As a community guide for Bezzy Depression, Sam Camp is looking forward to helping others find connection and support.
Sam Camp first started noticing symptoms of depression when she was a freshman in high school.
She competed in sports and was hard on herself about her athletic performance. She started noticing increased feelings of sadness and low mood after experiencing sub-par performances or losses in competition. Soon, these feelings extended to other aspects of her life.
It was around this time that she received a formal diagnosis of depression. Still, it took a while to process what this meant for her. She explains, “It was hard for a while to talk about what I was experiencing. I knew I needed help, but growing up in my home and as an athlete, I always believed that asking for help made me be seen as weak.”
The first person Sam turned to for help was her basketball coach. She says, “I remember telling him about how I was feeling, and how I didn’t understand why I was feeling that way. He convinced me to go to counseling in school. He had to sit with me sometimes because I wouldn’t go.”
Sam’s coach made it clear to her how important it was for her to prioritize her mental health. He even told her if she stopped going to counseling, she would be kicked off the team. Sam shares, “He told me that Sam the Person was more important than Sam the Basketball Player. I believe wholeheartedly that those words kept me going.”
“When I was first diagnosed, I was confused and scared. Today, it fills me with so much hope knowing that a community like this will exist.”
– Sam Camp
After finishing high school, Sam had a more difficult time finding care. She explains, “I wound up having over eight different therapists. They would leave to different practices, and I’d get switched around often. At times, I found myself crying for help.”
On multiple occasions, she checked herself into a psychiatric center. The process of finding helpful treatment was long and exhausting.
She explains, “At times I felt like I was a guinea pig, being switched around, constantly filling out paperwork, and feeling like I needed to tell my story more times than I’d like, just to get the help I desperately needed.”
After graduating from college, Sam found a therapist who she really liked. They worked together to find coping mechanisms to help Sam navigate life with depression.
In college, Sam turned to social media to start opening up about her experiences. At first, she tried posting the content that she thought her followers wanted to see but felt like she wasn’t sharing her “truth”. When she first posted about depression, Sam wasn’t thinking about getting views or shocking people. She just wanted to help other people feel less alone.
She says, “If it helped one person feel like they weren’t alone, then that was enough. It also made me feel less alone.”
For the first time, Sam felt like she didn’t have to worry about people seeing her as “weak.”
“With all the physical strength I had gained from being an athlete, I think I’m my strongest when I’m vulnerable and open with who I am. Sharing on the internet has helped me see that,” she says.
Sam saw the internet as a way to find community support long before she started sharing her own experiences on social media herself.
She remembers searching the internet to find answers and stories about people going through what she was going through. She says, “I still have screenshots of poems and quotes that made me think, ‘Wow I feel like that, too.'”
It is this belief about the impact of community that drew Sam to wanting to be a Bezzy Depression community guide.
She explains, “Living with depression, I’ve always wanted to hide and not talk about how I was feeling. But I’ve realized how important it is to talk with other people who are experiencing the same thing. Community gives you this sense that you’re not alone.”
Sam is excited to be a guide for the Bezzy Depression community because she is passionate about helping others feel less alone. As a community guide, Sam will lead nightly live discussions and help facilitate conversations on the Bezzy Depression platform.
She says, “I hope by being a guide I can express that while living with depression is hard, there is always hope.”
She looks forward to helping disrupt the idea that depression always looks a certain way. She believes that it is important to show that people navigate life with depression in different ways and everyone’s needs are different. It is through connecting with a safe and supportive community that Sam believes others can feel less alone.
When Sam reflects on her experiences living with depression, she recognizes how a platform like Bezzy Depression could have helped her.
Sam hopes that Bezzy Depression will help people living with depression connect with people who truly understand their experiences. She also hopes the community becomes a place where others can lend support and lift each other up during challenging times.
She shares, “When I was first diagnosed, I was confused and scared. Today, it fills me with so much hope knowing that a community like this will exist.”
Fact checked on April 26, 2022
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