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The Countercurrent We Call Depression – The Daily Evergreen


When you are against a current in the ocean, when you try to swim directly against it, it will pull you deeper. When you swim sideways and parallel to the current, you can escape it.

Residential Education Director Tawn Christians (xi / xir) shared xir’s story about xir’s battle with depression.

Christians have suffered from depression throughout their lives. It wasn’t something family and friends were talking about. Until xi went to the xir undergraduate program at the University of Wisconsin, Christians did not seek advice or help.

“I survived to this point in my life by sheer force of will, which was really unhealthy,” Christians said.

Xi contacted a counselor while attending college when he realized things were not improving; xi spent most of her time sleeping and crying in her dormitory and struggled to make new friends. Christians said it was not a great place for Xir.

Being a major in psychology, the topic of mental health and depression was more normalized. Xi felt more comfortable speaking with someone after experiencing the opening of this program.

“I ended up taking medication for depression when I saw this counselor. It took me six years to find one that actually worked for me, ”Christians said. “Some made me feel worse, others sent me to the hospital for reactions, others made me numb.”

Xi struggled to find someone who would prescribe the right medicine and someone who would be helpful in that area. It took Christians all the way to college to find the medicine that worked to xir.

“By seeing my counselor during my undergraduate program, they taught me coping mechanisms to help combat my depression,” Christians said.

If xi gives in to xir’s depression and lets xir break down, xi finds a way to deal with it. Some days it might be watching a heartwarming TV show, listening to music, or reaching out to friends, Christians said.

When xi does this, Christians are able to swim sideways with the current and fight through xir riptide.

After xir undergraduate program, Christians enrolled in Indiana State University. It was culture shock, even though it was six hours from our home, Christians said.

“I came from a place in my undergrad where it was very tolerant and open and I had a lot of good friends that I could meet all the time,” xi said. “I felt isolated, and it wasn’t as forgiving and encouraging. My partner at the time was long distance so it was difficult. I didn’t have the same support system in Indiana.

Xi was on medication at the time and couldn’t find doctors in Indiana who would prescribe them to xir. Xi began to undergo drug withdrawal and ended up in hospital for a suicide attempt, Christians said.

“I was taken off this medication that I needed. I was in training for residential living and I was doing a training called Campus Connect, which we offer here at WSU, ”Christians said. “In this training, they taught us how to help someone who is having thoughts of suicide. One of the things they taught us was to ask the question “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” “

The training allowed them to practice saying this, and Xi was sitting in a room with 200 hundred people asking, Are you planning to kill yourself?Xi said.

“I was sitting with all these people asking that question when I realized, ‘yeah, yeah, I was going to kill myself,’ Christians said.

Xi realized that xi was in the wrong place and ran out of the room. The Christian supervisor followed xir and asked if xi was okay. Xi knew that if he didn’t seek help now and go to the hospital right away, Christians wouldn’t be alive the next day.

“It really hit me to face these feelings. I went to the hospital that day and stayed there for 13 days, ”Christians said. “It was really tough, but it was one of those things that I’m both proud of and really don’t like.”

Christians are really proud of themselves for making this decision and asking for this help, Xi said.

“I survived,” the Christians said. “That’s what’s really important.”

Since 2017 xi has tried to share xir’s story with as many people as possible. Christians know what it’s like to look in that hole and think about jumping in and really jumping in. Xi knows what it’s like to reach out and ask for help when you jump in, the Christians said.

“Since then it’s been easier, but it’s not perfect,” said xi.

The Christians got approval for an emotional support animal, which xi needed as xi felt isolated in Indiana, the Christians said.

“I still have this dog; his name is Apollo, ”said xi. “He played an important role in giving me a reason to continue. “

Another reason Christians continue is frustration. Some people use rainbows and butterflies and all the good things to get on with their lives, but xi has found that spite works best for xir, Christians said.

“I know that someday I will wake up and some of the people that I politically disagree with will not be alive,” the Christians said. “I can’t let Mitch McConnell outlive me.”

These people don’t like who is xi. They don’t support the LGBTQ community, and if they don’t like xir, why would xi love them, Christians said.

“I am here because I love my family. I love my husband and my dog, but also because I really have to outlive so many people, ”Christians said.

As the director of rehab, part of xir’s job is to be there when RAs are working with people who are having suicidal thoughts and seizures, xi said.

“I’m here to help them find the support they need, whether or not they feel comfortable asking for help,” Christians said. “I’m a survivor, let them know.”

Xi has a tattoo on xir’s arm that says “I’m gonna love a; ain”.

“Grammatically, the semicolon replaces the period. You could have finished the sentence, but you didn’t, ”the Christians said. “You could have ended your story, but you didn’t.”

Xi would never have changed what he faced in his life.

“For so many people, depression is part of their identity. Your life could be good and you could still face this battle, ”the Christians said. “As much as it sucks, it’s part of me, and I’ve spent so much of my life in pain, but I have so much empathy for people, and they can come and talk to me about how they feel.

The only thing Christians would change in their past would be to say to their young selves, “Hey, you have depression.

“I didn’t know it was something I had. I just thought there was something wrong with me, ”Christians said. “I have an illness, I’m not a bad person and I haven’t done bad things. My body just needs more support.

If xi had asked someone to tell xir that when xi was younger Christians would have done so. But xi would not go back and suffer completely from depression, the Christians said.

“It’s good to ask for help, and it is extremely important to ask for help. You should never feel like a burden because you have to ask for help, ”the Christians said. “You deserve help. You deserve people to take care of you.

Depression does not discriminate. Someone could be the happiest person on Earth and suffer from depression, anxiety or any other mental illness, Xi said.

“You wouldn’t want to talk to a person with diabetes and tell them that they don’t need insulin,” the Christians said. “It’s exactly the same with mental health. It’s good to get the mental help and treatment that you need.

Therapy is a great resource, but it doesn’t always work for everyone. Try it, but if it doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean there are no other options and there is no hope, Xi said.