"This Is About You, It's Not About Me"
This is one of my novel's signature lines, it's also an essential theme, and it explains the main reason why i'm writing a book based on my depression/anxiety. If you're confused by that line, I'm sorry. But there's a point to all of this.
In my sophomore year of college my life was a mess. At the time I was a chemistry major, and I despised it. The math was too complicated, the workload was overwhelming, and finishing the work felt like going to war.
I was depressed and there were a lot of things that went into this.
1) College was the first time in my life that I really came close to "failing." In each of my first three semesters of college i'd gotten a "D" in one class. My first semester was extremely rough because on top of nearly failing calculus I had to drop learning Japanese (that's another story).
After that semester I had my scholarship reduced and I felt like I had to prove to a lot of people (my professors parents and myself) that I could rebound from that. My advisor also put on a bit more pressure (with good intentions) on me in the spring when he told me that my calculus grades concerned him. At that time, I felt like I could handle it. And even though I nearly failed another semester of calculus, I was still confident that I could keep going.
Things went downhill fast my sophomore year.
2) It was hard to find friends. My freshman year I lived on a co-ed floor for science majors which was great in theory but I never really seemed to fit in with them. They were nice people but I always felt like I was tagging along with them, especially to dinner. I really felt out of place with my suite mates, and I think a lot of that was due to me being really insecure and not being confident with myself. I never really asserted who I was to them and that's one of the few things about my early years at college I regret.
3) I felt stupid. Being a chemistry major my sophomore year seemed to constantly insult my intelligence. That's unraveling, and it didn't help that I was surrounded by other kids in class who "just got it." I wanted to be like them, and I always compared myself to them. While I was taking organic chemistry there were times where I was hopelessly confused, and I never bothered to ask my professor questions because I was scared of him. I didn't help that i was so quiet and kind of stubborn.
During the lab sessions he'd occasionally walk around to each group to check on our progress (we worked in groups for Organic Chemistry). However, most of the time; he'd just stand on the podium in the front of the room. To his credit, he definitely knew his stuff, and he was a nice guy. But my professor was also the head of the Chem department and I had to impress him.
I put myself in a situation where i'd be figuring things out on my own, and it eventually became daunting and frustrating. I spent hours doing work, and because of that I was constantly sleep deprived and quickly ran out of gas.
4) I fell behind and catching up was overwhelming. I got sick one weekend at the beginning of the semester which forced me to skip all my classes one Monday. Because of this I had to make-up my weekly Monday lab with my intimidating professor. I called him that morning (because i had him for both lecture and lab) to let him know that I was missing class b/c I was sick. He talked in this very professional tone which was really intimidating & I was already very stressed because I had to call him. (I probably could've emailed him but I wanted to make sure he got the memo early.) This set off a chain of events which led me to falling behind.
The next week I was shocked to find out that I was having an orgo test the next week this really unsettled me & I quickly decided that I wanted to "get out".
5) I didn't care enough about myself. Throughout all this turmoil and stress I boxed myself in. I never realized that there were issues that I brought to college with me. I had self-esteem issues, trust issues, and was going through a mini-identity crisis. I was also learning how to live on my own for the first time and still holding on to a high school crush. My roommate sophomore was great but all of these things never really allowed me to be completely comfortable with him, and I somehow put my blame on him for not being the "perfect roommate" I envisioned. But he was not the reason I was depressed.
Everything sucked, I was a mess and I was tired of letting things get to me and being unhappy. So I decided to finally fix myself.
I first quelled my depression with music. It became an emotional outlet for me where I could simply released myself and just sink into the music. Being a musician and doing something I loved really helped me out. It was a launching pad really, from there I started seeing a therapist to address the litany of issues that I had. My time with a therapist helped me talk about my problems, it also helped me "find myself" as I managed to get through my identity crisis. I also managed to find an amazing group of friends who I enjoyed being around. They made me feel comfortable and they also helped me branch out. I became more confident and more ambitious and being a songwriter eventually led me to writing this book. Even though i'm still in the planning stages it's really been therapeutic for me. It's helped me realize my artistic ability and i've done a lot of reflection which has really helped me understand myself. How I think, How I react to things etc.
My book "This Is About You," is based on parts of my life but it's not for me. It's geared to people who suffer from mental illnesses particularly depression and anxiety. That's why "This Is About You, It's Not About Me" is so important, i might not necessarily need help but there are people who do. If you do i'd recommend you read this book (when it's finished of course). I hope that readers take what i've learned and gauge how it fits into their own lives. After all, my ultimately goal is help people through a (hopefully) engaging and relatable story.
Don't get me wrong. Depression sucks, in fact I still have bad days, and there are some days where I don't want to do anything. If you suffer from depression I urge you to seek the help you deserve, and to talk about your feelings with someone you trust. Asking for help is ok, and if you have depression; I clearly understand parts of what you must feel (But I might not understand everything because I'm not you). And, while things may stink; don't accept it. Change it!
Sorry this was so long. I'll be updating the "This Is About You" section with my updates as I write! (The cover is running, shout to Sparkes on Wattpad.com for the awesome cover!)
I'm also planning to start a YouTube channel & i'll talk about this post in more depth.
Thanks For Reading!
If you need help here's some resources for you:
National Suicide Hotline (US): 1-800-273-8255
National Alliance for Mental Illnesses (NAMI) http://www.nami.org/
Here's a list of suicide hotlines geared towards people in the US by state:
Here's a list of international suicide hotlines geared by country:
If you don't know where to start here's an article from healthline.com:
If you'd like to read a couple of books dealing with & about depression I recommend these:
It's A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Ascher
Unstuck: by James S. Gordon, MD.