I’m not having a great a day. The fact is, I haven’t been having a great year.

I’ve felt helpless and alone, trapped in a hole, unable to dig myself out. I feel isolated and sometimes start to believe everyone is out to get me, that I’m silently being judged.

This is how I’ve felt for about two years now, struggling with depression, and it only seemed to be getting worse. Even more so, as my mother, my only family aside from my younger brother, struggles with her own health. My anxiety and erratic sleep patterns make me unable to focus in class and practically incapable of getting out of bed in the morning. In fact, sleep isn’t an escape; it’s just another obstacle, since I can’t actually get there until the sun’s risen.

And then there’s my self-harming, which has been ongoing the past three months.

I now know that cutting or hurting myself in any way is never the answer to cope with feelings of stress. But at the point in my life where I was unable to seek out help for myself, it seemed like a suitable replacement. It lasted a while, longer once I began to talk about it and “just seeking attention” was what my best friend called it. If I wanted attention, I’d dye my hair green, not purposely hurt myself.

Although I’ve quit the self-harm, I’m really tired of feeling down in this way. I’m exhausted of feeling drained, emotionally and especially physically.

And I’m finally ready to do something about it.

I’ve started my way to recovery. I reached out to a trustworthy person, got in touch with the school’s personal counselling program and set out to meet with someone every few weeks in order to talk it all out, rather than hold it all in.

It’s at times like these that it is important to remember that you are not alone. This is the most depressing time of the year for students.

I’m no exception.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this month, it’s that health should always come first. And until that is in order, not much else will get done.

The first step to getting better is speaking up.