Depression awareness first step toward wellness

By Emily Castillo
Pulse Staff Reporter

Photo illustration by Emily Castillo.
A young boy whose thoughts are getting the best of him and who is thinking about ending his life.

Depression can be hidden in the shadows of life. Some people who seem to have it all and seem to be the happiest are often the ones who are suffering from this disease.

Cody Sanders, a sophomore Business Management major, is a magician who does tons of magic shows every weekend. He suffers from chronic depression. When you see him, you would never know that he has cut himself and even tried to take his own life before his mom caught him just in time.

To this day, Sanders suffers, and he said that it has to get worse before it can get any better. Sander’s story resembles that of the late actor and comedian Robin Williams. They both have a sense of humor that would instantly light up a room. Williams let his depression take his life, but Sanders refuses to make the same choice.

He is currently seeking help from loved ones and learning to cope with his depression. If you find yourself dealing with depression, call the United States Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 24 hours, seven days a week.

A study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that some form of depression affects over 17.5 million Americans. Two thirds of those affected with depression do not seek the necessary treatment they need to help overcome it.

Depression is a whole body illness that affects a person’s physical health as well as how he or she feels, thinks and behaves toward others. All depression types are not the same. Major depression, also known as clinical depression and chronic depression, are the most common types.

How does someone know if they have depression? For starters, a person tends to show more than one of the following symptoms for more than two weeks. Symptoms include constant sadness, loneliness and hopelessness.

“I’ve suffered from depression going on three years now,” said Alex Valdez, a freshman Computer Science student.

“Every day gets easier and easier, but I always have those days that set me back, Valdez said. “Sometimes I just don’t want to live anymore.”

Brittany Gonzales, a sophomore Biology student, offered some advice that helped her when she was first diagnosed with depression.

“Talking to a friend, joining a church group, helping out around your community, or anything that would take your thoughts off the depression is really what you need to help you get through the depression,” she said. “Speaking to someone is what saved my life. You never know if someone is suffering until you get to actually know him or her. Never take anyone for granted.”

Gonzales is on the path to recovery and is helping out others by talking to kids who are suffering in her community.

At Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, freshman student Dakshina (Sheena) Kaushish committed suicide last April because of depression. Sources said she jumped to her death on the ninth story of a downtown parking garage. Kaushish was loved by her friends, but she never told anyone about how she was actually feeling. If Kaushish sought help from at least one of her friends, she may still be here today.

Depression can affect anyone, at any time. Knowing the symptoms and how to deal with depression are the first of many steps in the right direction.

For more information, visit Palo Alto’s Counseling and Support Services on the courtyard side of the Palomino Center. They are open Mondays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.