Story by Danny Fritts - Pictures by Michelle Rojano
everything felt fine, until suddenly being engulfed with fear and panic as your body began to slowly fade. Your mind is full of clarity, but your body insists it is in danger. You try telling yourself everything is fine, but you convince yourself that everything around you is burning as you’re up in flames. Soon enough, you find yourself in a hospital bed, being told what you’re going through is depression and anxiety.
Meet Riley Ramsey. Ramsey is a junior at the University of Oklahoma and takes online courses in order to work two different jobs to support herself. This is not new to her since she has been working both jobs since her senior year of high school. She lost both her parents and two younger brothers in a horrific car accident just days before class started at Duncan High School. As resilient as she is, she said keeping everything bottled in for so long only made things worse.
“I didn’t want to live,” she said. “No family, no life, no real goals. Why go on, I thought?”
As unique as Ramsey’s case is, she is not alone. According to Mental Health America, 1-out-of-5 young adults between the ages of 17 and 26 are suffering from some type of depression or anxiety. This is a rate that can be caused by many different experiences in life or fearing the future.
Whenever life would throw her a curve ball, she did not know how to handle it at times. She convinced herself that everything was all right and those feelings would eventually pass. There were times she thought it was her fault her family was in an accident; like if she were with them, maybe things would have happened differently.
After her hospital visit, she told herself she needed professional help. Keeping everything bottled up for so many years put her in a dark place, a place she never wants to return.
Putting her mental health as a top priority was the first step. She was so consumed with trying to make everything perfect, she forgot about the most important thing: herself. Ramsey also said she is learning how to truly love herself.
“The past couple months have changed my perspective on life,” she said. “I am slowly realizing my self-worth and that help is always a phone call away. I am not alone.”
If you or someone you know is going through any hardship in life or just feel stuck, Rose State offers free counseling to all students and faculty. You can also call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, which is always available.