Some think that after you graduate your undergrad university, you forget all about your Greek life affiliation. I have to admit that I have heard folks talking about how they WERE in a certain fraternity or sorority, however I sill consider myself an active alumni (even if I still haven't paid my alum dues, whoops!). Some of the strongest supporters of my journey down the road of facing Depression and Anxiety have been my sisters. Countless numbers of emails, texts, and letters have been sent by my Delta Gamma sisters from my chapter, ordering bracelets and offering encouragement. I have also found support from the entire Panhellenic community as a whole.
I think this is immensely important because of one vital fact: Depression can affect your life regardless of the Greek letters you wear on your chest.
As I have mentioned before, I served as President for my chapter in Arizona and it was the best/worst time in my life. My Depression was definitely at its high point regardless of the fact that I was surrounded by 274 of my closest friends. I felt alienated and shipwrecked on an island that only I could see. No one could help because no one knew. No one knew because I suppressed everything to the best of my ability. The only way to escape and cry my eyes out when it became too much to handle was get in my car and drive to a secluded road in Tucson overlooking the city at night. It was at least half an hour to get there, but the time gave me privacy to work through everything I was experiencing. Little did I realize, multiple other Presidents of different sororities, serving at the same time as me, felt the exact same things. Instead of putting it all out on the table and guiding each other through the rough patches, we all hid behind the masks we were granted when accepting the Presidency. We all had such large responsibilities that we forgot to take care of ourselves in the process.
Some of my lovely officers and I! My grand little (right) is currently President of DG at Arizona.
Here is my plea, an offer really, to which I am extending to all Panhellenic and other Greek sororities and fraternities around the U.S.: Speak up about your Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, or any other Mental Illness. It doesn't matter if you are the President of the organization or the girl who never shows up to chapter, your voice is important. Speaking up and being upfront will allow others in this community, who are also suffering, to share their experiences as well.
We are all a family, regardless of the letters on our chests.
Family helps one another out and is there throughout all of the trials that one another face. I remember when Shelby and I lost our dear friend, David, it was the middle of our first recruitment week ever as Sophomores, and the President came and comforted us for hours. Sisters took turns offering us works of solace and making sure that we were okay, completely forgetting about the event going on downstairs. This is a kindness that I had never experienced from a group of women before, and I was so touched by everyone's concern for us. I never considered myself a "sorority girl" and wasn't even sure if I wanted to rush, but this was the moment that I realized that I was and wanted to be. I AM a sorority woman who is apart of a Delta Gamma family and that will continue to bless me for the rest of my life. This network, this family will watch over me and guide me along the path of my life forever.
There sure are a lot of opinions on what a Greek man or woman is or acts like. Many of them are negative, based off of ignorance or the misdoings of one individual. However, I believe that one bad egg doesn't define the entire dozen. We are an intelligent, kind, genuine, thoughtful community and I have had this proven to me many times over during my undergrad years. I am proud to stand with this community and am not afraid to say that I have Depression and Anxiety. I hope that this honesty and my words will be able to help other sorority women and fraternity men who have gone through the same internal battles as myself.
Remember how amazing you are and how needed you are in this world. Even if you don't feel it at the moment, you are. Don't allow Depression to make you forget that important fact. You have a family of people who's lives would never be the same without you in it. Talk to a sister and allow them to shoulder some of your pain for you. I promise that if you open up, you will get a positive and helpful response.
I only wish it hadn't taken me so long to realize what an amazing support system I was missing out on by suppressing my feelings.
Keep Your Heads Up My Loves. Here is a picture of me on the day that I became a New Member of Delta Gamma. It will stick with me forever. <3