Why We Need To Talk About Mental Health In College
Health and Wellness

Why We Need To Talk About Mental Health In College

You are not defined by your hardest moments.

11
Why We Need To Talk About Mental Health In College
Virginia Taylor

Last Friday I suffered from a panic attack.

One moment I was the Virginia who had been doing just fine in college; I was the Virginia who had traveled miles from home without a care; I was the Virginia who had tried to say hello to every person she passed and find a time to grab coffee with each and every one of them. Everything I’d known had changed in an instant, and I was honestly surprising myself with how far I’d gotten without a single moment of worry.

Yet suddenly I no longer felt like this strong, capable version of myself. Suddenly I was the Virginia who had run to find refuge in the high school practice rooms when she abruptly couldn’t breathe in the middle of class. Suddenly I was the girl who hadn’t gotten out of bed for days because she felt physically incapable as if the heaviness she felt in her heart were pinning her to the mattress. Suddenly I was on my bathroom floor, heaving in a way that shook my entire body, and when my roommates found me and held me, I cried harder for the fear of sinking back into that place than for the way I felt in that very moment.

Declining mental health among students is an incredibly prevalent issue at my high school, as well as many others, as our society slowly becomes more cutthroat and college-focused. The expectations placed on high school students are greater than ever, and then, when they finally feel it’s all over, they’re thrown into college; an odd, semi-real world experience where they are left to figure out everything on their own. Even for the most independent, focused, or socially aware student, college presents a unique balance of new friendships, new surroundings, and ultimately, a stressful environment whether the workload is taxing or not.

I think so often the media portrays college as the most exciting years of your life—the years where your core memories are made, your truest friends found, and your life finally starts to have a meaning. College is seen as the beginning of the rest of your life, and after the depression and anxiety I struggled with in high school, I was so ready to move to Asheville and start over completely—to forget that I was ever that person. In fact, I think I hoped so strongly to put the person I was behind me that I never wanted anyone to know she had existed. To the people here in Asheville, I was someone new entirely—someone who could handle new situations and environments with ease and kept any problems of her own to herself.

Perhaps that’s why I was so scared by Friday night, so overwhelmed with the feeling that all the progress I had made to become independent, to become strong and capable and brave, was for nothing. As I sat on the bathroom floor I felt like every step I’d made simply screeched to a halt, and that even though I was finally in a place that loved me as I was and valued my happiness, it still wasn’t my place. I felt lost beyond belief.

Here’s the thing though; none of the progress I’d made to become happier, to pull myself out of the rut I’d felt stuck in for so many years of my life, was gone. The truth is, I was stronger and more capable and braver than ever, simply because I had made it this far. I think in a moment of panic it can be hard to remember the person you are, the person you’ve worked hard to become, but the truth is, having a bad moment (or many) does not in any way define you. What does define you is how to chose to learn from that moment, to move on from it, and I think in the constant hustle and bustle that is college, that can be easy to forget.

I think on that Friday night I felt as if I’d taken 100 steps back, but with a little perspective now some days later, my bad night really gives me a better understanding of why I’m here. I came to Asheville because I knew it was a place that loved me, that cared for me, and since that night I’ve found that love over and over again. The people I’ve met here love me for every part of myself—good times and bad times—and I’m beyond grateful for that.

So to all those out there who are in a similar place, to all those who feel a little lost despite being in a place so exciting, to all those who feel unsure about their futures, and to all those who feel a little misplaced in the world, it’s ok to feel exactly that. College is thrilling and exciting but equally as hectic and unsettling, and being in control all the time isn’t something anyone expects of you. I think the bravest thing you can do is accept everything you feel as it comes, and find the people who will love you in all forms. I think that’s what college is really for, for understanding that who you are is made up of everything you’ve experienced, but also from how you chose to move on from those things.

I guess I wrote this article kind of as a form of self-healing, but also because I truly believe in learning to accept every part of yourself. Understanding that you don’t always have to feel completely happy—and surrounding yourself with people who will love you and support you at all costs—is the first step to truly building a life worth living. I am not just my panicked moments, and neither are you. We are brave and we are strong and we have made it this far—and that’s bigger than anything.

