Depression is a serious medical illness; it is not something that you have made up in your head.
Depression is a topic that is very seldom discussed, especially when thinking about college. It is there however. As I have said before, college is a major adjustment. It is a time when, as a human being, you are branching out on your very own, many of us go off to new towns or states where we may not know any one and our families (who have always been there ) are far away. Meeting new people and finding a place for you to get comfortable and confidant is difficult and can be overwhelming. Pile on work and school and social anxieties, and it is a recipe for a down spiral.
We may not discuss it, but many of us including myself, have gone through severe depressive periods. Periods where it is hard to breathe, and getting out of bed is a chore, school work gets left behind because it feels like too much weight is being placed on your head, social interactions are cut to an absolute minimum, and our moods can range from extreme rage to a cold numbness. Nothing penetrates and what is worse nothing matters. We all deal with our “issues” in different ways, and some of us handle our down swings in very unhealthy ways that promote worse periods of depression. Substance abuse can possibly be the worse way of dealing, most notably because, this is more a practice in avoidance than coping. Shutting out the world is also a bad practice.
I don’t want to set up a how to list, because what might get me through my days, might not work for others. However I do want everyone to know that there are things that can be done for you and for those we love and care about. here at Salem State we have Counseling and Health Services available to all students. Our counselors are licensed professionals that can help and if they cannot they are always willing to refer you to someone who can help you more accurately. If you feel yourself spiraling down, and you notice that your mental health is suffering, please, please seek help from a professional, because our friends are great and talking to someone you know and love is helpful, but there are only a few things they can do, and some of the advice received can do more harm than good. If you know someone that is suffering from depression, get them help, it is not disloyal or wrong.
Many of us view depression or any kind of mental illness, as shameful and embarrassing, the truth is… We all need help at times, and asking for it does not make us weak, seeking help does not make us a joke, and admitting we have a problem does not make us any less human.
Be safe and always remember to take care of your mental and physical health first.