I was affected by the news of a University of Pennsylvania student who committed suicide. Not because I knew this student, but because I felt her pain.
Her name was Madison Holleran – a 19-year-old girl with a bright future ahead of her, yet darkness casted over that light. You could never tell by the zealous smile she showed in every picture. From browsing her social media photos I could describe her in one word, “Cheerful.”
From the outside looking in, no one could see her pain. Not many could understand why Madison ended her life – she was a track star with friends, family, and coaches who supported and loved her. However, those who fight the battle of depression have a better understanding.
Again, I didn’t know Madison. What has brought us together is that I could understand the dark thoughts that crossed her mind before she chose to end her life. I know because I have been there. In fact, I still go there.
Though our battles weren’t the same- I know the darkness Madison crossed and the battles she faced. I know Depression. I know what it feels like to wake up everyday wanting a way out. Madison wanted a way out and she took that first way.
She wasn’t weak because she decided to end her life. I believe she was a strong woman who fought every day. It is evident with the help that she sought. She sunk too far into depression, seeing no light at the end of the tunnel.
Depression for me isn’t 365 days out of the year. It comes and goes. When it comes I have no say when it will leave. Like a sweeping gust of wind, it takes over my mind.
Depression tells me I am worthless. It takes away my motivation and my drive. My mind revolves around the question, “Why am I here?” Being a Christian I always have the voice of God on my side, but depression mutes His voice.
For me, depression is a disease that takes away my life. I can’t function because all I hear is “You aren’t good enough.” Everyone’s depression is different, so I can’t say what Madison’s depression whispered to her. I can say, it took her life long before she took it.
I am writing this today because of Madison. She has impacted so many to keep fighting. She has inspired me to help others fight. Depression isn’t a light problem, but a weight that sits heavy on the hearts of many.
I am writing this to let everyone know that I have seen the light at the end depression and that is why I fight when I enter those dark moments. There is a fight in everyone and I believe the fight is worth it. As corny as this may sound, after every rainstorm there is a bright clear sky. Though some storms last longer than others, there will always be clearer skies.
I have seen my life at the lowest, but I have also seen my life at the height. When I am knocked down on the floor, I look up and remember the height. I remember the reason I am fighting.
I know Depression makes you believe you have nothing left to live for, but deep down there is always that one thing.Whether it’s your family, your friends, or your significant other.
My one thing is God. My faith is what keeps me fighting,one thing that depression can’t take away from me. It can’t touch my God – my God who is so much bigger than any battle I face. In those weak moments, I just open my Bible to find “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”- Philippians 4:13.
When the question “Why am I here?” consumes your mind, remind yourself of this; you are here because there are plans for your future, you are here because you have the mission of saving others who have that same question, and you are here because you are worthy of being here.
In memory of Madison Holleran who has inspired me along with so many.