When people hear “mental disorder,” they tend to think the worst. I know when I was younger, I thought it was “bad” to be different. When I heard certain celebrities struggling from either depression or bipolar, I viewed them differently, and I judged them. Coming from a house that didn’t really talk about our problems or feelings, I always felt alone. It felt like I was lost at sea, drowning in vast open waters–no one to hear my cries or calls.
I have now been struggling with depression for six years. After trying to commit suicide two years ago, it was finally time to talk. Being vulnerable is the hardest, toughest, and scariest thing a human can do. Having people know your deepest and darkest thoughts is terrifying. I was afraid people would pity me, judge me, and even reject me. However, I am lucky to have such loving and caring parents. When they discovered I had taken over 30 pills of hydrocodone and found me semiconscious in my car, they hugged me and showered me with love.
Opening up was releasing. I was a new person. I realized I wasn’t alone in life.
Through therapy, I was able to change my family dynamics. As I grew, they grew. I taught them that it’s okay to talk about our failures, our emotions, and our troubles. I want kids to have an outlet, a safe place to talk. Although OU has these spaces, like the Goddard Counseling Center, students don’t take advantage of them, whether it’s because they are too afraid or think they don’t need it.
I want mental health to be the top news at OU. College is difficult and confusing, and it’s easy for a person to feel lost.”
By reaching out to students, rather than waiting for them coming to us, we can make a difference in each of their lives. Talking about mental health out in the open exposes the falsity of the stigmas that face it. By interacting with students and holding events with different speakers, we can ignite a change here on campus, and even history. By making OU mental health services more available and popular, through getting the word out and popularizing it, students will be more willing to seek help.
Informing them that it’s natural to feel lost, alone, and confused sometimes, I want them to know they have a support system, that even if they can’t open up to their friends and families, they have us.
Recommending them to OU counselors and letting them know their options will help them feel less stressed. Having complicated steps to get help hinders our mission, but by making the process easy and simple, we will gather more students. In a world where acceptance and tolerance is becoming more common, we won’t have to mask our “problems” to the world. We are strong. We have survived through obstacles that felt like mountains. We prevailed through the hardest of times. Mental health should be a priority here at OU.