I understand this is not a question, but I just wanted to say something in light of the suicides at Cornell this year.
I come from a very traditional family. My family thinks that my depression stems from mental weakness, so I had never sought any sort of help. I blamed myself when I felt down. I thought I should try harder to be "stronger," to be "better." But it's not true! Depression is a disease, just like cancer or Alice in the Wonderland Syndrome.
Depression or any sort of mental disease is stigmatized, but there really is nothing shameful about it. We just need more serotonin or whatever chemical it is that we need.
I cannot remember a day when I was not depressed. I tried to kill myself when I was seven years old. I missed more than a month of school during junior year because I was so depressed. I would sometimes more Vicodin than necessary to enjoy the numbing feeling. I think about suicide every minute.
I've been there and I know how difficult it is! Suicide is a last resort. I really wish people would take that courage and reach out to someone. I know it's difficult, because a very dangerous aspect of depression is that we stop connecting with others. At least, I feel like people are being fake when they "care" about me. Even when I'm with my friends, I would feel lonely and unconnected. But usually, it's not the other person's fault. We just disconnect ourselves from the world.
Life may seem sluggish and nothing may be right. It seems like pain never ends. Tomorrow won't be better. Sleep becomes your best friend or maybe insomnia. Eating becomes a chore and seeing people happy makes you wonder what you are doing here. If you feel this way, know that you are depressed! Contact someone, ask for help. And KNOW that life will be better. Things change all the time; nothing ever stays still. Sometimes, I wonder why I'm still alive because I get so sick of trying to rebuild my life, trying to fight depression or suicidal thoughts. But I'm here. Because tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow will be different, even if not hugely. This shall too pass. Believe me, it will pass.
You are not alone. Please reach out. You are important to us. And when I say "I understand," I don't simply say it to empathize with you. I do understand. Life is difficult. But life is also worth living; if you don't live tomorrow and the day after that and so on, you will never know what tomorrow will be like. And we'll never get to know what you're like. Live. Life right now won't be what the rest of your life will be like.
We love you.
Thank you so much for your heart-felt and honest letter. I've gotten so many letters from students like you who have struggled through what seemed like insurmountable challenges, and have found that light at the end of the tunnel. They found that life could be better.
I quote President Skorton,
"As a doctor, teacher and father, I, too want to reach out personally to each one of you - especially our students. I want you to know that it is normal to feel sad or anxious at times, particularly when such tragedies occur. Roommate conflicts, relationship problems, financial challenges and especially academic stress are just some of the pressures that can make us think that things are too difficult. Your well being is the foundation on which your success is built. You are not alone. Your friends, your family, your teachers, your colleagues, and an array of counselors and advisors are ready to listen and help you through whatever you are facing. If you learn anything at Cornell, please learn to ask for help. It is a sign of wisdom and strength.
"Cornell is a caring community where the struggles of one of us is a concern for all of us. You can help by checking in with your classmates, roommates, colleagues and friends to make sure they are well. It is important to take the time, regularly, to reflect on the many things for which we are grateful and on how best to overcome, together, the daily challenges we must face. This is the time to be with and for one another."
If you find that you have a need to talk please use one of the following resources:
Gannett Health Services 607 255.5155
- 24/7 phone consultation with a medical or mental health care provider for any member of the Cornell community with a concern about a student
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Medical Care
- Regular hours:
· Monday to Friday: 8:30 am to 5 pm
· Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 pm
- www.gannett.cornell.edu: extensive online, campus, and community resources for people seeking help for themselves or for someone else in distress