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Freshman receives help after attempting suicide

Kendahl MacLaren, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Depression increases the risk of suicidal thoughts, and 15 percent of those clinically depressed die by suicide.

Thankfully, freshman Megan Steketee is not part of that 15 percent. However, suicidal thoughts did pass through her mind.

“My mom didn’t think anything of my depression until I attempted suicide,” Steketee said. “I don’t remember when I started to become aware of the symptoms; all I remember is that one day I was feeling worse than my normal, and my mom was out of town, so I attempted suicide by overdosing on many prescription pills. I remember feeling worthless and sad, not really knowing what to do. Nobody understood because neither did I.”

Among girls, the prevalence of 12-month MDE (major depression episode) increased from 13.1 percent (2004) to 17.3 percent (2014); whereas, among boys the prevalence increased from 4.5 percent (2004) to 5.7 percent (2014), according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Steketee, who is one of those statistics, said she now has a positive outlook for others so that they do not add to those numbers.

“Those with anxiety and depression need to talk to someone they trust the most,” Steketee said. “Don’t give up even when you want to. You need to find that one person that keeps you holding on. Find yourself; make sure you are happy.”

While Steketee suggests finding happiness, depression affects everyone differently.

“Depression affected me in a different way than it would affect most,” Steketee said. “I used to be outgoing and love hanging out with friends, but then, I was always sitting in my room with the lights off, over-thinking everything. I didn’t like to be with anyone. ”

Signs of depressions in adolescents are poor self-esteem, poor performance in school, changing in eating and sleeping habits, indecision, and lack of enthusiasm, according to Mental Health America.

Steketee said she was seeing some of these symptoms in herself as well.

“My grades were not as great as they used to be; it was like my brain was giving up,” Steketee said. “I stopped doing all the things I loved doing. I lost weight and lost connections with my friends and family. It was the most horrific experience because nobody understood.”

Different therapies, such as psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy, can be used to treat depression, but Steketee searched for outlets to ease her pain.

“I dealt with (my depression) by finding new passions, such as long-boarding, because they helped free some of the pain,” Steketee said. “I also got a job. I really love working, and it helps me believe I have a purpose for some reason. I also started writing poems and drawing; that helped a lot with getting rid of the pain.”

Medicine, in Steketee’s case, was also available to aid her in feeling better.

“I talked to a doctor, got the right kind of help,” Steketee said. “I started to slowly interact with more people. My anti-depressants helped a ton, but they weren’t the reason my depression went away. ”

Additionally, a close friend was the best medication, Steketee said.

“My best friend Madison Christiansen was the entire reason I was able to overcome it. She has helped me the most out of anyone,” Steketee said. “She let me talk to her, she made me have a new perspective on things, she told me I could do it. She made me feel much more worth it than I thought I was.”

Steketee said Christiansen is a perfect example of what one should do to support one’s family and friends with depression.

“If you have family or friends with anxiety or depression, always be there for them,” Steketee said. “Let them know that you are there for them and that they can trust you. Help them understand what they are going through, help them see the light at the end of the tunnel. Listen to them, let them talk, and comfort them if they need it. Everybody needs somebody to believe in them.”

Steketee reminds people to stay strong because they are not alone.

“You will get through this, no matter how hard things get,” she said. “Life won’t always be on your side, but you need to smile, laugh and love. It will be hard, but you’re strong enough, no matter who you are, no matter what you are going through.”

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Freshman receives help after attempting suicide