House of Love
From the day I opened my Kappa Delta bid, I have received endless support and encouragement from my sisters. Kappa Delta’s focus on confidence is easily one of my favorite talking points. During my first formal recruitment as a KD member, I can vividly recall talking with a potential new member about all the confidence Kappa Delta instills in women. This sorority was built on a foundation of women empowering each other to be their most honorable, beautiful and highest selves. I always received support and love from friends when I was at my highest, but Mu Chapter showed me the strength of true sisterhood and loyalty when I was at my lowest. This past year, I have been lucky to know the unconditional love and encouragement of friends through my darkest realms and my lowest points of confidence.
The year 2017 was one of the most significant and influential years in my life, and it helped develop the person I am today. I began the year in a really terrible mindset. Dealing with chronic pain and depression, I often found myself unable to move from my bed. My steady routine was completely disrupted. From being a collegiate athlete with a set schedule of practice, workouts, classes and study times, I suddenly was forced to walk away from the game and my routine. Instead, I spent my time in numerous doctors’ offices without ever hearing an answer or hope for healing.
In the midst of dealing with the pain, I was tumbling downhill trying to manage my studies and social life. Often, the pain and numbness were too intense to sit through lectures. The neural medications I was taking interfered with my cognitive processing and destroyed every study tactic I knew. I began failing exams and became increasingly angry. My frustrations soon interfered with my friendships. It was difficult to hear the stories of my friends’ daily routines and social lives while unknowingly I was destroying myself from the inside out. I could no longer lie and put on a fake smile, so I stopped being present completely. I hid in the quiet, solitary confinement of my room. My bed and sheets became heavier each day as I sank continuously under the weight of my depression. Every day I spent unable to move, unable to attend class, unable to connect with others, was another day I ended not wanting to see the next. I felt out of control and fearful for my life.
I lived in denial of my mental health for so long because I was afraid of my depression and the power it had. I was afraid of being labeled as absurd or attention-seeking. My fear of society’s views almost took my life. It took a night sitting alone in my car with pills scattered on the floorboard to reach my breaking point. I felt so weak and powerless. I had given up on myself, but I chose to fight for my friends and family. As I sat counting my pills, it was the thoughts of how devastated and destroyed my friends and family would be without me that broke me and forced my hand to drop the pills. I could destroy myself, but I could not bear to destroy the ones I cared most about.
A phone call, a few letters and several long conversations later, I began to fight. Slowly revealing my most vulnerable self to my friends, I gained a stronger backbone and support to build myself back up. My friends made sure I was not alone and susceptible to my depression. From a friend convincing me to watch Netflix with her while she studied for finals to others making sure I ate by either forcing me to go to the cafeteria or bringing food to my room, I started to see hope in the simplest of things. There was not a single time when I revealed my struggles that I received any of the backlash I feared. I experienced true acceptance when my friends and sisters dedicated themselves to helping me find my strength and confidence again.
After a summer spent healing and numerous Facetime conversations, I came back to campus and Kappa Delta ready to give my all. I led my sisters through recruitment workshops and formal recruitment as vice president-membership, a position I had been primed and prepped for since I was a freshman. In the months leading up to recruitment, I was nervous and scared that my mental health would outweigh my preparations and I would fail my chapter. Instead my sisters respected me, they listened to me and trusted me to lead them, which built the solid ground underneath me that I had been so desperately searching for.
After watching underclassmen eagerly express their love for our chapter to potential new members and hearing positive feedback from sisters following a wonderful recruitment, I gained a new perspective on what it meant to be Kappa Delta confident. My sisters went from trying to help just get through the day to joyously celebrating my leadership as we finished our final preference ceremony, and I was finally confident in myself. I saw myself as strong, capable and worthy. I no longer feared the views of society and was ready to overcome my mental health struggles with help from the strongest and steadiest support group I have ever known.
As an eager sophomore, I thought I already knew everything about confidence, but it was only through my destruction that Kappa Delta and my sisters were able to give me a newfound, rock-solid confidence to share my story with no fear, to be unapologetically me and to relentlessly fight the stigma around mental health. Kappa Delta and Mu Chapter gave me a house of unconditional, unwavering love and for that I will be forever grateful and ever loyal to them.