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

-Having struggled with acne prone skin for years, I was cautious to try a new serum on top of the other products I've come to trust.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Your Social Activism May Actually Benefit From A Cleansing Social Media Detox

In the craziest year of our lives, sometimes there's value in taking a break.

We are living through, unequivocally, one of the most dangerous, unstable, chaotic periods of any of our lives. From COVID-19 to crises of police brutality to the mass exploitation of the poor by mega-corporations, the world outside seems to be looking more dystopic every day. What can be done about it? For many, activism involves heavily posting on social media to keep others aware. However, this comes with a net negative cost — increased levels of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness about the state of the world. Why might this be? After all, in past eras activists have endured comparable and greater levels of abuse and relentless torment from oppressors. Why, now, are people getting so easily burnt out?

Keep Reading... Show less

Reading is a relaxing activity that provides many benefits. Everybody reads books (when they are not watching Netflix, chatting on social media, or making Tik Tok videos) to distract themselves from reality for a while. Many do not realize the positive impact that books have like reducing stress, assisting with sleep, improving cognitively, and strengthening the mind. In honor of National Book Day, there are many great novels that you can read to mark this special holiday. Here are the best ones to check out.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

5 Things You Need To Know Before You Watch 'Arrested Development' On Netflix

"Her?" Yes, she's an amazing show! (You'll get this joke after you watch the show).

Netflix

"Arrested Development" is an award-winning sitcom that aired for three seasons on Fox beginning in 2003, and then was picked up by Netflix for a fourth season in 2013, and then again for a final season in 2018.

However, it seems to remain one of the world's most underrated and under-appreciated shows of all time. Although this article alone won't be enough to skyrocket the show to Netflix's top 10, I hope that it will open people's eyes to the value and quality of the show.

Keep Reading... Show less

I have always felt left out because of how I look and who I am. I have always felt like the elephant in the room, literally. I have always been shamed for my size. For the longest time, I cared so much about what I wear and who I wore certain things in front of. I never wanted to wear shirts that would show a lot of my arm, located above my elbow. I wouldn't wear shorts that didn't go to the tip of my knees, at least. I never wore anything remotely tight, where you could see every curve, roll, or imperfection. I was so insecure about myself, and not many of my friends knew.

Keep Reading... Show less

Being a pharmacy technician never held as many risks as it does now. Exposure too hazardous conditions were little to none, and garbing up was only conducted in IV compounding. But, now, in order to give nurses the medications they need to help their patients, they need us, pharmacy technicians.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

I Asked My Boyfriend His Opinion On Liking Other Girls’ Pictures, And, Spoiler Alert, It's Cheating

"When you get into a relationship and you're in love, you have to realize that liking photos is for the single lifestyle."

Ladies, listen up. If you are in a relationship with a guy and he is liking other girls' pictures on social media, then it's a red flag. A man who can look at someone else and show interest by liking it means he doesn't care about your feelings AT ALL.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Celebrities Stealing Designs From Small Fashion Labels Is NOT A Good Look, And They Need To Pay Up

When larger, more established figures or brands steal from lesser-known independent creators, they are taking opportunities away from these creators while also profiting from someone else's work and claiming it as their own.

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B recently collaborated on their new single "WAP," with the music video also being released on Friday. Both Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B posted photos of themselves on Instagram to celebrate the premiere of "WAP." An independent designer quickly noticed that the rappers' matching tops were copies of a top she had designed last year.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

When You Have A Disability, Finding A Job Is Twice As Hard, Believe Me, I Know

We have got to create a safer work environment for people with disabilities.

"My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn't prevent you from doing well, and don't regret the things it interferes with. Don't be disabled in spirit as well as physically." – Stephen Hawking

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

7 Books That Are NOT In The Young Adult Genre That Will Change Your Life

Young Adult isn't the only genre that exists, so here are seven books that any book lover wanting to try something new will love.

One of the most popular genres in literature that everyone has read at least one book from is Young Adult fiction. Now, I personally can say that, in the past, I have been one of those people that only read from the YA section of the bookstore.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with just reading one genre, it's good sometimes to venture out of your reading comfort zone into the other book genres of the literary world.

In a previous article, I discussed the importance and power of words. The perfect example of this is literature and its impact on the world. Books have always played a crucial part in human lives, from how we are able to expand our knowledge to how we pass our time.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments