Anxiety and Depression In College

Dealing With Anxiety And Depression In College Is Hard, But You're Never By Yourself

My struggles only made me stronger, and God is preparing me for something much bigger.

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Anxiety and depression are two things I've struggled with all of my life, but they were also two things I could never put a name to. In middle school, I believed my mannerisms were something everyone else around me was going through as well.

High school was okay because I was constantly surrounded by people I loved, but as soon as I got to college, it was as if I transformed into this completely different person. My grades dropped, I was losing weight, I was constantly sick, and it felt as if no one around me knew what I was going through or even really cared.

But I'm here to tell you that that's definitely not the case.

Before I could fix myself, I had to name what I was going through, and I think that was the hardest part. I was ashamed to say I faced anxiety and depression because I didn't want to come off as broken. I'd always been known as that "bright and smart" girl, someone who was always smiling and optimistic about whatever she was facing. Someone who always loved everyone else and had no time to worry about herself because she was constantly putting others first.

I was so afraid to label myself as these negative things because I've always been taught the more you label yourself, the more you're limiting yourself from reaching your full potential. But when I was labeled as optimistic, I felt I had no right to be down about things. When I was labeled as smart, anytime I didn't reach the highest level of success, I felt like a failure. When I was labeled as selfless, I felt as though I had no right to worry about myself or my own wellbeing.

The sooner I accepted the feelings I was facing and that I wasn't the only one facing them, the sooner I was able to heal.

The sooner I realized it was all in my head, the easier it was to get rid of those feelings. I began to learn that the trials I was facing weren't normal like my middle school self had convinced me they were, but after being able to name what I was going through, I was able to accept it as it was and push myself to heal. And by push, I mean literally push. I stopped calling my family during breakdowns and instead listened to music that distracted me. I stopped canceling plans with my friends and forced myself to go out because I knew I would have a good time if I just went. I stopped skipping meals just so I wouldn't have to walk across the quad, and my body is thanking me for it every day.

I realized it was okay to feel sorry for myself, but feeling sorry for myself didn't have to include moping around all day. Instead, I started treating myself to getting my nails done, splurging on those new boots, or small things such as buying ice cream with the spare change in my glove compartment. Feeling sorry for myself meant going above and beyond to make myself smile, worshipping more to heal my heart, and spending more time with the people I love to feel whole again.

Now I'm healing, but it's still something I still struggle with to this day. I still think about skipping meals, my anxiety attempting to convince me not to take the short walk across the quad. I still think about bailing out on hanging out with friends. I still think about skipping class. I still struggle with seeing the positive things about waking up in the mornings, wanting nothing more but to curl into a ball and cry until I fall asleep again.

I still struggle with naming the things that I'm feeling, and where they come from, but I'm also learning.

I'm learning not to be ashamed of who I am. I'm learning to find joy in the little things, such as a warmer day than the one before, or a free coffee from the little breakfast shop. I'm learning that what I'm going through doesn't make me weak. I'm learning that I'm not a burden, and the faster you can accept what you're feeling, the faster you'll be able to heal, too.

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An Open Letter To The Person Who Can't Do It Anymore

"Strength grows in the moments when you think you can't go on, but you keep going anyway."
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Hey you, yeah you! You’re the person who everyone sees as having their life together. Everyone comes to you with all their problems and tells you how you give the best advice. But no one ever seems to care about how you are doing. Even when they ask the cliche line “How are you?” You respond with “I’m alright” or “I’m okay” and they don’t respond anymore or just ignore your response and start talking about something else. You’re the person who puts everyone else’s happiness before your own, and you question why because when does anyone ever do that for you. And sometimes you feel like you just can’t do it anymore.

When I say can’t do it anymore, I’m not talking about being suicidal, I’m talking about feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally dead, to the point where you can just lay in bed for hours staring at the ceiling not realizing the time that has gone by. You have no motivation to do anything. Then you eventually just isolate yourself from everyone, even your closest friends. It’s not the feeling that you can’t do it anymore that gets you, it’s all the other stuff that comes with it. It’s the feeling of being left out, lonely, uncared for, overwhelmed, and so much more. But most of all you feel lost. Sometimes you just cry, and the worst part about it, you don't know why, you're jsut sad. Sure you have friends and family you can go to, but you question whether they even care about you at times. You try so hard to help and please everyone but no matter what you do, it never seems to be good enough for anyone. Sometimes you just can't get it right, or at least it seems that way. Which is okay because you realize everyone makes mistakes, but yours just seems to be huge ones that affect friendships or life choices rather than small ones that don't have any affect on you. Or it seems that way. On top of everything though, you just feel like something is missing, but you have no idea what it could be.

Every day is hard for you to get up out of bed, let alone to put on a smile and act like everything in your life is perfect, but it’s not, it feels like everything is crashing down on you all at once. And the worst part, it just seems like everything keeps getting worse and worse and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. But there is, as hard as it is to believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

You just have to keep going. Keep faking that smile, helping others, and doing your everyday best. Keep fighting. You may feel like you’re dying, but it will be okay. Have something to fight for. Whether it’s your future, your goals, your friends, family members, pets, or whatever it might be. Keep being the good person you are towards others because eventually someone will notice and appreciate your kindness, you will see the light, and not only wonder why you felt that way before, but you will feel full and have everything you have ever dreamed of. Even though you feel physical, mentally, and emotionally dead now, just remember there is more to life than this feeling and eventually, you will see the light, sometimes when you at least expect it.

