Facing it together


Photo by Rebecca Wright

Sophomores [left to right] Lesley Ebeyer, Riley Richter and Sarah Rusaw laugh during a game of Uno at lunch. Ebeyer, Richter and Rusaw all have either depression, anxiety or both. One way they try and deal with the tendencies of their illnesses is by playing a modified game of Uno in which players must pick up cards if they say “kill myself” or “kill yourself”.

Rebecca Wright, Reporter

“It feels like I’m alone even though I know I’m not,” sophomore Riley Richter said.

Richter describes some of her symptoms as not being able to breathe, a hypersensitivity to sound, shaking and a general feeling of loneliness.

Richter has anxiety and depression. Some 25 percent of students report having anxiety and 11.2 percent report having major depression.

Like Richter, some of our school’s Cardinals suffer the unseen pains of mental illness on a daily basis. Along with sophomores Leslie Ebeyer, Riley Richter and Sarah Rusaw choose to face these struggles together.

Sarah Rusaw is fearful of separating herself from the pack  or going off independently.

“I’m really bad about when I’m hungry,” Rusaw said. “I won’t say anything if no one else is hungry, and everyone is like ‘Sarah you have to eat.’ No one else is hungry so I’m not going to eat. It’s fine.”

Anxiety makes things like asking for help or raising her hand in class extremely hard for her.

People who suffer from mental illnesses should recognize that there are many other people who are struggling with the very same things, people who are willing to help, according to Rusaw.

“They’re not the only ones who have it. It’s a common thing,” Rusaw said. “It doesn’t make you less of a person because you have it.”

The benefits of being in a group of other like-minded individuals are greatly appreciated by Rusaw She appreciates having other people who can read her moods and who understand how to help.

“My friends are pretty good at helping calm me down like if it’s really bad or if I’m having a panic attack,” Rusaw said.

Lesley Ebeyer’s internal struggle is very different from Rusaw’s. Ebeyer has depression.

“It’s kinda like a Mario Kart race that is multiplayer and you think you’re doing fine, in the end you’re actually looking at the wrong screen and you’re actually hitting a wall,” Ebeyer said.

Ebeyer has depression. In an attempt to calm down, when she has a hard day, she’ll pick up a coloring book. Ebeyer appreciates having her friends’ support though. She likes the united front and the overall goal of continuing on.

“It sounds stupid, but we’re all in this together, so it’s kind of comforting,” Ebeyer said. “You guys just kinda get in a circle like, ‘Guys we are all in a crappy state right now but at least we are in this together.’ We’re facing it together.”

Ebeyer hopes that many people suffering with depression can remain strong and don’t succumb to their inner demons.

“Stay strong, sometimes we don’t know it, but we’re going to have to think of others who are close to you and think of what they would think of if you were to kill yerself,” Ebeyer said.

Ebeyer hopes that people who don’t have depression, will accept that they no nothing about it, and stop trying to cure them with positivity.

“People who treat it as if it was like nothing other people who don’t have it think that they know everything, even though it’s not them,” Ebeyer said. “They are not the ones experiencing it, ‘can we just be positive?’ it’s kind of hard. Don’t tell me to be positive if it’s not happening at the moment with depression.”

In an effort to curb self destructive tendencies and clean up their language, the trio have implemented a new rule to their lunch time Uno game. Should anyplayer swear, they have to draw two cards, should anyone say ‘kill myself’ they have to draw four and if a player went far enough to say ‘kill yourself’ they are kicked out of the game.

Richter has had a few panic attacks this year. She has taken advantage of school policies to help in this situation.

“It’s a normal thing even if it doesn’t feel like it,” Richter said.