(Editor’s note: This story is the sixth part of a multi-part series “Mind Wars,” examining the struggles of the mental illness, depression, that began with Issue #7 and concludes in Issue #12. Several staff members took it upon themselves to interview, take photographs and conduct research. The results of their combined efforts follow.)
by CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in-Chief
Depression. Anxiety. College.
Though college does not tend to go hand-in-hand with depression, it does with anxiety. Being diagnosed while attending college can be extremely difficult.
Lindsey Blackwood, a 23-year-old Public Relations major at SPC, grew up in Lubbock and graduated from Coronado High School. She has been suffering from anxiety and depression since she was 8 years old. She began showing signs of depression and anxiety when she was in the second grade, but was not diagnosed until she was in fourth grade.
“I had a fairly normal childhood,” explained Blackwood. “I played sports, hung out with friends, and graduated from Coronado.”
She explained that when she began showing the signs of anxiety and depression at such a young age, her parents shrugged it off at first, thinking maybe she was just a nervous child. She began experiencing severe anxiety attacks and extreme sadness. Her parents would tell her to go play, until they realized it could be something more. Blackwood said that when she entered the fourth grade, her parents decided she needed to be checked out by a doctor.
“That is when the doctor officially diagnosed me with anxiety and depression, and put me on medicine,” said Blackwood.
According to Blackwood, her mother has been the most understanding and accepting of her diagnosis, because she likely received it from her mother. She said she thinks her father tries to understand it the best he can. She said her brother, though, believes she could be faking it, so their relationship can get rocky at times.
“I do not really pay attention to them (people who think she could be faking),” Blackwood says. “I just try to ignore them and brush it off, because I know that they probably do not understand. So, I try not to respond to the negativity.”
According to Blackwood, the doctors looked at her family history, where it was found that there was a history of anxiety and depression. She explained that the chemical imbalance in her brain is so strong that she cannot go without her medicine. She has been prescribed with several different kinds of medication in her lifetime.
Blackwood says that she handles her depression in different ways, along with medication. One of those ways that she uses most often is through music.
“Music is a really big part of how I deal with it, because it has always been an outlet for me,” explained Blackwood. “I listen to everything from A Day To Remember to Demi Lovato.”
According to Blackwood, she had to mature a lot quicker than a child who has not suffered from anxiety and depression. She also said she feels as though she was robbed of happiness as a child.
“I have a different perspective on life because of it,” said Blackwood. “I am a lot more grateful for it, because you’re only given this one life, and you could be gone tomorrow.”
Blackwood said in reference to her school work that she tries to prioritize certain things more than she used to. She explained that if she is having a hard time and experiencing depression, then she will take a break and listen to music for a while, or write about how she is feeling. Then, she will go back and try to work on her homework again.
She said she also sees her physician regularly to keep up to date on her medical care. According to Blackwood, her doctor relies on her to tell him or her if she is in need of a higher or lower dosage of medicine.
“A few months ago was when the last about (her last battle) was,” explained Blackwood. “I could definitely tell I needed to up the dosage.”
Blackwood explained that when she is suffering from depression she just feels numb. She said that she feels a loss of interest in everything that she would normally like, and she is not herself.
“It feels like not having the will to do much, and not to live,” said Blackwood.
Blackwood explained that depression has become a lot more common through the years, since it has become socially acceptable. She explained that at times she will become irritated at people who claim to have depression when they are not diagnosed or just experiencing sadness.
She said that if there is someone who believes they might be experiencing depression, then they need to try to get help. Whether it be seeing a doctor or talking to a therapist, getting help is very important. According to Blackwood, the people around a person who is experiencing depression should try to help the person understand that it is OK to talk about.
“I definitely would try to find a hobby, or just write how you feel, even if it is just for yourself,” said Blackwood. “If none of that works, then try to go to a doctor.”