Wiping away the stigma of depression

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DeKalb’s Christina Davis uses her personal story to battle a global issue


By Kenny Mitchell

An always smiling young lady with bright, blue eyes, a member of the cheerleading squad and a dancer with skills that received a room full of accolades, that is how everyone in her hometown of DeKalb and folks all across Northeast Texas know Christina Davis. The effervescent student at Hubbard and then DeKalb High, Davis has been center stage for most of her life. Yet it was not until very recently, that anyone knew there was a terrible battle being waged inside her.
Now Miss Texarkana, and soon to take the stage in the 2017 Miss Texas pageant, Christina decided it was time to share her battle with depression with the world. She says her efforts now are an attempt to “change the stigma of mental illness in hopes that people won’t be scared or embarrassed to voice their struggles and seek the help they need.”
She plans to do that with her pageant platform. As part of the pageant process, she wrote,” Do you remember when you were a child and someone threw a blanket over your head?  There were five seconds of immense fear as you fought to get free of the blanket. That sense of dread is what depression feels like. Those five seconds, every single day. Joy, happiness, and love feel like foreign emotions, and you begin to think that you would rather give up than live another day under this blanket.
I found myself under that blanket as a freshman in high school. My depression manifested itself as intense and comprehensive joint pain. I couldn’t hold a pencil and I struggled to walk. One doctor, turned into several, and I ended up at Arkansas Children’s Hospital where I was diagnosed with exercise induced exhaustion. With medication, I began to get better. It wasn’t until a few years later that I really faced my depression head on. I put my reality into words when I shared my experience with my mom. I admitted that I had been verbally abused by my peers and so I spent lunch in the bathroom each day. I hated going to class and had thoughts of suicide, but I was good at hiding it.”
Now, Christina has started her own chapter of Project Semicolon and intends to use her Texarkana + Project Semicolon to continue her work of bringing awareness to mental illness and preventing suicide.
She says, “I want to take away the stigma and shame that many people associate with mental disorders. As Miss Texarkana I have teamed up with Project Semicolon and started my own chapter, “Texarkana + Project Semicolon.” With Texarkana + Project Semicolon, I have gained a louder voice and I have reached men and women who struggle with various mental illnesses and suicidal thoughts. By relating my own experiences with depression, I have helped them to see that they aren’t alone.”
Christina wants people to know that there are resources that are available to give professional and medical help and states, “For me personally, I say get involved, use your talents, focus your attention on something positive so that you can try to drown out the negativity that consumes you.”
When asked what she would do if talking with another young person that is dealing with similar issues, Christina says, “I would listen. Actively listen. I’d ask specific questions about what they’re personally feeling. I would tell my story if I felt they needed to know they weren’t alone in what their dealing with, but the most important thing you can say to someone battling depression is that you are there for them when they need someone to talk to. Then be there for them.”
To learn more about Project Semicolon, go to their website at www.projectsemicolon.com for more information.
To see Miss Texarkana   Christina Davis compete in the upcoming Miss Texas Pageant, the event will be held at the Eisemann Center in Richardson, Texas with preliminary competitions starting on June 27 and the final scheduled for July 1.




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