Anxiety, Depression, And College
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Health and Wellness

Anxiety, Depression, And College

Having more scars than people will ever see, because most of them are in your head.

Anxiety, Depression, And College
Media College Times

We live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people you’re depressed, everyone runs the other way. That’s the stigma. We are so accepting of any body part breaking down, other than our brains. And that’s ignorance. Pure ignorance. And that ignorance has created a world that doesn’t understand depression or anxiety-- a world that doesn’t understand mental illness.

I want to explain to those who don’t know, what it feels like to worry all the time. To feel as if you’re trapped. A constant wall. It stops you in your tracks. And then the panic sets in. Your heart beats fast, you get cold chills, you begin to sweat, and your feet and hands go numb. Taste of metal. Ringing ears. Everything is too loud. You feel like everyone’s watching, witnessing your weakness. Every day it’s the same. You wish you didn’t care, that it didn’t feel like this. But it does. And it will for a long time. You try to reach out. But your slowly sinking into a pit of darkness. Scrambling for a hand to pull you out from it’s depths, but no one listens. This is anxiety.

College is already tough as it is. Add on depression and anxiety…. Boy, does that sound like a good mixture!

Living with mental illness while away at school is walking to class every day, smiling, interacting with peers and professors, completing assignments and studying for exams, and making plans with your friends to hang out and study together. It’s learning to live as normal as possible.

Living with anxiety in college is late night walks around a chilly, dark campus and wondering what could possibly fill the ache in your chest that never seems to go away, and then returning to your room and smiling at your friends and roommates as if everything is okay. It’s learning to cope without your inner circle.

Living with a mental illness in college is knowing when you need a break from everyone and everything so you can find a special place in your heart, body, and mind for peace and healing. It’s also knowing when to study and stop studying so you don’t overwhelm yourself with so much information that it makes your head feel like it’s going to explode.

Living with anxiety and depression while in college means that sometimes you’ll cry over the stupidest things. Crying over a missing shoe, crying after seeing a stray cat on campus, and crying over somebody you miss. And people will never truly understand why you tear up so much. You try to explain, but it’s hard for others to understand.

You learn to be your own support system. You learn to live with the help of medications or without. You learn that it’s okay to talk to the counselors at school. You learn it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.

Living with mental illness in college is waking up in the middle of the night because of a bad dream and not being able to go back to sleep because your body and mind are now too restless and anxious. It’s dragging yourself out of bed and getting ready for the day, knowing you’ll have to repeat this process over and over again. It’s learning to become comfortable with the tense ache in your heart that has since become synonymous with being awake.

Having high functioning depression and anxiety in college is knowing you have the strength to soldier through every obstacle in the day because your battles have taught you a strength others don’t understand.

Having mental illness in college is learning to come to terms with the knowledge that you will have amazing, radiantly happy days where everything just seems to go your way. It’s also knowing that you’re going to have days that will test your will power and convince you that you aren’t doing anything right and force you to believe you may as well quit while you’re ahead. But it’s remembering all of the good days in between and knowing that your struggles have taught you to appreciate the beauty and kindness in the smallest acts in the world around you and knowing you were given a true gift.

It is a continuous battle with mental illness when you aren’t able to see your family, best friends, and the pets who take up so much space in your heart. But it’s also a blessing. I never would have re-discovered my faith without my worst days. I never would have learned to be my own strength. I would have never learned to appreciate the beauty in a world that seems to grow uglier. I would have never appreciated the power of a real smile, a real hug, and what unconditional love is.

I will breathe. I will think of solutions. I will not let my worry control me. I will not let my stress level break me. I will simply breathe. And it will be okay because I don’t quit.

Mental illness in college has forced me to a deeper understanding and reflection upon the person I was, the person I am, and the person I hope to be for myself in the future. It has shaped the way I strive to live my life--mostly for the better. And it has shown me that while my battles are mine to fight, I don’t have to struggle in silence.

“Never give up on someone with a mental illness. When “I” is replaced by “WE”, Illness becomes Wellness.” –Shannon L. Alder

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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