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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

TW: Heavy mental health topics, mentions of suicide/suicidal ideation, self harm.

I was 10 years old when I first discovered “scene/emo” culture on YouTube.

It changed my life to see people who dressed the way that I felt. Looking back,that was the first time I realized I was depressed. As I grew up and went off to middle school, I found myself drawn to darker clothing and music, mainly listening to heavy metal/screamo music or songs with heavy, sad themes.

As I entered 7th grade, my world changed forever. I had a tough time around boys and was shifting between two very different friend groups. I felt lost in my own life, always going back and forth between caring about my life and future, or choosing a darker path of drugs, alcohol, and harmful behaviors. This feeling, along with the anxiety of performing well in school, my interpersonal relationships, and the struggle of middle school bullying, led me to self harming in the form of cutting. I spent most of middle school cutting my wrists and thighs as a way to cope with the enormous feelings I kept under lock and key in my mind. It was incredibly difficult spending each night ritualistically cutting away at my body, as if I were cutting away the hurt in my heart and mind. Even into high school I continued to cut; with age, my problems got bigger.

It took me four years to realize that cutting did nothing to stop the pain from continuing, and instead made my life infinitely more difficult. I reached out to friends and family for support and thankfully they jumped at the chance to help me understand my emotions better. The desire to cut was in the back of my mind for years after, but I’m grateful to say that I’m four years clean as of December, 2023. 

Cutting and all forms of self-harm that I participated in, like promiscuous, unprotected sex, drugs, lying to my loved ones, etc.,were just symptoms of my deeper problem: depression. It took me a long time to admit to myself that I was depressed and that it was more than just “sadness.” From that realization, I was able to seek therapy and start to deconstruct the harmful coping mechanisms I had grown accustomed to. Finding a therapist/therapy style that best suits you is essential to the healing and growing process. I found my most recent therapist/psychologist through Psychology Today. They have a range of professionals and a list of issues you can check off to find someone best suited for your needs. It’s also about timing; you have to want to get better before you can actually change in a meaningful way.

I was formally diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) this past summer. It is chronic depression, which makes my life hard each and every day. I find it hard to get out of bed, go outside, go to class or work, and even eat most days. Depression is not a pretty illness, and anyone who tells you to “just smile” or “just do something fun” to help doesn’t understand the daily struggles. It can be so easy to simply rot away in your room and avoid any and all responsibilities, but trust me when I say that getting better will make a world of difference. After having MDD for more than half of my life, I am finally starting to try out antidepressants. The process of finding the right medication is a battle all on its own, but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll find the medication for you. 

As someone who has been to hell and back, I can honestly say that the struggle is worth it. No issue or problem will ever be worth your life. It can feel like your world is bleak and gray, but you can find the things and people in life that will make your world full of color. You are strong,loved, and important no matter what anyone else says. I appreciate the love and value you bring to the world and you can get through anything. My DMs are always open for anyone in need, and if you feel like no one cares, just know that I care about you.

Sienna Gable is a new writer at the Her Campus at Michigan State chapter. She plans to write on her personal experiences, as well as topics involving pop culture and interviews of current and former MSU students. She is excited to start this chapter of her college career, and hopes for great things. Sienna is currently a fifth year senior at Michigan State University studying Human Biology. She intends on continuing with a career in healthcare, likely Nursing or PA school after graduation. Beyond Her Campus, she has spent four years working various jobs in the healthcare system, some of which include Nurse Assistant for Mclaren Greater Lansing, Emergency Services Assistant for Beaumont Farmington Hills, and currently she is employed by Burcham Hills as a Caregiver. Sienna values her work and enjoys leaving a lasting, positive impact on others when she can. She enjoys writing for fun, reading, going to concerts, listening to music, and hanging with friends and her cat, Artemis. Her goals for the future are to graduate from MSU, continue writing for fun and educational purposes, travel the world and attempt to travel to every continent, and continue to make the world a better place any way she can.