Kevin Huang, BSc Pharm Student
When I was a child, I believed two things: if I was happy, I should laugh to brighten people’s days, and if I was sad, I should try to smile and be brave. Show the world I wasn’t broken. It became harder as I grew up. Each wave of depression became more difficult than the last. Each episode of anxiety made me struggle more and more. I was afraid to tell my family; I was fearful of becoming a burden, yet anxious about any new changes that could happen in my life. I just wanted things to stay the same and to be “normal.” Therefore, I spent many years keeping everything to myself, feeling hopeless and uncertain of the future.
I was fortunate to have a tight-knit community behind me. With the encouragement of my friends and the support of my family, I was able to seek help, grow, and become a better person. It’s been two years since my depression fully controlled my life, and although it’s been hard, I’ve learned a lot. Mental health problems don’t discriminate. They affect the young and the old, the rich and the poor, and all genders and races alike. These problems can break people, transforming loved ones into people they can’t even recognize. They hide around the corner and hit when you least expect them.
We have to remember that mental health disorders are illnesses, and, fortunately, they can be treated. Mental health can be a difficult topic to discuss. Often, we’re worried about hurting people, offending one another, and not being able to make a difference. However, I can assure you that initiating the conversation can help to start the journey toward recovery. Relief comes from being heard and can mean the difference in getting care, even if you’re only listening. Let’s talk: from family to friends, from colleague to colleague, from stranger to stranger, from heart to heart.