Student Government’s first Story Night of the year addresses student mental health issues

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Freshman Michael Follis shares his struggles with maintaining his mental health during a Student Government Story Night.
Photo Credit: Chase Karacostas | Daily Texan Staff

Students opened up about their mental illnesses, dismissing common myths and encouraging others to de-stigmatize issues such as anxiety and depression, at an event held Monday evening by Student Government.

Rhetoric and writing sophomore Dauphine Sizer teared up speaking about overcoming her severe recurrent major depressive disorder.

“It no longer needs to fill the darkest corner of my soul,” Sizer said. “I started weekly therapy. Words cannot express what it has done for me.”

Ten students spoke at the event, sharing their experiences with ADHD, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

Advertising senior Andrew Byrne dismissed peers who believe his ADHD is an asset.

“Every morning I take 50 milligrams of poison just to get me through my day,” Byrne said. “(I) would love to not need that crutch, and a lot of people don’t seem to realize that.”

Design freshman Nader Sadoughi, who also has ADHD, encouraged the audience to avoid conforming to the expectations of others. 

“I decided that I didn’t need to change my brain to fit a career I was studying for somebody else; I needed to find a career to fit me,” Sadoughi said. “My ADHD is an asset of creativity, not a burden of distraction.”

Advertising sophomore Garrett Mireles, who is also a member of Student Government, said discussion of mental health can be beneficial to students taking on new classes.

“This first Story Night comes at a pretty opportune time, (when) a lot of people are navigating the beginning of the semester,” Mireles said. “These feelings are things that a lot of people experience, and we can use opportunities like this to realize that it’s OK to open up to people.” 

Gabriella Martinez, a human development and family sciences senior, attended the event to learn more about mental health issues.

“A lot of people are afraid of being judged, and they’re afraid to speak up,” Martinez said. “Us as students, we’re not very open about it.” 

Psychology and English freshman Sara Cline opened up about her anxiety after a traumatic car crash, reassuring fellow students that recovery can take time. 

“I don’t drive yet, but that’s OK, because that’s just where I’m at,” Cline said. “Never let your anxiety get in the way of your dreams, and don’t be silent. Always speak your truth.”