|Getting through the best of times and worst of times|
|Written by Renee Changnon, Daily Vidette Columnist|
|Wednesday, 11 April 2012 15:08|
While many people believe our awkward growing pains occur during the years of braces and glasses in middle school, I believe those pains can often resurface during our years in college, where we are trying to discover who we are, where we belong, and where our life will take us.
With all the twists and turns, those four years (or more) can take us on an emotional roller coaster ride of extreme happiness to severe anxiety and sadness, only to cycle again.
According to an article from NPR, researchers have found that severe mental illness among college students is more common now than 10 years ago, as “the number of students on psychiatric medicines increased more than 10 percentage points over the last 10 years.”
However, even with the rising number of students who have claimed in polls to suffer anxiety or depression, because of the way our society views those suffering from these illnesses, people avoid getting the help they need.
According to an article in the California Aggie, “depression does not have a single cause and can be triggered by many different factors. Many of these factors are prevalent in college.”
The article explained that a few of the triggers for depression range from increased stress, anxiety about school and job searches, relationship issues, as well as a feeling of loss.
How can you know if you are depressed? Does it mean you sit in a corner, wear dark colors, and mope all day? This stereotypical look at depression is not true. Most individuals suffering from depression hide their problems from the rest of the world and project the person they want to appear to be to peers.
According to the NPR article, depression is not something that comes and goes like a light switch, but rather is something one deals with for a prolonged amount of time.
Spotting these symptoms can help someone end the struggle and instead seek help to cope and hopefully overcome the disease.
“If young people are distancing themselves from friends, losing interest in the things that they once enjoyed doing, becoming irritable or angry, having outbursts toward people who were close to them, experiencing changes in eating or sleeping patterns, having unexplainable episodes of tearfulness — these are all potential symptoms or depression, anxiety or other emotional problems,” the NPR article stated.
At the age of 16, my grandma, whom I grew up with and who had been a staple in my life, passed away. Looking back, the months that followed were the darkest and most isolated months of my life. While my personality is outgoing, friendly, and caring, internally I was constantly sad over this loss.
Over time, I slowly got used to her absence, but when the sadness returned to me on several separate occasions in college, I realized I might need to talk to someone. As I distanced myself from friends and family and pretended that I was still my happy-go-lucky self, those close to me pushed me to get help.
Admitting I have struggled with depression is not something that is easy to do, but instead of passing judgement, realize that for those suffering from this, it is a real health problem and ignoring it out of embarrassment or shame will do no good.
After coming to terms with things, I have found a whole new perspective on life. I’m not sure if those who have faced anxiety or depression can completely escape the sadness that creeps up, but I strive every day to remain positive, remind myself that I am truly blessed, and know that every obstacle I face is meant to make me stronger.
If you are struggling, know that you are not alone. Many other people have been there and help is available to those who have the courage to seek it. Don’t look at depression or anxiety as a weakness, but rather an opportunity to work on ourselves and improve.