Mental Illness is not a Choice

June 26, 2018 / and

Ja’Nell Gore, Youth Perspective

Too often social media gives a misconception of what depression looks like and sometimes even romanticizes it.

Every time something bad happens and a person gets sad does not mean they are all of a sudden depressed. No, depression is not something that someone is just feeling this period but once they get food it will all be gone.

Depression can hit a person out of nowhere and will just sit on them. I know this from experience. I know the feeling of being out with friends and when I should be having a great time I just feel like crying and going home under my cover. Trust me, depression is not something to claim just for fun. Sitting in a doctor’s office, being told that you are going to be put on pills that you may have to take for the rest of your life is not something most people would  enjoy. Especially if they are as stubborn as me and refuse to take meds.

Also, this whole misconception about depression having a ‘look’ is all fake. We see everyday people who smile and laugh but are hurting, deep down, on the inside, and nobody knows. I’ve been one of those people that decide that acting goofy and crazy all the time is the best way to be, even if that’s not how I am feeling. I have sat and made a whole room laugh will being on the verge of tears, but the smiling makes them look like happy tears.

This also goes beyond depression into anxiety.  

Being diagnosed with anxiety does not just consist of being nervous every once in a while over a test or talking to the person you like; it’s constantly worrying if you are doing something wrong and stressing over nothing. I have gone from taking notes in math class to having to walk out because I can’t stop shaking and crying.

I’ve spent lots of time just sitting in my counselor’s office and in certain teachers’ classes trying to calm down but not nearly enough to cover as many attacks that I’ve experienced on campus. Why? I get too nervous to go to the adults that say I can come to them. I fear that they only say that they’re there for me because it is the ‘right’ thing to do or they want be nice. I’d hate to be the distraction that took them from their work or put a downer on their mood.

Anxiety has been a constant thing on my mind for the past three years and one of my hardest struggles in high school. It’s the reason I have turned down different events, parties, and opportunities to just go out of fear.

I asked for none of this, and I would not wish these upon anyone else, and to act like these illnesses are cute, or just part of a trend, is irresponsible and dangerous.

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JaNell Gore

Ja'Nell Gore is a student at Cal State Bakersfield. In addition to writing for Kern Sol News she is a poet who loves any chance she has to perform and be with her community.