Being a Student & Being Depressed

Being a Student & Being Depressed

We all suffer eventually, some longer than others
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To the college students who are still trying to find yourself and figure out how to do day-to-day tasks with depression. Weather you're a freshman or junior, you matter and don't let anyone tell you differently.

It is so difficult to be physically present but be miles away mentally. You sit in class, unable to concentrate because your brain feels as if its shut down. You just stare at something or find yourself unconsciously doodling. Then later be so angry with yourself for not paying attention in lecture, knowing you wouldn't of been able to stay alert anyways because the "monster" in your head is telling you "you're not smart enough", "you'll never be anything anyways in life" or the one that really gets me "everyone is disappointed in you already anyways, just give up" but thats not true. You ARE smart enough, you WILL be something in your lifetime, and NO ONE is disappointed in you! You have the whole world behind you, cheering you on. It may not seem like it somedays but I can promise you, at least one person will ALWAYS be there. I'm lucky enough to have a whole army behind me, some that don't even know me personally but saw my story and reached out to me. Random people took time out of their day to send me an encouraging message. You people will never know how much it is appreciated.





Then the next day you're rocking it out, accomplishing everything you needed to get done, actually understanding what is going on in class, drinking enough water and eating healthy. As if yesterday never existed and you never had any depressing thoughts or doubt yourself. I understand completely what you're going through, the hardest part is having people who don't suffer, understand that this is your life. Even with taking medication for depression, you still have these days frequently.

Now I'm not sure if you are just figuring out what works out for your body medication wise, or if you suffer quietly. You're still going to have those days, and all you can do is take it day by day. I expressed my feelings on an off day and was told by a friend "small tasks each day girl" meaning, just do whatever you're comfortable with, but make sure you get it done. Its ok if its just one small thing, at least you committed and got it done.

Thank the family, friends, loved ones and even strangers, for everything they have done. Even if they don't realize or mean to do something that benefits you, just thank them. They are also suffering. They have to deal with your mood swings, keeping you motivated, and everything else they do on top of their schedule.

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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9 Teas You Can Add To Your Diet Today

Here's the addition to your lifestyle you never knew you needed.

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In the age-old debate between coffee and tea, I'll take a cup of green tea any day. It's both relaxing and energizing, and if that sounds like an oxymoron, then so be it. I've recently started making a cup of Chai Green Tea and honey a regular part of my evening routine.

This small addition to my day has helped me relax, sleep better and wake up easier. Interestingly enough, it's also sped up my weight loss goals, even if by a little.

It's difficult to find anything that's healthy for you and delicious, but this beverage makes enjoyment a realistic goal. Between being rich in antioxidants, aiding in burning fat, increasing metabolism, and improving heart healthiness, it's hard to be steered wrong.

Of course, as with anything, there are ways to make it unhealthy. It can be challenging finding the right tea for you and your health, so I've decided to start you off with a list of teas to kick-start your journey.

1. Chai Green Tea

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Not only is this tea delicious, but it also tastes a bit like Christmas. A perfect blend of black tea, herbs and spices, its origins can be traced back to India. It has amazing antioxidants, improves digestion and your immune system, and fights inflammation. What does antioxidants even mean, you may ask? In a nutshell—it has anti-cancer properties, fighting to keep your body as healthy as possible.

Add a couple spoonfuls of honey, and you're all set.

2. Matcha Green Tea

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I'm sure you're sensing a theme by now. Green tea is arguably the healthiest tea you can drink. Add Matcha powder to the mix (pun intended), and you've just created a dynamic duo for yourself. It's important to note that best results occur with a healthy diet and exercise.

3. Chamomile Tea

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Having trouble sleeping? Are you stressed or experiencing uncomfortable premenstrual symptoms? Chamomile can help with this, particularly those with Type II diabetes.

4. Ginger Tea

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The tea that gives you the kick you need, but in a nice way.

5. Peppermint Tea

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Peppermint in general is a fantastic beverage for digestion, but it also contains a load of antioxidants and nausea-fighting properties. It's perfect if your stomach is upset or you're suffering from anxiety.

6. White Tea

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This is another tea that I'm personally adding to my list of things to try. It's light, and you can drink it at any time of the day. It has a higher antioxidant count and lower calories and caffeine—perfect if you're looking for a non-caffeinated pick-me-up. Benefits include reducing the risk of tooth decay, increased heart healthiness, cancer-fighting properties, skin protection, and it aids in weight loss.

7. Black Tea

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Black tea is great for your digestive track and bone density. This drink enhances energy by increasing blood flow to the brain. Choosing a specific tea for yourself is more a matter of taste than anything else since they all contain roughly the same benefits. More benefits include decreasing chances of a stroke and arthritis, as well as relieving stress. Anyone can benefit from drinking it.

8. Rooibos Tea

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Rooibos is a new name for me, but it's another I'm adding to my "try" list. It helps with skin conditions such as eczema, alleviates muscle soreness and insomnia, and aids in hypertension.

9. Oolong Tea

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This delicious looking tea is great for cancer prevention, weight management and your health overall. It's also a great way to boost your metabolism and help make your skin look healthier!

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