Smiles hid silent pain: a look at unspoken depression

Not to toot my horn, but when people glance at me they usually see a pretty face and a welcoming smile and judge a book by its cover. Today my inner feelings match my personality, but I can’t say the same for my past. When I first ventured off to college I knew I was ready to handle my responsibilities, be away from all the problems and burdens at home, and just make a new life for myself. But I was wrong!
Between hardships, deaths, financial problems, grades, adapting to a new environment, and other things life became overwhelming. Slowly but surely I stressed more until I grew into depression.

I noticed changes in myself but looked over them as common changes everyone experiences.
I started losing sleep and appetite, interest in things that once made me happy, and began experiencing low self-esteem. Then I developed unexplainable headaches, backaches and stomach pains.

I knew something was wrong, but did not want yo share it with anyone because I was the type to hold everything in.
I grew deeper into my hole until one day I broke down physically and emotionally.

I went to the campus counseling office and shared my problems with a stranger. A burden was lifted.
A lot of students use these services. So I asked a campus counselor about how often they see students.
“Quite often, but maybe twice a month we have to refer someone to medical facilities if we cannot help them,” said GSU counselor Tundra Turner.

Some common symptoms of clinical depression include sadness, changes of sleep patterns, lack of energy, headaches and weight loss/gain.

When surveyed and asked if students experienced a loss of energy 47 answered yes. Sixty two individuals said they lost sleep lately.

“Once [you] realize that you have a problem try to get it treated. Early treatment is the best intervention,” Turner said.
As I interviewed the counselor all I could think of was when I sat in the very same building answered at my wit’s end.
Why did it take me so long to seek help? Pride. I was too concerned with what people might think about the girl who always smiled.

“Why is it that most African American’s would rather hold everything inside than rather talk about it,” I asked her.
“Because it’s that stereotype people often worry about, someone finding out when it is actually really confident. You have rights,” Tundra said.

This confirmed what many stressed students at GSU are concerned about other people finding out.
The counselor’s office is located next to Foster Johnson. The office hours are from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Fifty eight of the 100 Grambling State students surveyed answered yes to having friends who are depressed.
One of the surveys conveyed wise words.
“Although I am not depressed I am sure a lot of GSU students might be.

” But if you keep God First at all times, know that depression or any other obstacles will have no power over you,” said Ashley Boston, double major in English Education and Theater.
For national depression assistance, call 630-482-9696. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I did.

Erina Love is a sophomore mass communication major from Detroit.