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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Battling the dark

Battling+the+dark

By Audrey Werth/tr news editor

Student describes life with depression

George Lozano was hospitalized and prescribed medication for depression at 12 years old. His longtime struggle with depression has led him recently to discover creative outlets to utilize his emotions.

NE student George Lozano hopes to help other students dealing with depression. Photo by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian
NE student George Lozano hopes to help other students dealing with depression.
Photo by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

“Back then, I wanted to force life to bring me happiness, but, no, it has to happen in its own time,” said Lozano, a NE student.

Though depression can feel very isolating, Lozano is not alone in feeling as he did.

According to a 2011 survey by the National Institute of Mental Health, 30 percent of college students reported feeling so depressed they had trouble functioning.

“Depression doesn’t discriminate across socioeconomic standing, race or ethnicity,” said NE counselor Masika Smith. “It is something that can affect anyone at any time.”

When he was younger, Lozano was very shy, and he got picked on a lot because he was so quiet. He also liked to read books about military history searching for a way to justify war.

“My 12-year-old mind couldn’t take all of that graphic content that the world wars had presented to us,” he said.

Lozano began reading these books when he was 10, but just before he was hospitalized, he started learning about the Holocaust and World War II in school.

“I remember a Nazi SS soldier telling a child to open his mouth, and so the child did, and the soldier fired into his mouth — left him there in front of his whole family,” Lozano said.

This story really haunted Lozano.

“It isn’t logical, but I thought, ‘This could have been me. This could happen tomorrow or next week,’” he said.

Despite these feelings, he continued reading and pushing his limit, looking for an answer to explain why people do things like this, but he never found one that satisfied him.

“I depressed myself,” he said.

In the sixth grade, Lozano really wanted to talk to other people, but in his mind, he thought he would only make a fool of himself if he did.

“I didn’t feel I had the power to speak up or talk with anyone,” Lozano said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to start talking. Part of me wanted to. Part of me said, ‘No, don’t do it. You’re going to embarrass yourself. People are going to laugh at you.’”

This internal struggle only served to create more anxiety for Lozano.

“I thought life was not worth living if I could not speak with other people,” he said.

While on medication, Lozano had to sleep a lot. He never had the kind of energy that he does now.

“Many of the months that I was on medicine, I was unable to enjoy life,” he said. “Not that I really could enjoy life. Unfortunately, I never really did until now.”

Being hospitalized only made him feel worse.

“I felt ashamed,” he said. “I felt that the way I was feeling was not normal. I thought I had done something wrong.”

Lozano’s family struggled with him through his depression trying to understand and be there for him.

“I am the one who talks with him more,” George’s mother Telna Lozano said. “I think the best way to help him is just to listen and hear what he is thinking and feeling.”

She said that practicing their faith has also helped them.

“It gives me patience, and it helps me to be there for him and say some helpful words,” she said.

When Lozano was bullied, some days he just didn’t want to go to school, which was hard for his parents to understand because he loved to learn.

“We didn’t know if it was right to force him or to understand that he did not feel well and needed a break,” she said.

Now, Lozano and his family have a stronger framework in place to help him through his tougher days. He makes a habit of writing down his thoughts and exercises regularly.

“He’s doing a lot better now,” she said. “I’m so happy for him because he can reach his goals now as he continues to get better and better.”

Since coming to TCC, Lozano has found motivation in the people around him.

“Seeing everyone who walks here, on campus or in any public place, I see people who are happy, who keep going — who have kept going to live their lives, and I think that I should stand up and do something,” he said.

Lozano said it was a huge step for him coming off his medicine several months ago. He had been living life before like a zombie, he said.

“But, it was also while on the medication that I started feeling out the emotions and anxiety that I had through writing,” Lozano said. “I started writing short stories and poems. I started liking it.”

Lozano has started posting his creative work online to share it with other people.

“I had the feeling that maybe my blog readers have depression or anxiety,” he said. “Every time I write, every time I publish, I feel relieved. I feel proud of myself.”

One of the struggles Lozano dealt with regularly from a young age was a strong feeling he would never get married.

“‘George, no one’s out there for you,’ I would think these things in my head,” he said. “I was frightening myself and making myself feel down, and I think that’s another reason why I fell into depression. I didn’t think I was good enough for anyone in this world.”

He said these types of thoughts still occur regularly, but he has found ways of reassuring himself.

“I gave myself my own mission to help others,” he said. “That’s what keeps me going.”

Recently, Lozano had the opportunity to work with a nonprofit organization as a social media manager. The organization works to empower women and girls in North Africa and the Middle East.

“I thought instead of reading about wars, I could actually start helping,” he said. “I was going to be there to do what I could.”

Depression and anxiety can paralyze those it affects, but some who struggle find ways to turn their negative emotions around and use them to find a sense of purpose and belonging.

Lozano urges anyone else experiencing depression not to beat themselves up about the way they are feeling.

“Whatever you are feeling, it’s OK,” he said. “There’s no reason to feel that there are no doors for you in the future. There are many.”

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