You’re not alone
College is supposedly the greatest time of our lives. It’s a time for exploration with new freedom, as well as trying to find out who we really are. However, for some of us it could be a numbing and frightening ordeal. Dealing with depression, regardless of whether you’re in college or not, is a full-time job. It consumes you on a daily basis and feeds off of your fears and insecurities. I know this, because I have had several bouts with depression during my collegiate career.
There isn’t much you can do when you are severely depressed. I know I would lay in bed all day. I would think of ways to try and fight against my depression. After hundreds of hours of laying in bed, and countless sleepless nights, I managed to try and implement a strategy to help me beat my depression and become happy again. It is my hope that in sharing my findings with you, I can help others fight the good fight against depression, and other mental illnesses.
The key to getting better is acceptance. For some people it can be hard to accept that they have a mental illness. The key, however, is to drop the word mental from mental illness. Depression is a disease, just like cancer, and it should be treated as such. Acceptance can be hard for some people due to the harsh stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Some people believe that mental illnesses are caused by a bad attitude, when in reality the causes are neurological. These people will say things like, “well you should try harder to be happy” or “you’re life isn’t bad, suck it up”. When those that suffer from depression hear these, things they feel isolated and alone. Do your best to ignore what the ignorant people have to say and come to terms with the fact that you are depressed, and that’s okay.
Talk it out
You should not be afraid to talk about your depression with those close to you. For me, this part was difficult for a few reasons. One reason was that I did not want anyone to know the way I was feeling because I was afraid that I would be viewed differently. Secondly, I did not know how to talk about the way I was feeling. However, I soon realized that I could not remain silent and that I needed to talk to someone.
At first I chose to talk to only a few close friends about the way I was feeling. They reassured me that what I was dealing with was perfectly normal and did not judge me. My friends helped me talk through my feelings and allowed me to let everything go. Speaking with my friends allowed me to to build up the courage to talk to my parents. I was not sure how they would react and was hesitant to tell them. However, I knew that I could talk to my parents about anything. I talked to them both about how I was feeling. It felt like a large weight was lifted off of my shoulders.
After you speak to those close to you, the next step is to consider professional help. Now, I realize some people do not like the idea of going to therapy but let me tell you something, it helps. I was adamant that I did not need to see a therapist, and that I could do fine by myself. Like most teenagers, I was stubborn and did not want someone else telling me how to get better. I went back and forth for weeks over whether or not I should go. The tipping point for me was when I could not gather the will to go to class. That morning is when I made a call to the student health center on campus to schedule an appointment. I began seeing a therapist weekly and I slowly started to get to the root of my problems. I was eventually prescribed medication to help treat my depression. Over time it started working wonders for me. Remember, nothing happens overnight when it comes to depression. Therapy takes time and patience and if you stick with it.
You are strong
I hope that my story has helped some of you to get the help that you deserve. I realize that depression can be very scary and it can leave you feeling isolated and alone. But let me be the one to tell you that it does get better. You are all stronger than you will ever know, and I believe that you can do anything. I am always here if anyone needs someone to talk to about ANYTHING. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them on this post and it would be my pleasure to get back to you.