By JESSIE OWENSBY
A girl sits alone in the cafeteria. She’s quietly taking in her nutrition and reading a book. Her hair is a mess. People come to ask her what is wrong, and she simply says she is fine. They leave, careful not to bug her or ask too many questions. They don’t want to pry.
Inside, her brain is screaming for help. What nobody knows is that this is the first time she’s left her dorm room in four days. This is her first meal in four days, and she is so tired that she can’t keep track of her days.
This is not the sign of someone who doesn’t fit in, or a weird, anti-social person. This is the sign of depression. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), depression involves brain function. It lasts more than just a few days, and the feelings do not go away.
“The feelings persist and interfere with everyday life,” said the NIH website.
Most experts believe that a combination of family history and stressful life events can cause depression, stated WebMD.
The website also said, “There may be problems with activity levels in certain parts of the brain, or one may have a chemical imbalance.”
The NIH cites that around 20 million people are suffering from depression. The National Institute for Mental Health stated that a survey conducted in 2011 yielded 30 percent of college students admitting to feeling “so depressed that it was hard to function.”
Junior English major Catherine Moore said: “Just because you can’t see any physical attributes doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You don’t know the struggles someone is going through, so you shouldn’t assume anything about anyone.”
In an article published by the Huffington Post, there is new research that suggests that depression is actually caused by inflammation of the brain. The article also suggests that current depression medication does not treat inflammation in the brain.
With the loss of legendary comedian Robin Williams, there has been much talk about depression and mental health issues in our country in recent months.
Moore said: “Even though his death is tragic, we can all learn something from it. We can learn that we all have secrets, and we all have our own demons we fight.”
New discoveries about mental illness and depression are happening all the time. Until then, Piedmont College offers counseling services. Just go to the office of Student Affairs and request an appointment.
“Even though every day is a struggle, you learn to smile and keep moving forward because there are people who love and care about you,” said Moore.
Depression doesn’t have to keep you down. It is a common and treatable disease and you are not alone.
The National Health Intstitute list of Depression symptoms include:
2. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
3. Change in weight
4. Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
5. Energy loss
6. Feelings of worthlessness
7. Thoughts of death or suicide (in extreme cases)