Gone but Never Forgotten
Spring is trying to show its face, fighting winter to gain a sturdy foothold. Many individuals struggle through the winter, unable to fully accept that spring will be around the corner. People who suffer alone know a path that many of us who are left behind simply cannot understand. This is important to remember when it concerns your fellow students. We see our classmates in the halls and around campus. In winter, it can be hard to maintain friendships, hard to reach out and ask for company to come over, hard to find the motivation to knock on the door of someone who isn’t completely familiar to us. Add in the drudgery of school and the changing schedules of students who have families, and it can really be a recipe for a breakdown.
In light of all this, I encourage teachers and students alike to make sure their peers and community members are not feeling like they are struggling alone. We all have hectic schedules, but that shouldn’t stop us from putting down the laptop, or cellphone, turning off the TV, and actually going over to your friends’ house. Don’t be shy and don’t be overbearing, but at the very least make a concerted effort. Study together, exercise together, heck, plan a spring break trip together to just relax and kick those winter blues! Imagine the difference that could mean, not only for those suffering from depression or seasonal depression, but for our kids and also our elders!
This all sounds a bit cliché, I know. But in all honesty it was different when there wasn’t so much technology. I know I am young to be saying that, but what I miss the most is family reunions. Aunts and uncles flying in to one destination, even during the holidays and spring break. I feel most vulnerable when I don’t get time with my extended family and friends that have become like family. It’s not a joyful feeling just trying to make it to the next break while school is in session. The effects of winter can really wear on a person. This may feel almost inescapable as these winter months fade into spring and spring turns into summer. An extended break is just what students are looking for. So when it is sunny one day and snowy the next, remember you’re not alone and the sun will shine again. Each and every day can be a new attempt to change one’s perspective.
In conclusion, I offer comfort to those families who are coping with the loss of someone who felt like they couldn’t resolve their circumstances. The parents, children, siblings, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and friends that chose this winter to be their last. I offer hope and love to the communities that have sustained consecutive losses because of depression. Depression and silence walk hand in hand, the only remedy being human connection. While personality disorders and other mental illnesses are often taboo topics of discussion, it is a fundamental necessity that we try to understand that there is a basic human need for communication and connection. No man is an island.
Author’s note: This posting is dedicated to Bob Boyer, my beloved brother-in-law. We miss your witty humor and intelligent debates. And we miss you at every powwow the family attends.
Celina is a Blackfeet and Little Shell Chippewa student at Salish Kootenai College. She is also a mother of twins.