Khadija Parker | Correspondent
I am an advocate for mental health. I believe in therapy and taking medication if needed. We have so much proof that the brain, like our bodies, can grow weary and cave in from overwhelming amounts of stress and trauma. Although I am an advocate for getting help, I would come down with serious cases of depression. I am cheerful, easily-amused, and into many different things. I enjoy watching video game playthroughs and playing with dogs.
Despite my usual demeanor, I went through a serious bout of depression in which I lost interest in everyday things. I became secluded and more self-conscious, paranoid and anxious all the time. Last semester at NC State, I did not want to move back home after it was over. I wanted badly to find some program that would house me, to find a means to stay. Whether I waited too long to start applying or the pools of applicants were too large for me to stand a chance, I’ll never know.
But I do know that having to move back home made me feel bad. I felt like a dependent loser. To make matters worse, I applied to summer school but could not get any money to pay for it, so I had to cancel all those classes. This caused me to feel down and out about myself.
My birthday is May 8th and I celebrate it every year. But this time in particular, I made plans weeks in advance and tried to tell those I wanted to come in a timely manner. The only person to show up was my roommate. This is not to say I don’t have great friends because that would be lying.
My heart was broken by my own wants and wishes from people who saw me only as a object to use. And I never thought of myself as being worthy. I always settled for being the second thought or the one you call when you are bored and I lashed out because of it. I used social media to vent, but really the posts were just cries for help. I was going through my own personal turmoil within and felt so miniscule and insignificant.
Self-esteem has never been something I’ve had much of until my late teens and early adulthood. I felt like I had fallen into a deep pit and nothing could bring me out of it. It may sound odd, but I was still high-functioning. I still attended events in downtown Greensboro, taking the bus by myself everytime and striking up conversation with strangers. Listening to music was appeasing on the bus late at night while looking at the scenery around me. There were a few friends I met over the summer I made connections with, although we do not talk today. Though there was paranoia within me about walking the streets alone and taking myself out on dates, there was still a need to get out of the house within me. There was a need to break myself free of these chains.
When I finally went to see a therapist, I told them everything going on with me. My worst fears had been realized and written down as a pill prescription. I had depression. It didn’t help that my home life was a bit dysfunctional. I still looked to cope in unhealthy ways or just pacify hopeless feelings of worthlessness. That was the first time I seriously considered suicide.
I remember looking at my pills and alcohol on the counter and wanting to mix up a cocktail for myself to end it all. I remember wanting to find a gun or a weapon to end it quickly. My heart was in shambles and I couldn’t think straight to save my life. That’s when I first considered dropping out of NC State to go to community college. It was a choice of desperation because I had something to prove to the people I went to highschool with and even people in college. I so badly wanted their approval.
After taking the medication for almost two months, the suicidal thoughts had lessened. My smiles and laughs were more genuine. The air felt better against my skin. I could actually feel good about going out in public and being seen. I didn’t want to admit that the medication had helped, but it did. I even decided to stay in NC State. It was painful for me because I wanted to hold on to what was familiar. I had no confidence in what I was doing as a rising junior in college. My vision was blurred by what I thought of as largely noticeable flaws.
I don’t know who I’m writing to. Who knows how many people will read this and how many will skim to what they came to read. I want my women of color out there to know that you are valuable. Not because of how many likes you get on Instagram or how many guys compliment you during the day. Not by how much attention you get from others, but by your own standards. Living up to others’ perceptions of us can be devastating to our mental health. You can never be enough for everyone. But pay attention to what’s important to you and what your values are. Find your passion. Work on it. Look for ways to make money off of it and sustain yourself. But most importantly, make sure you are happy!
The Counseling Center is located on the second floor of Student Health Services. For emergencies, call 919-515-2423. For more information on making an appointment, visit http://counseling.dasa.ncsu.edu/about-us/appointments/.