Senior shares struggle with depression

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Amber Antonios

Student mental health advocate Amber Antonios describes her own struggles with depression.

Yness Martinez, Staff Reporter

Some days, especially around the holidays, it takes all her energy just to open her eyes in the morning. Not because she stayed up too late studying for a test or watching Netflix, and not because she just isn’t a morning person. 

I would wake up and not want to open my eyes, it took all of my energy to roll out of bed. I get breakfast, and get dressed,” senior Amber Antonios said. “Then I walk upstairs, and I’m exhausted because I can’t do anything.”

It’s common to experience extreme fatigue with depression. Amber would continue her day, sitting through classes, but she would walk through it like a zombie.

Sometimes Amber will take hot showers and just let the water run over her. She has a few therapeutic exercises she does to help her figure out why she’s feeling this way, and how she can get through it.

“I have a therapist and a psychiatrist so if I’m doing really bad I’ll talk to them,” Amber said. “Then just doing little self care things, sometimes if I’m feeling in a good headspace I’ll go for a drive. I find those really relaxing.”

Amber dealt with her mental illness for a long time, but was not diagnosed until she spoke up about it.

“I’m just gonna put it as it is,” Amber said. “I was having self harm tendencies and I was suicidal.”

Although it took her extensive time to speak up about her issues, Amber was glad when she did. She told her therapist who recommended her to a psychiatrist, who quickly diagnosed her. 

Many teens take anxiety medication, antidepressants and other psychiatric medicines for diagnosed mental illnesses. It’s important to go to a doctor if the need for these medicines are a possibility. 

Amber believes the medicine helped and she could tell from about three weeks after starting to take the medicine she was beginning to get better. 

“I’m not cured of my mental illnesses, but I take medication to keep me stable,” Amber said. “Because otherwise, I’m pretty much a loose cannon, my emotions are all over the place and I can’t regulate them.”

Through her years of struggle, Amber reflects on the journey it took to get to where she is now. She says being scared to talk about mental struggles can make it worse.

“That was me for a very long time, and I can say very honestly now that I regret it,” Amber said. “There are so many times that I look back, if I had said something earlier, so many things wouldn’t have happened.”

Now, Amber is grateful in a way, for everything she’s been through. It’s taught her life lessons for her own advocacy of mental health in her community of friends and family.

“I’m so glad I feel comfortable enough speaking about it openly,” Amber said. “But there are so many people who don’t because it’s so stigmatized.”

The first step is asking for help. Talking to a family member, a teacher, a friend or a counselor – anything counts.

“You just have to do it, it sucks. It really, really sucks,” Amber said. “But if you don’t get help it’s going to suck so much more, for so much longer.”