Things You Realize When You Get Injured In College

6 Things You Notice When You're Injured In College

Yes, I am wearing two different shoes, but I also have to shower in a rain boot.

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This past week, 10 minutes before a class, a stair must've moved because I went from upright eating an apple and skipping through my Spotify playlist to being on the ground, my apple rolling away and my ankle burning in pain. Writing this, I hope not to sound like Michael Scott when he burned his foot on the George Foreman grill, where suddenly he had a wrapped foot and demanded sympathy. But the change in my regular routine has allowed me to see my university and other people in a different light.

1. Navigating campus takes a lot of effort

My dorm is relatively close to most of my classes. As it got later in the semester, it almost became a game for me to see how soon before I could leave before class and still get there on time and in my favorite seat. But on crutches, going anywhere is an investment in time and energy and makes me realize that even with handicap entrances on every building, there are still obstacles to accessibility such as hard-to-find entrances and sparse elevators.

2. So. Much. Walking. 

You shouldn't feel bad about not making it to the rec center because injured or not, living on a college campus is a workout. In a typical day, I have walked about 15,000 steps; that's about seven miles. The past few days I have been relying on the bus and friends to drive me, minimizing my step count, but still, my arms feel like noodles at the end of the day. College students cover a lot of ground, and it is easy to see how this would be a disadvantage for someone who has a real disability or handicap.

3. You can't hit the buffet every day.

The dining hall experience that for the past few months has brightened my day with its unlimited supply of fruit and chocolate chip cookies has become an inconvenience. If I want to eat in a dining hall, I have to ask someone to carry my food, making me avoid them for fear of being a burden. There may be alternatives in place for students with a disability, but it is still a part of the college experience that can seem exclusive.

4. Adulting is daunting.

Suddenly not being able to do things on your own makes you realize all the independence of college. Not only are you able to go wherever you want whenever you want, but there is also a significant amount of "adulting" that we should all give ourselves credit for. Doing laundry, cleaning your dishes and keeping your room livable are all minor things that take effort. Using the communal bathrooms can be a humbling fight for hygiene that requires some creativity... I am not supposed to wear slip-on shoes, so I settled on wearing a single rain boot.

5. It's not strange to ask a favor of strangers.

If you're on crutches, your carrying capacity of anything is limited. But even in you are physically fine, there is nothing wrong with getting help from the people around you. Imagine that someone asked a small favor of you, like holding their coffee for a second or explaining the bus system. It doesn't inhibit you, and you would likely be happy to do it. The same goes for most people.

6. People are good.

Overall, from the moment my ankle betrayed me to a week later and getting better, I have noticed that I am surrounded by so many good people, like the faculty member who got me an ice pack, the guy I had never met that helped me up the stairs of the physics building and my friends that have brought me food.

I would not recommend falling in a student's center to anyone, and please don't fracture or break any part of yourself while you do it. Instead, just take my word for it that college is hard, and we all deserve more credit than we give ourselves. Accessibility and looking out for others is important. People are good, and it's not bad to get help, no matter the state of your extremities.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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