8 Dear Journal – Domynic Lopez
Author: Domynic Lopez, Pima Community College
Lately, things around me have seemed to be going quite well, I recently moved out of my grandmother’s house with a friend, I received a raise at work, and for the most part my grades are looking well so far. This point I am at, though, did not come easily, nor did it come out of nowhere; getting to where I am today was a tiring process that I did not think I would be capable of. About four years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and a few months after that bipolar disorder, these diagnoses’ came after multiple (four in a year) life-changing events happened to me. To make a long story short, the past few years have been a struggle and everyday remains a struggle. Attempting to persevere through the tough and not just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but wanting to have it is what has gotten me through all I have been thrown. My life has not been easy in the slightest, but has anyone’s?
Before my diagnoses and the events leading up to them, I was a pretty happy teenager I suppose, but I knew not of what real struggle was. The most stress in my life had been before a test or before a big high school football game. At that time I remember seeing some of my peers going through what I thought was just some rough times. I would see people, classmates, even my own friends cut themselves, OD, break the law, etc. Seeing this I was not so surprised because I figured these specific cases were due to those specific people being themselves, I was wrong. It was shortly after my graduating class’ uprise in crimes that I noticed a large increase in people claiming they were depressed or going through issues in their own mind. I never could understand these feelings and, unfortunately, for the most part I thought these classmates of mine were all doing this for attention. I was right to think that because it was high school so of course some of these people were simply looking for attention, but I was wrong in my thinking because a small percentage of them were honestly going through things in their life that brought upon mental health issues.
I remember the idea of someone being depressed was astonishing to me, I would think: “why don’t they just look at the bright side and cheer up, ridiculous how negative that person is.” Shortly after this time period where I found myself so confused on mental health, I went through my own issues and struggles with it, and to this day I still suffer from daily issues and thoughts within my own head. What scares me so much is how willing people and the public in general are to turn their heads from this issue. Even if no one turned away from this issue and those who knew about it tried to help, there are so many people who do not even know the slightest amount about what some people truly go through. I know this is true because I was once someone who shrugged off the idea of mental health awareness for two reasons: I did not know or believe anything about the topic and it was scary to think someones own mind could do that to them.
The scariest part is how easily someone going through something like depression can hide it and cover it up. I go through my day as one of the most energetic and happy people I know, everything I do around people throughout my day I try to make fun or enjoy. If someone who was simply an acquaintance of mine were asked to describe me they would more than likely say things like “uppity,” “energetic,” or “can brighten up a room’s mood.” What they have no idea about is the crippling anxiety or depressive thoughts that are constantly in my head. People who go through mental illness like this tend to portray themselves as fine or better than fine to a public eye, this makes seeing and being aware of this issue that much harder. Not to mention the fear of being judged, most people struggling with a problem like this are too embarrassed to say anything in the first place. I would really like to see the world open up a little more to help or even just acknowledge issues like these because anyone could be going through their own version of personal suffering and most people would have no idea. Obviously this can not be prevented, but it can be helped and treated; I would like to see that, a world united to helping each other. A pipe dream, I know.