Happy-go-lucky freshman Kaitlyn Mulz can make anyone easily smile with a quirky joke. The media major at Mercy College and hopeful actress goes about her day like everyone else, one day at a time. Yet, her exterior image doesn’t show the daunting battle Mulz fights every day with depression. Since she was 14 years old, she has been fighting depression, a genetic trait that runs in her family.
“My mom got a new job, and I wouldn’t see her every day. Since both of my parents worked and my brother was always out, I was home alone. That’s when I began to notice the symptoms.”The battle of dealing with depression isn’t the easiest of tasks. Daily tasks become difficult, and those who are suffering from depression don’t necessarily show clear symptoms of depression.
“People think that because I’m not sad or crying all the time that I’m not depressed. That’s not true.”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is a common but serious mental illness typically marked by sad or anxious feelings. Most college students occasionally feel sad or anxious, but these emotions usually pass quickly within a couple of days. Untreated depression lasts for a long time and interferes with day to day activities. There are different types of depression and all of them can affect the individual differently.
When Mulz moved away from home to start her freshman year, she began to notice the symptoms returning. She wasn’t around her family, and adjusting to the dorm life at Mercy was a bit challenging for her. Finding no other way to escape the feeling of depression, self-harming herself seemed to be the only option to release the pain.
“I’ve always thought about it, but I never thought I would actually do it. When you’re depressed, you’re either having a good day or a bad day. If it’s a bad day, then anything can happen.”
Mulz isn’t the only college student who has had thoughts of self-harming herself. According to the Pediatrics Journal, a survey was taken of 2,875 students from two unnamed universities in the Northeastern U.S. It was found that 75 percent of those students reported self-harming themselves more than once. More than one in three of those students admitted to having a self-harm history no one else knew about.
“I wasn’t sure if I was doing it because I was sad or that the media images I have seen about self-harming would help me release the pain,” she remembers.
Once the number of scars grew, Mulz became self-conscious of them and started to realize that releasing the pain by self-harming herself wasn’t the best way to deal with her depression.
“I knew that it was never a good idea in the first place. I even used to joke about it when I was younger because I never understood the damage of it,” she said.
Mulz is finally taking a stand against her depression by opening up to her parents, telling them about her self-inflicted wounds and the depressing thoughts that led to her own self-harm.
“It wasn’t easy, but I know I can talk to my family about anything. They are all very supportive.”
Instead of looking back on the past, Mulz is now looking at her future. She plans on continuing her dreams of becoming an actress, a dream she has had ever since she was a little girl.
“Being depressed, you’re very unhappy with yourself. That’s why I want to be an actress, so I can be someone else for a little while and make people happy in the process.”
The aspiring actress hopes to inspire others, just as her favorite actors and actresses have inspired her to keep going, despite her depression.
“Nick Lang, one of my favorite actors from StarKid productions, once said ‘We’re just a group of fans who just put on a show, and one day you can be up here too’. That was when I realized I need to keep following my dream.”
Mulz also wants to inspire others who are also suffering from depression and may feel that they aren’t good enough to follow their dreams.
“Talking is the best kind of medicine. Talk to your family or someone you can trust, because they will never judge you.”