AaronI have always loved language, and I wholeheartedly believe in the power of adjectives. They capture emotion like nothing else. Even so, though, few words show just how crippling depression really is. To be sure, “difficult” is a gross understatement.

I’m a senior in high school, and I have big plans. College, work, independence—the typical goals, I suppose, of an American teenager. People tell me that I’m going places, that my generation is destined to do amazing things. To many, that’s encouragement. To me, that’s pressure.

There are mornings when I wake up and wonder why I did. There are days when the word “happiness” wouldn’t dare slip off my tongue. There are nights when I’m sleepless, troubled—and perhaps my thoughts wander where they shouldn’t.

For years, my life felt lifeless—an up-and-coming man in a down-and-crashing world. I am not the type who enjoys reaching out for help. Of course, many of us aren’t. Vulnerability is by no means a pleasant feeling to have. What could anybody possibly do to help?

Well, a lot actually.

On my road to recovery—and, believe me, it’s been long—I’ve come to realize how critical it is to express emotion, to “let it out”—to talk. Others can only offer aid if they understand what’s wrong in the first place. One need not advertise themselves to the world if that is not what they wish to do, though. Even one confidant, one person, one friend can help.

I’ve certainly taken steps in the right direction. Fewer are my restless nights, and less often are my hopeless mornings. In truth, we are vulnerable, and that’s okay. When we unite and support, we are tough—togetherness is stronger than any pill could ever be!

So, why not try it? Reach out to someone. It might be quite surprising.

Aaron is a high school senior and a volunteer speaker in our Teen Depression Program.