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I thought the first year of college was going to be the best year of my life, a time to find myself and decide what I want to do with my life. After all, that’s what everyone had always hyped it up to be. But that wasn’t my experience. Instead, my first year of college was spent dealing with severe depression. And the worst part is I didn’t tell anyone what I was feeling or dealing with for six months.

I don’t know why I became depressed. I think it was a combination of being in a job where I felt worthless, having extremely toxic people in my life, and not having any idea what I should do with my life. Getting out of bed each day seemed impossible. I felt sick and like I couldn’t do anything. Meeting a friend for lunch felt like training for a marathon to me. Things that used to bring me joy had no effect on me anymore. My self-esteem hit a new low and I didn’t want to exist.

By not telling any family or close friends, I came across as cold and uninterested. Everyone thought I was being lazy for never getting out of bed; but the truth is, I was dying on the inside. I had no desire to let anyone know what was going on. For one, I thought no one would believe me. I’ve always been the one with a smile on his face who tried to cheer others up. I felt disgusted that now I was the one with the problem. In a world where we are so used to spilling every detail of our day on social media, I’ve never been that kind of person. I didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me and figured this was just a “sad phase” and would go away on its own.

When my thoughts began to get darker, I knew I had to speak up. I refused to continue living my life in this never-ending cycle of sadness. I told a few close friends, and instead of being judged like I feared, they embraced me and made an effort to keep me active so I wouldn’t fall back into that state of mind. My family was supportive and got me the help I needed.

The reason I’m sharing this is because it’s so important that people who are feeling depressed speak up and let someone, specifically the ones in your life that mean the most to you, know what you are dealing with. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, you can always chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or by calling 1-800-273-8255. Every person has people in their life who love them regardless of what they may think at the time. It’s important to let them know what’s going on because keeping those feelings to yourself will just make you feel worse. They will eat away at you until your thoughts about yourself become darker and darker. Just telling one person and having them understand what’s going on in your head will feel like a boulder being lifted from your shoulders. Speaking up is the first step in beating the demon that is depression.

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