First Semester Stress: Tips For Those Entering College With Anxiety And Depression

First Semester Stress: Tips For Those Entering College With Anxiety And Depression

Be strong
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I bawled for an hour straight when I left my home in New Jersey to drive out to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for my freshman year of college. Actually, I probably ended up crying for half the car ride. I doubt there has ever been a wetter, snottier mess on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I was not looking forward to the start of college. I was going too far, didn't know anyone, was leaving all my friends behind, and I certainly wasn't prepared for the course load I was taking on.

The first couple weeks of school were probably the hardest weeks I've ever had to endure. I was on the phone with friends from home constantly and spent a decent percentage of my time crying or sleeping. I would try to talk to new people but more tears would just bubble up. I had suicidal thoughts, to the point where I started researching the number of pills it would take to cause damage. I even tried to convince my parents to let me come home and go to community college. Boy, what a mistake that would have been.

I don’t want to act like everything in my life is perfect now. It’s far from it. That being said, I have come a long way from that person I was at the start of my freshman year. I’ve made a solid group of friends at school, maintained a nearly perfect GPA, and have managed to find a guy that can put up with my super quirky personality (or maybe I put up with him.) Better yet, I think of Pittsburgh as more than just the city where I go to school. It's home.

To those who are entering college with anxiety or depression, I know how you feel. It is HARD. It's a hard process regardless. But I do think it's worse for those of us who are prone to those feelings anyway. Just know that you are not the only one struggling and that it is okay to be hurting. If you are feeling suicidal or feel the need to self-harm, please call your school's counseling center right away and make an appointment. If you are forward with them about how you're feeling they will get you in right away. I called when I was feeling suicidal and it was considered an emergency appointment. This is definitely a service that I recommend utilizing because it's free and right on campus. If your problems persist, you might want to try a combination of therapy and medication. That was the route I took. Even before entering college, I started to regret not going on medicine so I was definitely glad I got the chance to when I was really struggling. Meanwhile, I have friends who don't want to tell their parents how they're feeling so they can avoid speaking to physicians about medication.

Don't let this prevent you from improving your health: you're an adult so they legally can't tell your family. They didn’t tell mine. It was a decision I had to make on my own.

I also recommend maintaining a long - distance friendship with someone at home. Sometimes, it's good to have someone that you know really well to keep you grounded. At school, try your hardest to surround yourself with people. It might make you anxious or uncomfortable at first, trust me, I know, but eventually you will click with someone. And don't forget that you can talk your new friends about some of this stuff because chances are they're are experiencing some sort of homesick feeling too! If you are feeling uncomfortable being social and would rather have some time alone, take advantage of it and either get some exercise or put your energy into your homework! It'll only help you in the long run.

If you can push through your first semester or two of college and still aren’t happy at your particular school, it’s okay to look elsewhere. If that is what is going to make you happy, so be it. Happiness is a hard thing to achieve. But it is possible, so don’t settle for anything less. Reach out for help, branch out, and do some homework; it will get better.

If you suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Cover Image Credit: http://images.universityherald.com/data/images/full/7306/mental-issue.jpg?w=600

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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