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Sydney s Story


“My name is Sydney and I am from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a junior studying hospitality and tourism management. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in March of 2015, which was during my freshman year of college.


Unfortunately for me, I was born with a chemical imbalance in my brain. There was absolutely nothing I could have done to prevent my depression and anxiety. I do not produce enough serotonin that my body needs, which is why I take Zoloft every night.


I don’t have any specific stories about my disorders to share, but in general, prior to seeing a therapist and taking medication, I would cry my eyes out every day. I would have excessive panic attacks to the point where I couldn’t breathe. I sometimes would throw up as a result of how anxious I was.


You know how people get butterflies in their stomachs? I had a similar feeling that lingered with me day and night, but they were more like evil butterflies. I always had this nauseating pit in my chest that I could never get rid of. Being unhappy makes your body unhappy, therefore I was sick all the time. I had strep four times during my freshman year.


I first was diagnosed when I went to see a therapist during my Spring Break. There was also a nurse practitioner that I talked to on a regular basis in the beginning. When I found out I had depression and anxiety, it felt like a huge weight was lifted from my chest. As weird as this sounds, it felt good knowing there was actually something ‘wrong’ with me, because it was something that could be fixed.


When I found out, I told everyone with a smile on my face. People thought it was bizarre because there is 100% a stigma that surrounds mental illness. I personally am very open about what I battle with, but there are others who have silently approached me to talk about it after hearing how open I was. They were scared to bring it up due to the stigma.


A lot of people think it’s made up or you can be happy with the snap of a finger and that we are doing this ourselves. But, it is not that simple. And it sucks because you can’t really understand it unless you have it yourself.


Others may categorize you as ‘crazy’ or some look down upon those that have to take medication to control their moods. This is because they believe the medicine changes you as a person by putting chemicals in your body. Well, let me tell you- if someone thinks that I changed for the worse by taking this medication to boost my mood and by becoming a happier person, then that person is not someone I need in my life.


As I said before, people may not understand something if it doesn’t personally affect them, but that’s okay. As long as I am happy, that is absolutely all that matters.


If you are currently suffering silently- speak out. Don’t be afraid to bring it up to those close to you or feel you could confide in. Mental illnesses are so common and many people don’t realize that. Medicine is okay. Talking to someone to help you is okay.

Many people take different approaches when they get diagnosed, but it only matters that you are getting help in one way or another. This is something that cannot be ignored andmust be managed. Don’t shove it down and try to hide it because that will only make life 1000x worse. It is part of who you are: embrace yourself.”

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