It’s okay to be depressed

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Rene Delgadillo, Multimedia Editor

I’ve been fighting depression for 10 years now, and I’m not ashamed of it anymore.

It’s been almost a year since I decided to put my fears aside and finally do something to change my mental health.

And for the first time in my life, I feel proud of who I am and for the things I’ve been accomplishing during the last couple of months. I’ve never felt this happy and confident in my entire life, and I want people who are fighting against depression to experience the happiness I’m enjoying.

I know people are dealing with bigger problems than the ones I have experienced, but for some reason, I always felt that I was a weak person who couldn’t handle the reality of life. When I was 6 years old, my mother died and I didn’t get to say goodbye to her. The words of my father letting me know that she was gone and would never come back destroyed my happiness—the one feeling that a kid should never experience.

After that, I started feeling different from other kids around me, but I couldn’t find the words to explain what I had inside of my heart.

From then on, I made sure to hide my sadness year after year because I didn’t want people to make fun of me or to think that I was crazy.

Two years ago, I was going through the most difficult time of life. I didn’t know who I was, what I believed in or what I wanted to do in my life. I was lost and I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I couldn’t sleep or finish my homework because I was fighting with myself, my family and my girlfriend.

Depression and stress had been destroying my physical and mental health for a while. No one was really there with me because they didn’t understand what I was going through. I was so stressed and mad at life that without noticing, I started pushing my girlfriend out of my life. I was taking all my anger and stress out on her. My depression and stress were the causes of many fights where we would scream at each other.

I was tired and I wasn’t enjoying life. I wanted to give up on everything because I felt I couldn’t handle anything any longer. I used to wake up every morning feeling like shit for no reason. I’ve cried alone inside of my car so many times so no one could know what I was going through.

I then decided to visit UTEP’s counseling center. After a couple of counseling visits, I was able to get in contact with my feelings, fears, mistakes and skills. Talking and crying about my life made me realize that I was a strong person who just needed a little of help.

I then decided to quit counseling, not because it wasn’t helping, but because I thought it was time to work things out without the help of a counselor.

After I made that decision, I became open about my mental health and I started talking about it with my friends and my advisor at The Prospector. I decided to keep myself busy with stuff I liked to have less time to think about my depression. So I took a broadcasting internship that had me running all over the city. I kept working at our student newspaper, and then I had the courage to leave El Paso for three months and do another internship in St. Louis, Missouri.

If you are suffering from depression, please know that you are not alone. There are people around you who are willing to help you. I understand how it feels to be sad and mad all the time. I know that your anger, fears, frustrations and sadness are hard to overcome, but don’t let them win.

If you ever need someone to talk to or need to set an appointment with a counselor, visit the University Counseling Center,  located in room 205 in Union West, or call 747-5302.

Counseling and medication can work very well together and the counseling center here at UTEP can accommodate you in case you need medication to feel better. There is no shame in needing medication to overcome depression.

If you don’t want to see a counselor, I do recommend talking to your friends and family about the things you’re dealing with, as hiding and feeling ashamed for being depressed will make your life harder.

Don’t bottle up your emotions because this is when a simple moment of sadness can turn into depression. One of the things you can do is to start a journal where you express your feelings. This will put you in contact with the way you feel and will give a better understanding of what you can do differently to overcome your negative thoughts.

When you’re depressed it’s easy to think that you can’t accomplish anything, and this why you should set daily goals for yourself that are easy to accomplish—this will give you the feeling of success. After you start feeling better, set more difficult goals.

Expose yourself to activities that you haven’t done before, this can be a great way to meet new people and a great way of finding some hidden talents and passions.

Don’t let depression and stress destroy your life like it did mine. I know it’s hard, but you’re not weak. Don’t give up, I believe in you.

To my friends, Christian, Gaby and Michaela, thanks for all the support. I’m sorry for having been a negative person for such a long time, but I am thankful for our friendship because without you guys I wouldn’t be the person I am today.