• Elena Vallejo

A Happy Person with Depression

I am a happy person who battles with depression. That is my truth and that’s okay. Although my mental health is hard to talk about, I have been trying to open up more about my diagnoses. However, that comes with its own set of challenges. Many people don’t believe me and try to convince me that my depression is not real. They make comments like, “Just because you get sad sometimes doesn’t mean you’re depressed” or “Elena, how can you be depressed? You’re happy all the time!” What a lot of people don’t realize is that anyone can struggle with depression, it doesn’t matter what your life is like or who you are.

Sometimes I feel like I have to bury my emotions, smile and pretend that I am happy, but I am slowly learning that this isn’t true. People want to see me for who I am in my entirety, not just the joyous parts.

Everyone has things that they struggle with in their life. My depression is my struggle, but it isn’t all of me. I enjoy life and I have always been an outgoing person. Musicals, photography, writing, and spending time with my friends and family brings me joy.

Depression is just a part of my story. Some may not believe it, and I don’t always like to share it, but it is still a part of who I am. The reality is, I have consistent bouts of overwhelming sadness, but these feelings don’t change that I am a happy person, it shows that even happy people can struggle.

The Girl on Fire of the week has her own extraordinary story of dealing with depression. Brittany Pernell has overcome much in her life and she is willing to be an open book to help others. Her journey through depression started at Iowa State University. She was sexually assaulted her freshman year, isolated and depressed she attempted suicide.

Brittany was dismissed her sophomore year for poor academic performance. Depression and anxiety were now a part of who she was, but it was not the end of her story.The dismal ignited a fire in her and she enrolled in

Brittany Pernell is Girl on Fire of the week.

community college and eventually returned to ISU and graduated. Recently she started therapy which she says has really helped her work through her issues. She has been accepted into a graduate program at Western Illinois University to become a licensed mental health therapist.

We all have challenges. I have a large, loving and supportive family and good friends who are always there to support me. I know that is not true for everyone, but there is always someone who is willing to help if you are willing to reach out and share your story.

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