Senior struggles with depression, seeks support from family, friends

Anna Ludvigsen, Staff Writer

The mental effects of depression can have a major impact on one’s life, causing feelings of anxiety, restlessness, hopelessness and constant sadness. 

For Kaitlin Ifkovits ’20, depression takes a huge toll on her everyday life, where she experiences things like mood swings, which can cause drastic changes in her mood from day the day or from week to week.

“I can be having a good week and then next week is just really bad,” Ifkovits said. “My mood can even change from one minute to the next, where I’ll be really happy and in a good mood one moment, but then within a matter of seconds, I’ll put myself in a really bad mood, causing me to feel really sad.”

According to Kristen Ifkovits, as Kaitlins mother, she believes that mental health is the most important element in a person’s life, and she makes it a priority in their household.

“I believe Kaitlin lacks confidence in herself and compares herself to others who she may believe are better or more confident than herself,” Kristen Ifkovits said.

Kelsie Francis ’20 said she is close friends with Kaitlin Ifkovits and she can notice when Kaitlin is upset, but she often can’t seem to describe why. 

“She always seems to be very bubbly when she is not experiencing symptoms of depression,” Francis said. “I worry about her when she experiences really bad depression and doesn’t want to talk with me about it.”

Kaitlin Ifkovits said that her friends who don’t have depression seem to have an easier time being able to go out, have fun, and get themselves out of bed in the morning.

“Those are just things I have to force myself to do, especially when I’m having a really bad week or really bad day,” Kaitlin Ifkovits said. “I often have to force myself to get out of bed because I don’t want to start my day and I would much rather just be sad.”

According to Kristen Ifkovits, she tries to help Kaitlin with her depression by having discussions about her issues and trying to resolve whatever it is that’s bothering her.

“I ask her frequently if anything is bothering her and if I feel like she isn’t being honest because I can tell something’s wrong. I will bug her until she tells me what it is that’s bothering her,” Kristen Ifkovits said.

Kaitlin Ifkovits said she tries to have a “fun high school experience”, but it’s hard to do when everything seems to make her feel depressed and she has a constant feeling of something dragging her down. 

“There are a lot of negative impacts of depression,” Kaitlin Ifkovits said. “I’m often very irritable and feel like no matter where I go, I am being judged by everyone. One person can simply look at me and I assume they don’t like me. The biggest negative effect is I’m sad all the time, which is just not very fun.”

According to Kaitlin Ifkovits, she compares depression to drowning, where she feels as though something heavy sits on her shoulders, increasingly weighing her down.

“Once you start thinking about something upsetting, just that thought replays over and over in your brain, causing you to overthink about it, become sad, and then the process repeats itself again,” Ifkovits said.

According to Francis, she often tries to help Kaitlin with her depression by talking to her about what is bothering her or distracting her from the uncomfortable feelings she is encountering.

“I feel that paying attention to mental health is extremely important for students because it can affect their grades and their overall wellbeing,” Francis said. “It’s important to balance school and health so that we can keep our mindsets as healthy as possible.”

Kaitlin Ifkovits said that she sometimes sees a therapist that she really loves, and the therapist helps to improve her symptoms of depression by giving her advice and someone to talk to who understands how she is feeling.

“It’s harder to talk to somebody that you love, like a family member or friend, because they try to be sympathetic, but they don’t try to understand it,” Kaitlin Ifkovits said. “Whereas when you talk to a professional, they have specific strategies that can help you. They give you assignments that can improve your day, like writing down the specific things that make you upset.”

According to Kristen Ifkovits, she encourages other students with mental disorders to talk to their parents, since they are their first line of communication.

“Your parents will be able to guide you in the right direction, whether it means speaking to your guidance counselor in school, your regular dDoctor or going to see a therapist,” Kristen Ifkovits said.

According to Kaitlin Ifkovits, she thinks of depression as a slippery slope, where it’s hard for her to get off once she gets on. Most of the time she doesn’t want to get off because she doesn’t have the energy to want to make herself feel better.

“I would encourage any other person to just talk to somebody about it because you may think that you’re alone and that no one cares about your problems, but in reality, people do and they want to see you get better,” Ifkovits said.