My name is Matthew Pizana and I am a 19-year-old college student. I am currently a second-year student but let me tell you more about how I got to where I am now.
Growing up, I always found it hard to see the meaning in things and having an overall sense of joy. Everything was bleak and no matter how hard I tried, I could never change the way I felt. When I began my freshman year of high school, I soon began to learn about mental health and other things related. By this time though, I had attempted suicide three times. I never sought help because I felt like no one would understand my struggles, and I felt I was a burden to those that I did speak to. I dealt with my depression in silence and continued to live my life trapped in a house that my depression had built.
Depression for me wasn’t feeling bad all the time, it was the absence of feeling. I would miss school because I physically couldn’t get out of bed. Thoughts of death were constantly racing through my head. I never acted on those thoughts in high school because I felt selfish for even feeling that way. I finally sought help whenever my choir teacher, Ruiel Doonkeen, pulled me into his office and asked me “What happened to you?” He told me that I looked dead in the eyes and that I wasn’t me anymore. That hurt because I thought I was doing a good job at hiding my illness. He reminded me of my worth and told me that it would be a shame to see my potential disappear from the world. I broke down and I remember reaching out and finally asking for help. I began therapy and would later began my first prescription for antidepressants.
Although depression is something I still deal with every day, I am in a better place now than I was back then. If you are struggling, just know that you do matter. Your story is important. Hope is real and help is available. Help can look like a choir teacher reaching out to you, or it can be as simple as starting that conversation. If things seem hopeless, don’t go. You are needed and there is potential to overcome these trials you are facing. Stay. May these words find you like a friend.