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The modern progressive movement doesn’t allow fraternity men to suffer from depression. We are the ones who cause depression in others with our exclusionary and cruel tendencies. In the eyes of the general consensus, we are too privileged to experience pain.
That’s why, when one of us does get depressed, the battle can be all the more challenging. David-Luc Graap, a brother of Sigma Nu at Kennesaw State University, penned an honest, heartfelt, tell-all column in The Odyssey revealing the dark place that the disease drove him to, then dropped him off without directions home.
I don’t fit the archetype when I tell you I am a fourth-year college student active in his fraternity, in fact, I’m almost the polar opposite. I am an extremely self-conscious person with a distorted body image disorder, eating disorder, severe depression and anxiety. I’ve shown symptoms for as long as I can remember, but I always feared being labeled depressed and prolonged a diagnosis and seeking treatment. I ignored it for several years, pushing it all to the back of my mind until it eventually clawed its way out of box I locked it in and eventually locked me in that very same box.. It has been a struggle to continue two separate lives: one full of depression and a lack of motivation and another as an excited, zealous and studious collegiate that is relatively known on campus.
His feelings of anxiety and depression and self-consciousness almost killed him. Then, on the brink of self-destruction, he did the one thing he dreaded most. He opened up to his fraternity about his illness. What happened next saved his life.
It was incredibly difficult showing a side of me that is usually reserved for the most intimate and private moments. When I spoke to them, I had no walls or safeguards. As someone that has always been viewed as bold, a voice of reason, helpful, strong and passionate, I was now weak and helpless. But what happened next was unexpected.
Instead of viewing me the way I viewed myself, my brothers showed sympathy. Not the sympathy where they constantly ask if you’re OK or where everyone feels sorry for you, it was the sympathy that was compassionate. They felt my pain with me and wanted to watch me get better. My brothers encouraged me to push through. Some even offered to go with me to my therapy sessions or call to schedule my psychiatry appointments. They listened to me cry. Held me back when I was angry and calmed me down. They welcomed me when I walked into the fraternity house. And that’s what saved me, saved my life. Their continuous support pushed me to get better, not for myself but for them. I hated seeing them hurt because of what I was doing to myself and how deep I was in my mind.
Graap’s article reminds us all that, despite the macho exterior of fraternity culture, your brothers are people who you can always come to. Your chapter is one big, rowdy, caring support group.
Speak up. Look out for one another. And never forget what brotherhood is all about.
Be sure to read Graap’s moving article in its entirety on The Odyssey..
[via The Odyssey]
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