Posted on March 23, 2015 by Gregory Lewis
“Here is the tragedy: when you are the victim of depression, not only do you feel utterly helpless and abandoned by the world, you also know that very few people can understand, or even begin to believe, that life can be this painful. There is nothing I can think of that is quite as isolating as this.” – Giles Andreae
Often as we go about lives we fail to notice that those near us are going through difficult times. Several of which struggle with mental illness such as schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and clinical depression. 1 in 10 Americans suffer from depression at one point or another. However, over 80% of people with clinical symptoms are not receiving treatment for their depression.
Jessica was a first generation college student who graduated valedictorian of her high school . Her entire school was excited when she was accepted into an Ivy League institution. Jessica was moving quite far away from home but she deemed it worth it as she was pursuing her dreams at her dream school.
Jessica was quick to make friends once she began college because of her “bubbly personality”. However, several months after being on campus she became extremely homesick. Additionally, her boyfriend of 4 years began what would eventually be two tours in Iraq. Jessica latter admitted that this added significant stress in her life as she was constantly worried about his well-being. Further adding to Jessica’s stress was her grades began to slip.
Jessica began avoiding interactions with other and even stopped going to classes. Her eating habits completely changed and she began hating her body. She even said at one point that she wanted to just, “end it all”.
Thankfully, Jessica had made a close friend in her first few weeks at her school. This friend would constantly check on Jessica and encourage her to go to class. Eventually, with the encouragement of this friend, sought professional help to address this change. After having being diagnosed with clinical depression Jessica began to fight this crippling disease. Jessica still has a long road ahead of her but she looks forward to the future with a positive outlook.
Photography and Text by Gregory Lewis, Copyright 2015
About the Author: Gregory Lewis is majoring in Nursing, enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.