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Words Have Meaning

By , Highland Village, TX

As someone that has dealt with depression and anxiety, it enrages me when someone says they're depressed from a fight with their parents or have anxiety over a project. Obviously I wouldn't know if they truly had either of those things, but when they don't talk about how they wake up four, five, or even six times a night or how they spend half of their shower lying down crying, it's hard to believe. It bothers me when people underestimate the power of depression and anxiety, especially the two paired together, and make them weaker than they truly are because they use it in conversation too casually. Depression and anxiety are dark places to be trapped. As children, we are taught not to throw around words that we don't know the meaning of. This is the exact same case. Does anyone know what hard, cold depression feels like? It feels like a fight against yourself and neither side of you wins. The dark side is never satisfied and keeps attacking, and the pure side gets weaker every day. Depression is AIDS for the soul. And, anyone with a clue about how anxiety feels please speak up. Anxiety isn't getting nervous when you can't find a paper in class. Anxiety is crying until you throw up and coming to school with black rings under your eye sockets because your body wouldn't let you sleep. However, I know those with mental illness are not the only ones suffering.

A good friend of mine has a cousin with severe Down's syndrome. She told me about how much it hurts her family when they take her cousin out and hear someone talking about a “retarded” game or movie or rule or something. I understand that many people with such diseases may not even understand what's being said, but to the ones that love them, these words are fuel to the flame. This boy did not wake up and decide having this physician disease would be fun; he was born with the decision made for him.

This is not a call for political correctness. This is a call to respect others and the struggles they deal with. Depression, anxiety, literal retardness, anorexia, bulimia, and other numerous physical and mental diseases are not light-hearted topics. For people struggling with or that have previously struggled with such diseases, they are sensitive subjects that bring up dark memories. No one asks to be plagued with any of these, and I understand that no one asks for any of their own hardships, but I am asking for everyone to open their eyes and mind to their surroundings before carelessly throwing around such phrases. Words are not just tools we use in our speech, but also tools that shape others around us, whether to build someone up or down.

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