Friendship combats depression.

The past month has been one of the most difficult times of my life. I’ve had days where I’ve laid in bed crying on and off all day. I’ve had days where I felt like no one could stop me from succeeding and achieving everything I want to in one day. I’ve had days where I spent the morning crying my eyes out, and by the time the night came, I was overjoyed and having great times with great friends.

I’ve spent the last month wanting to kill myself every day, and as morbid as that sounds, it’s just fact. When I hit a new low, I am encapsulated by the emotional turmoil that goes with it, and I am blinded. I am unable to see a time when happiness is an option. I am unable to see the blessings in my life. I am unable to imagine a world where I will be okay.

And then suddenly, I am okay. I am able to laugh and sing and dance and do all of the things that bring joy and purpose to my world. I am able to accomplish feats I thought nearly impossible just hours before. I am alive and can’t imagine feeling anything other than happy. Until I don’t feel happy anymore.

I’ve learned that my emotions come in peaks and valleys. When I’m at my highest peak, I am near unstoppable like I was prior to this turn in events. But when I’m at my lowest valley, I cannot function.

As a child, I was never afraid of the dark (except, of course, after the occasional night of watching a Freddy Krueger movie). I don’t fear the physical dark; I welcome it. But as I find myself suffering more and more with depressing thoughts, I am consumed by a metaphorical darkness that overcomes my joy. It has become my new, greatest fear.

But through that fear, I’ve found my silver lining. I spent the past month in and out of depressing thoughts. I’ve cried more tears than I thought physically possible. I’ve had so many panic attacks. And through every bad moment, I’ve found friends ready to listen whenever I text or call.

For me, friendship is just as important, if not more important, to your life as romantic relationships and family ties. In most cases, your friends become like your family, and you can’t imagine your life without them. Even though as you get older, you don’t see your friends as often as you’d like to, they will always play an integral part in the shaping of your identity and life.

I’ve never really had the greatest friends. I spent years convincing myself that I was never good enough for the people around me because of my issues with anxiety and depression, and often times, those people made me feel that way as well. And while I could give you a play by play of how my past friends have destroyed my confidence and made me feel worthless and unloved, I’d rather focus on the people that have changed that perspective for me.

So this is dedicated to Steve Cuff and Erika Hanson. When I started graduate school in 2014, I never thought that my fellow cohorts would become major parts of my life. But I’ve learned so much about myself from my experiences and talks with them. They took the afraid, alone, self-conscious kid underneath my booming exterior and taught him that friendship isn’t about convenience. They made him feel loved and wanted and worthy, which is something I never realized I needed until I had it for the first time. These people taught me that friendship is unconditional love.

So surround yourself with people who know your self worth even when you don’t. I do it everyday.

Here are my friends. I’d die without them.



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