This article really hits home for me.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about depression, anxiety, and suicide is that they think they can tell or “just know” when someone is experiencing it or contemplating suicide. There is a stereotype about what people with depression or anxiety look like, and how they act. However, I can tell you, one of my defense mechanisms is to show everyone good things, and keep the negative feelings and thoughts to myself. For a long time, that is what I did. However, part of my treatment is opening up to others. When I open up to others, it helps me heal, and it helps others to know they are not alone.
I have struggled with anxiety and depression for almost my whole life. The pressure to be perfect and do everything right is overwhelming. Just in the past month, I have struggled every day to continue to do what I need to do…I have had good days and REALLY REALLY bad days. On the good days (like today), I can get my homework done, I can take a shower, I can do laundry. On the bad days, I can barely leave my bed, let alone be functional in the world. This leads to getting behind on homework, house work, and real work, leading to even more anxiety. It has a compounding affect.
I already knew, before reading this article, how prevalent depression and suicidal ideation were in academia. I have met students in my time at Tanana Middle School who have anxiety, depression, and who cut themselves. My own experiences with mental illness have helped me to connect with students who need someone who understands. I have also learned compassion, patience, and understanding, which I hope will allow me to better serve my students. I have learned to see the signs of mental illness in my students, even when they are trying to hide them, because I have such a deep experience with it myself. I know this does not mean that I will be able to help every child, but I believe that I will be able to help some to find the resources they need.