Friday 19th December 2014,
The Transcript

Finding a voice among depression, stigma and dreadful weather

Emily Feldmesser February 22, 2014 Opinion No Comments

This winter has sucked. The cold, the rain, the sleet, the snow and that weird hail thing the other day have all been present during this long winter. For me, so has depression.

As a person who suffers from depression and anxiety, this winter has been horrible for me. The endless gray days have done nothing to boost my morale, nor has it been beneficial to my mental health. And I’m assuming I’m not the only one who has been feeling this way.

There are so many people on campus that deal with the same things I do. Hell, I would be shocked if I was the only one. However, I do feel there is still a stigma surrounding depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.

I was diagnosed at the end of my sophomore year in high school, about a year after my best friend Laura died suddenly. I was relieved to finally know what was going on with me.

I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t care about grades or school, and everyday was a struggle to get out of bed. Finally, there was a key to help unlock some of the answers that I was trying to find.

About two weeks after I was diagnosed, I decided to tell a girl I was close with at the time. It was after finals, and we met at a Starbucks nearby. I remember mustering up the courage to tell her this news; it was a big deal.

After I told her, she looked at me with her big brown eyes and said, “Emily, are you depressed because you don’t have a boyfriend? Because if so, that’s no reason to be upset.”

I looked at her slack-jawed. This friend was smart; I thought she would know what caused depression. “No, Jenny, that’s not the reason,” I said, and I went into the same spiel my psychiatrist gave me when I was diagnosed.

My former friend continued to insist my lack of a love life was causing my depression.

After that experience, I was very hesitant to talk about anything having to do with my mental state. I told a handful of other people, who responded better than my former friend.

Still, I felt weird — it seemed like everyone around me was happy and perfect, while I was the one weirdo taking medications to make sure I stay sane. I really kept everything to myself while in high school.

As soon as I came to OWU, everything changed. I felt more open talking about my conditions. At this point, I decided to completely be myself — and besides, my parents said I’m not the only one.

So I started talking. I don’t introduce myself like this: “Hi, my name is Emily Feldmesser and I suffer from severe depression and anxiety!”  But I talk about it with people whom I feel close to, people whom I feel as though would appreciate knowing that other facet of myself.

Throughout my time at OWU, I’ve met people who have gone through similar things as I have, and some who have gone through worse. When I do decide to open up and talk about Laura or my depression, I know the people I talk to appreciate me opening up. Because it’s a damn hard thing to do.

This winter has worsened my depression, my mom can attest to that looking at our phone bill. But I know I’m not the only one dealing with these issues on campus, which does comfort me. One thing I can say for sure is that I’m ready for spring.

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About The Author

Emily Feldmesser is a junior double majoring in International Relations and Journalism. For the fall semester, she is interning at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. In her spare time, she likes to watch The Simpsons and chase dogs.

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