A message of love and support from Josh Friedberg: one concerned undergraduate.
Adapted from a piece in the college newspaper, the Earlham Word.
Dear person with depression,
I am writing this because over the past few years I have sensed more people my age feel out of place, as I often have. As I see it, I need to speak out, in the hope that we can help people from feeling isolated, disconnected, or worse yet, desperate and suicidal.
I must acknowledge that my life has been rough in some ways, but easy in others. I have struggled with issues of sexuality, disability, depression, anxiety, body image, and bullying. Simultaneously I have tremendous privilege by being a white owning-class male with a stable immediate family and an incredible support system of friends, role models and resources.
So while my struggles are different than those of many, I nonetheless have often felt out of place, disconnected, strange, and sometimes worthless. I have come out of hard times extremely fortunate to know that things do get better, no matter how bad things seem at the time. And while I’m no professional, I thought I’d share some tips that have worked for me in fighting depression:
Give yourself credit for who you are and what you do. Create lists under the categories “I am _________,” “I do ________,” “I have _________,” and “I love ________.”
If you start noticing that you’re figuratively beating yourself up, replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations, because you can control your thoughts. Gratitude has also helped me get out of a sad mood plenty of times.
Talk to people if you need them; I can guarantee they would rather help you if at all possible than not know you are in pain until it is too late.
Exercise. Even walking is a fantastic antidote to depression because you take in more oxygen when you exercise.
In closing, I want to say that if you are depressed, please do not hesitate to seek help. If you feel alone without direction, please reach out to resources around you, because you are not alone. Know that you are strong; you are worthy; and no matter what, you are loved.