subject, the name Noah is given in place of the subject’s real name*

In the darkness of his room he finds peace. This time though, the darkness begins to suffocate him. Pressures from school, sports, friends and family build up and he begins to think that it is too much to handle.

“I began to feel like my skin was crawling,” Noah said. “Everything on my mind built up and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to get out of my house.”

Noah got out of bed, and headed for the door. He decided he would go for a drive to clear his mind. He began to think of all the pressures weighing on his life. He felt alone. His depression and anxiety led him into a sort of trance. As tears filled his eyes, he began to drift off into the shoulder of the highway. He closed his eyes and thought, “I wish this all could end.” A few seconds later, the roaring of the rumble strips on the shoulder of his highway snapped him out of his trance. His heart raced as he began to realize what just happened. He pulled off the highway and parked at a QuikTrip somewhere near Wentzville, miles from where he lives.

“That was definitely rock bottom for me,” Noah said. “I just was taken over by my anxiety and froze.”

Similar to other kids his age, Noah suffers from depression. About 20% of teens experience depression before reaching adulthood, and that number continues to rise dramatically. According to a study done by Ramin Mojtabai, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the odds of teens suffering from clinical depression increased by 37 percent from 2005-2014.
Failure to communicate on an emotional level has always been a problem for Noah, but this is not uncommon. In fact, there is evidence showing men who adhere more towards strong masculine ideals are more likely to view seeking emotional support in a negative light.

That was definitely rock bottom for me. I just was taken over by my anxiety and froze.”

— Noah

“Society has been teaching males to not cry and to ‘man up.’ It is really unhealthy to do that,” Counselor Mary Riney said. “I tell guys to write [their problems] out, because if they are not comfortable talking or sharing, maybe writing it out will help.”

Struggling with communication hinders Noah’s ability to make friends. This worries him as college approaches and the growing fear of not having a friend group or people to count on gets worse.

“I try to remind myself that everything will work out in the end,” Noah said. “I know it will. [College] just makes me anxious sometimes.”

Noah focuses on surrounding himself with supportive people who will help him in times of need. He recounts his night at the Quiktrip in Wentzville, and how when his girlfriend called him he broke down and told her everything.

“She really calmed me down. It felt good to finally tell someone how I have been feeling,” Noah said. “I’ve never really been taught how to talk about my feelings so I’ve always bottled them up.”

Having people to be there for you is one of the most important things you can do to help ease the burden of depression said Riney. If you have no one to talk to Riney encourages you to contact hotlines for help.

“I always encourage them to talk to somebody, just be with somebody,” Riney said. “I worry when they say they go home after school and say they are home alone for a few hours because being alone can make depression much worse.”

Noah realizes that depression will follow him through most of his life, so he must find ways to combat it. Exercise is one of the ways Noah improves his mood due to a hormone released called serotonin, or the feel good hormone. There are a multitude of other ways to combat depression such as staying connected with friends/family, spending time outside in nature and getting at least eight hours of sleep a night.

“Find something you enjoy doing and do it,” Noah said. “You just can’t let this get the best of you. You can’t sulk and feel bad for yourself or it only gets worse. Just know that support is out there, don’t be afraid of looking for it.”