Sincerely,

The person who has been there more than once

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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13 Songs That Help Me Through My Panic Attacks

It's easy to become paralyzed by panic attacks, but I've found music to be the best tool to help me cope.

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Anyone who struggles with panic attacks knows just how draining and overwhelming they are. It's easy to become paralyzed by them, and once I noticed this, I made a playlist of songs that calm me down. I find that music keeps me grounded, no matter how bad the panic attack may be. Maybe the songs I have listed aren't for you. but I hope that in sharing my main songs that help me, it can spark your brain into finding songs that fit your needs during panic attacks.

In case you don't know some of the songs I have listed, I put a link to each song from YouTube. I hope you enjoy my interesting variety of music!

1. "Weightless" by Marconi Union

Go here to listen.

This song is my go-to song for panic attacks, especially if it's a bad one. For me personally, my heart rate spikes during panic attacks (I'll go from a resting heart rate of around 70bpm to anywhere between 180-200bpm). Evidence suggests this song can slow your heart rate and reduce anxiety and let me tell you... it works 100% for me and I highly recommend it.

2. "Somebody to Love" by Queen

Go here to listen.

I've just always loved this song. There's something about Freddie Mercury's voice that just calms me down and makes me feel like I'm not alone at that moment.

3. "Let it Be" by The Beatles

Go here to listen.

I grew up listening to The Beatles since my mom is from Liverpool, and "Let it Be" is a song that I always associate peace and good memories with. Also, I love the lyric, "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary calls to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be." It reminds me that there are things about me and this world that I simply cannot change, but I can find peace by letting it be.

4. "Lost in a Sea of Pillows and Blankets" by .anxious.

Go here to listen.

Go here for the full album.

I find this song, and really the whole album, to be extremely soothing. It literally feels like the comfort of pillows and blankets but in the form of music.

5. "1-800-273-8255" by Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid

Go here to listen.

I love this song for many reasons during a panic attack. One, it reminds me that there are other people that have felt or are feeling what I am currently. Two, it reminds me that I have a purpose on this earth, and I am not a waste of space. Three, I just love the awareness it brings to mental illnesses.

6. "Up and Up" cover by Lennon & Maisy (originally by Coldplay)

Go here to listen to the cover.

Go here to listen to the original.

"We're gonna get it, get it together somehow." This main lyric reminds me that I can conquer this moment, and the only direction from this moment is up. Also, Lennon and Maisy's voices are mesmerizing. The Coldplay original is amazing too, I put both for you to check out!

7. "In My Blood" by Shawn Mendes

Go here to listen.

I remember the first time I listened to this; I was actually on the brink of a panic attack. I heard the first lyric, "Help me, it feels like the walls are caving in. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I just can't. It isn't in my blood." Every lyric in here, which was beautifully written by the way, describes how it feels having a panic attack and having anxiety in general. It reminds me that no matter what, I can make my way out of it. I can win the fight.

8. "Free Spirit" by Khalid

Go here to listen.

Khalid's new album "Free Spirit" came out on April 5, 2019, and I am actually obsessed with it. I find myself immediately playing this album when I open my Spotify. When it comes to the song "Free Spirit," the music is enchanting to me; something about it just immediately calms me down. Not to mention that Khalid's voice is absolutely beautiful. Also, I just love the concept of being a free spirit. Not being tied down by mental illnesses or fear, and having this sort of euphoric peace.

9. "Intro" by Khalid

Go here to listen.

Once again, absolutely mesmerizing. I honestly feel like I'm taken to another world with this song. Something about the music just makes my brain feel so happy, peaceful, and calm. As for the lyrics, they remind me that I need to find my worth and put me first. Sometimes, I put so much of my emotional energy into other people that I have none left for me. I need to keep some of it for me though, because I know that I have worth, but I can never see it, so I need this emotional energy to be able to put myself first and love myself.

10. "Spiegel im Spiegel" by Arvo Part, Angele Dubeau, La Pieta

Go here to listen.

Not gonna lie, I'm a sucker for classical music. There's something about this song in particular that I feel like really captures the feelings of depression and detachment that I experience during a panic attack. It's just another reminder that I'm not alone in this.

11. "Raindrop Prelude: Op. 28 No. 15" by Frederic Chopin

Go here to listen.

Sorry, another classical piece... I just really love it. I feel like it shows the feelings before, during, and after a panic attack. Once again, it's a reminder that I'm not alone.

12. "Cello Suite No.1 in G-Major, Prelude" cover by Yo-Yo Ma (originally by Bach)

Go here to listen.

Last one, I swear! There's just something about this piece that makes me feel so calm and at peace... I don't know how to describe it. It's beautiful, and it makes me feel like there's hope of conquering my panic attack.

13. "Rescue" by Lauren Daigle

Go here to listen.

First, Lauren Daigle is simply amazing. This song in particular, though, reminds me that Jesus is always by my side, and he will never give up on me. He sees me in my trials, and he's fighting this fight with me. It gives me a lot of hope that someday I might not have to deal with these struggles.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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