By Ashton Leber
A few years ago, I struggled with depression. Some days, it was difficult getting out of bed and finding joy in the things that once brought me happiness. I was constantly being asked if I was OK by my friends and family.
Although I’ve overcome the often stigmatized challenges of depression, I sometimes still feel the hardships it brings.
Even though I don’t consider myself to be “depressed” now, I feel I am able to open up about my experiences. It’s not something someone can just say to ‘snap out of,’ or ‘cheer up because things will get better.’ It attempts to take over you, tries to control you and makes you feel like there’s no escape.
These past two weeks, I have felt myself under a significant amount of stress. I’ve been feeling down about myself and my ability to be a good student.
I’ve always made school a priority, and I try to push myself to be the best I can in all areas of my life. Whether it’s in my classes, my position at The Signal or at my internship, I always strive to give 100 percent.
While I was behind in my assignments I needed to get done, I realized I needed to change something. I wasn’t happy. I was feeling sorry for myself and just wanted to hide under my covers and make it all go away. But that wasn’t realistic. You can’t just bury your head in your pillows and make your problems disappear, and there’s no way I was going to be able to be an adult in the real world, when I graduate this December, if I was going to let this be a burden on my life.
As I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself, I started thinking my attitude toward life needed to change. I was taking my frustration out on my family, but in reality — it was me. I was feeling that the world was against me. It sounds silly, but that’s when I realized it was me who was the one against myself with the thoughts I was feeding into my own head.
It’s actually pretty scary how your brain works. You’re in full control of yourself, whether you believe it or not. Your thoughts, whether negative or positive, attract those vibes.
So, as I was laying in my bed letting my thoughts get the best of me, I realized that life could be a lot worse. I’m feeling sorry for myself because of what? I’m stressed? I have a lot of commitments to fulfill?
The reality is, everyone is always under stress. Stress is a part of growing up and being an adult. I’ve been in denial about graduating in December, but this period of feeling “sorry” for myself truly opened up my eyes to what’s really important in life.
Last weekend, I decided to focus on doing something positive. I spent time with my family and surrounded myself with nothing but positivity — great food and the people that care about me most.
I snapped out of it. I started telling myself that I am capable of anything. I picked myself up, patched the pieces back together and completed the tasks I needed to.
I somehow managed to still get everything done on time. I proved to myself that no matter how down I feel, I can still accomplish anything I put my mind to.
It’s amazing how much I learned these past couple months about my outlook and attitude toward life. I have a great internship, I go to an amazing college, and I have the best family and friends by my side.
I’m happy that I got myself together, because it has prepared me for the difficulties I will face down the road. Sometimes, changing your attitude and believing in yourself can adjust your entire perspective on life.
My best advice is to always stay true to yourself and find the things that make you happy. When you’re feeling down, get up and tell yourself you can do it. At the end of the day, you are your own worst enemy.