October once was my favorite month. Carving pumpkins, drinking hot cider with my siblings on Saturday afternoons, and weekend softball tournaments with my dad cheering me on. Summer was a time for spreading out and escaping, but October always signified a time when I could squeeze my family in. But then there were the dark underbellies of October. Panic attacks before homecoming dances because I was worried I wouldn’t look perfect and hadn’t eaten in days because I needed something to control. Staying up late after my parents went to bed so I could sneak outside to check every pumpkin because I was anxious and thought our house would burn down from a stray candle. But those were past Octobers.
I faced the same struggles that everyone faces in their first few weeks of college. I missed my friends and family back home, I was overwhelmed by classes and activities, and I had a bit of trouble making friends at first. Of course I realized this was all normal, but there was one slight difference in my situation.
The thing about being diagnosed with Major Chronic Depression, is even years after you’ve been treated and given medication, whenever you feel sad or upset sometimes you wonder if it means you’re “bad” again. Sometimes, it’s impossible to tell the difference and it’s confusing as all hell.
I’m going to be honest: my first semester at Kenyon sucked. The heightened academic rigor made me feel terrible at the things I was supposed to be good at, like I didn’t deserve to be here. People here talked about books I’d never read, bands I’d never heard of, and I was out of my depth. Continue reading