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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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Depression is more than mental

Depression+is+more+than+mental
Whitney Veazey

I have a growing apathy for the things that I love. It isn’t that I don’t love them anymore, I just lose the spark that was once there. 

I was an artist as a kid. I filled entire sketchbooks in months, and had folders full of digital art that never seemed to end. I would make characters quicker than you could say their name and write stories perfectly tailored to them. My love for drawing ran deep. 

Nowadays, I’m lucky if I even pick up my iPad. I had saved up my high school graduation money to buy it; it was like the crème de la crème of digital art workbooks to me.

I don’t really know when the love faded away. Like I said, I don’t not draw anymore. It just isn’t nearly as often, and I don’t complete any pieces to their full extent. I have been a lifelong artist. Why did I stop after 18 years?

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 12 years old. I was diagnosed with panic disorder at 18, and ADHD at 19. I wasn’t really dealt the best cards in the mental health lottery. It is pretty rough as a 12 year old kid to battle getting out of bed every morning. It was like being hit by a truck every single day.

Now, as a 20 year old, I have developed a symbiotic relationship with my depression. Some days, it is as small as a pebble in my shoe. Inconvenient, yes, but not day-ruining. Other days, it’s like a boulder on my back. Undeniable, heavy and impossible to get through the day with. Lately, it’s been the boulder. I force myself out of bed and grow exhausted through the day. By the time I get home around 2 p.m., I can’t help but fall into bed. Naps are required to make it through the day. I never have the energy to do anything. It is exhausting just to exist. 

It feels almost ridiculous to complain about doing something as simple as being alive. I like being alive, it’s just extremely tiring. I miss feeling well rested. 

One thing I wish is for people to understand that this is something I cannot help. If I could snap out of it, I 100% would. I can’t just stop being tired or apathetic or angry. I would much prefer to live a life where I can wake up refreshed in the morning and go about my day like any other person. No amount of workouts or positive affirmations can fix it. I can take my medicine consistently, and that sometimes works. 

Being depressed doesn’t mean I am deprived of happy moments. I smile when watching a TV show I like with my mom. I laugh at my friends’ jokes. I blush when my boyfriend kisses me. Eventually, the happiness fades and I’m left with that emptiness again. It’s mostly when I’m alone, driving in my car or writing in my room. I think that’s when it’s the strongest. 

The mental strain crosses over to the physical very quickly with depression. Exhaustion is one of the main signs. Limb and back pain are symptoms, too, crazily enough. Excessive hunger and loss of appetite are pretty common, and they affect me. 

When your brain is sick, your body reacts appropriately. I am not making it up or over exaggerating it. I am sick. I go to a doctor to be treated for it. I take medication for it. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t make it any less real than any other illness.

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About the Contributors
Emma Tanner, Editor-in-Chief
Emma is Editor-in-Chief of the Flor-Ala. She is a senior from Killen, Ala. She is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in journalism and digital media. She was previously Managing Editor for the spring 2023 semester. She also served as News Editor from Jan. 2022 to Dec. 2022. She was previously a volunteer writer. Her favorite topics to cover are profiles and local news. Tanner has written since her childhood and grew a passion for journalism during high school. Aside from working on the Flor-Ala, she was also a research assistant for a psychological study at UNA and served as CASE ambassador president for the Fall 2022 semester.
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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