At any point in time, three to five percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from major depression according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

In 2014, about 15.7 million of American adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year.

These statistics are two of many that exemplify the prevalence of depression in U.S. adults. These statistics, however, do not demark the portion of college students experiencing depression.

College campuses serve as a cauldron of high emotion and intensity for students as it is. Whether it’s graduate school, parents or students themselves, a high degree of pressure is put on students to perform and excel, which often causes students to set their own needs aside.

St. Edward’s senior Michael Pacheco’s journey with depression took a turn during his time on the hilltop.

The beginning of Pacheco’s depression dates back to his sophomore year of high school in California, when he felt apart from everyone else for being gay. Mainstream media’s failure to represent gay youth furthered Pacheco’s feeling of isolation.

“It felt like I was living such a different life that no one understood,” Pacheco said, “It drove me into a dark space in my head.”

Through the support of friends and the inspiration of Kurt and Blaine’s relationship from FOX’s TV show “Glee,” Pacheco fought suicidal thoughts and gained the confidence to come out to his classmates during his junior year.

Coming to Texas was a whole new ballgame for Pacheco. His freshman and sophomore years reflected Pacheco’s newfound confidence after coming out to friends in his residence hall. This confidence radiated in Pacheco’s wardrobe and overall personality.

He eventually became heavily involved at St. Edward’s through Residence Life and Student Life.

Pacheco’s depression would take a new turn during his junior year when his social, personal, professional and academic worlds started to clash.

“I felt overwhelmed with two jobs on campus, 18 hours and an internship at Travis High School,” Pacheco said. “I lost sight in life, I felt like no matter how hard I tried, I kept falling into a darker pit.”

The whirlwind of Pacheco’s multiple facets caused him to lose sight of his goals.

“I began to question adulthood and this whole transition from teenager to adulthood,” he said.

This feeling persisted into Pacheco’s senior year, and toward the end of the fall semester, he realized it was vital to take a step back.

“I am beyond happy with the plan the Health and Counseling Center and Students with Disabilities Office came up with for me to come back to California and take a semester off to better my mental health,” Pacheco said.

During his semester of recovery, Pacheco has taken up various methods to improve this mental health, including speaking to various psychologists, keeping a journal and being more open with family.

Today, Pacheco is able to step away from his continuing battle with depression and find gratitude for all that has helped him become better.

“Dealing with depression is probably one of the most exhausting experiences ever,” Pacheco said. “But when I take a step back to reevaluate everything that has happened thus far I am thankful that I have found so much love and support.”

Pacheco identified the growing darkness within himself and took necessary measures to save himself. For him, it was taking a step away from his collegiate life.

“One piece of advice that I received when I left school for the semester from my best friends is to not be afraid of being with yourself,” Pacheco said. “Solitude is a beautiful thing if you are able to sit comfortably with yourself.”