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News Detail

Depression Does Not Define Me

By Halle K., Grade 12
My name is Halle. I am a prefect, thank God. (Shout out Mr. Marino!) It is my fourth and final year here at Stanstead College (hopefully). I like to laugh, run and play sports. Oh, and my friends are pretty cool even if I tell them they aren’t. But something I am super passionate about is my mental health.
When I first applied to become a prefect in Grade 10, I was in a great place with really amazing friends. After I got my prefectship, I was on cloud nine and nothing could happen to me to tear me down. I loved coming to school, I loved playing sports and watching Mr. Delorme yell at Trofim in our Ethics class for something Camryn and I were doing and getting away with, or going to History and stealing all of Mr. Simard's snacks while we talked about my absurd sense of style.

My summer was great and I got back to school in September ready. But life hit me hard. It was in December when I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and I no longer found little things to make me laugh and be the highlight of my day. At first I thought it was just the winter blues until it got so bad I wasn't going to class. Even on the sunniest day of the year I didn't leave my room.

The summer wasn’t any better, and at the start of Grade 12, I was at my all-time lowest. I lied to my parents and told them I was getting better, I didn't open up to my friends in fear of them looking at me differently. It took me until this past October to say I wasn’t okay, I needed help and I couldn’t do it by myself.

So why am I telling all about my depression? Well, depression is often misunderstood or stigmatized, leading to feelings of shame and isolation for those who suffer. I am attempting to break down these barriers of stigma and shame. We as a community must create a culture where reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness but an act of courage. By fostering empathy, compassion and understanding, we must listen without judgment, offering support instead.

When I finally reached out for help, I was taught that we are not defined by our struggles but by our resilience, our courage and our capacity for healing. At this point my life doesn’t revolve around my diagnosis. I still have bad days, and I’ve had to accept the fact that the medication I take every day will be a part of my life forever, but I'd much rather go to practice with my friends and cringe when Ms. Hessian counts another Cavagnah. Or spend an hour laughing with my friends instead of studying. (Sorry, Ms. Weir, I know we have a test coming up.) It’s essential to emphasize that help is available for those struggling with depression.

Depression doesn’t just affect the individual; it has consequences for families and friends. It can impair relationships and hinder productivity. By addressing depression openly and compassionately, we can work towards creating a more supportive environment for those affected.

I would like to end with this: every day when I come back into my dorm room, Camryn asks me what the highlight of my day was, and each day it’s different, but I always remember a quote I read by Sylvia Plath:

“I love people. Everybody. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me. My love's not impersonal yet not wholly subjective either. I would like to be everyone but I am not omniscient. I have to live my life, and it is the only one I'll ever have.”