All heart but no hope

We shouldn’t be afraid to speak up about our struggles

Graphic by : Sarah Massey I Production Manager

Life shouldn’t be this hard. I’m 20 years old, I shouldn’t be this sick of living. I shouldn’t be this tired.

These are all things I’ve been thinking lately and they’re true. I love my jobs, my classes and my friends. I love this university. My heart is in it, but my head just refuses to cooperate.

Living with mental illness, diagnosed or not, is incredibly difficult. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 75 percent of mental health conditions manifest by the age of 24. College students are suffering, myself included. I am unable to get out of bed some days. Other days I feel fine, great even. Sometimes I feel lucky to be alive and other times I wish I didn’t have to exist, because existing can be so exhausting.

The worst part is not even that fact that I feel this way. The worst part is that very few people understand that I feel this way. So many people had good intentions, “Have you tried yoga?”, “Are you taking vitamins?”, “I have bad days, too” and my personal favorite: “Don’t joke about suicide. It’s not funny!” You’re right, it’s not really funny. It’s one of the ways I cope with my impending doom.

Mental illness is becoming romanticized these days, especially with “13 Reasons Why” being so popular on television. This phenomenon
of depression and other illnesses being viewed as “tragically beautiful” makes me angry. My sadness is neither beautiful nor poetic. There is nothing alluring or mysterious about my pain. I don’t need to be fixed and I don’t need to be saved, certainly not by anyone who thinks suffering is beautiful.

Why should I have to pretend that I’m not struggling? What is the point of lying to people? Even writing this is a struggle. I’m trying to strike a balance so that I seem a certain way. Why? Who told us that we have to suffer in silence? I’m not ashamed to admit that I need help and you shouldn’t either.

If you think you need someone to talk to, even if you’re just more stressed out than usual, please, go to the Personal Counseling Center. I know Birkam is a joke but the counseling center has people you can talk to. I enjoy dumping all my problems on someone I don’t have to associate with on a personal basis.

We’re all a little messed up, so why not just stand together?