There is a Light at the End of the Tunnel I’ve been reflecting a lot on my college experiences ever since graduation and finally puckered up courage to compose this post. I have to tell you, it was not easy at all for me to write this and a lot of tears were shed in the process. But, truth be told, I don’t want to live in regret knowing I didn’t share my story. This post is going to be fairly long and I apologize for the lack of brevity, but please bear with me because there’s no way I could succinctly describe all there is to say about my personal experience of living with depression. Yes. Depression. It’s real, and no, it’s not something people can just “snap out of.” I want to start off by just providing some key facts about depression before delving into my personal experience dealing with it and how I finally recovered. Depression affects about 350 million people worldwide. In fact, among 15-24 year olds, suicide is considered the second leading cause of death. Considering these stats, it’s so sad that there’s still such a big stigma against this mental health condition. People, please take the time to educate yourself in order to better understand how you can help someone who might be going through this. Also, just to put things into perspective, do most people think twice before getting treated for diseases like diabetes or heart disease? No, right? Similarly, depression is an illness of the brain. And the brain is an organ just like the others in your body. I’d say the most important one actually. There are so many people I want to thank for helping me get through this. To my family: thank you for encouraging me to seek help and for reassuring me that it’s okay to take medication for depression because it is, after all, caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. For telling me to sign up for therapy sessions and, most importantly, for all the prayers. To my sweet, sweet friends: thank you for giving me the courage to keep going, for telling me to put down my thoughts and feelings in a journal, for stating that my dreams and goals were not impossible to achieve despite this condition, for vanishing my worries that depression was making me a vain, selfish or less empathetic person, for encouraging me to get some sunshine and exercise, for calling every once in a while to check up on me, for all the laughter and, off-course, for always always inviting me to events even though you knew the obvious, unfortunate answer would be “no.” You guys made me feel oh-so loved. To all those out there struggling, please know that you are not alone. As J. K Rowling, who created the soul-sucking dementors based on her personal experience with depression, stated best, “[the dementors] are bothering a unique, valuable human being who deserves happiness. Ask for help. Don’t fight alone. Big hug.” There is no quick fix solution for this. There are medical professionals who are specifically trained to help you. After having sought help, I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it is to wake up every morning wanting to just dance all the time and hug everybody in sight. So, friends, be nice. Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. Also, just as a side note to students, workers, everyone to be honest, set aside petty jealousies and trivial personalities and just care for each other. Life’s way too short! Share your story, message, poem, quote, photo or video of hope, struggle or recovery. By sharing your experience, you can let others know that they are not alone.