If You Feel Lonely In A Crowded Room, You're Not The Only One
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If You Feel Lonely In A Crowded Room, You're Not The Only One

I learned that there is no "quick fix" to mental health.

If You Feel Lonely In A Crowded Room, You're Not The Only One
Amanda Bahnam

As I just graduated from college, I'm finding myself reflecting on the past four years. One factor I found that made a major impact on my college experience is my mental health.

I remember feeling guilty. I was guilty that I was sad and not able to emulate the happiness and energy that those around me appeared to have. I was guilty that although I was constantly surrounded by people, many times I still felt all alone. This guilt stemmed from all the amazing opportunities and adventures that I had around me and my confusion on why I was unable to fully enjoy them. I felt as if I should not be sad because I had a chance for education, great friends, and great family. I put myself in environments where I was constantly surrounded by people, whether it was my classmates, girls that lived on my hall or my sorority sisters. I wanted to make those around me happy and laugh because the thought of having them know deep down that I was feeling sad and alone had me shook to my core.

Because I was bottling in my sadness and my confusion on why I felt lonely, these feelings began to intensify and became harder for me to mask. It was becoming more and more difficult to wake up every day and put on the facade of being the "normal college student." This led to an eventual decline in my overall mental health. I began to withdraw from my friends and family, I began to put all my priorities on the back burner and found myself with no energy to even get out of bed. I felt so lonely. The feeling that was overbearing at this time was the anger I felt towards myself for not being able to just push through and pretend. Even pretending became something I could no longer have the energy for. I watched those around me flourish, while I felt I was remaining stagnant.

I knew that it was time for me to shed light on my inner feelings of sadness and frustration. I began to seek help.

Throughout my time seeking help, I learned to address my feelings inside rather than masking them. I learned that I had been struggling with depression as well as anxiety and that this did not classify me as being "broken." I slowly began to open up to my friends and family about how I truly felt and experienced immediate relief that I did not have to hide. It was not by any means a smooth path after initially seeking help. I had internal struggles and experienced the inevitable ups and downs that are present in college. I was receiving help and counseling for three out of my four years of college. I wanted so badly to fully immerse myself in every opportunity that college had to offer but realized that I must be mindful and realize that not everyone experiences or feels that same way as I do.

I learned that there is no "quick fix" to mental health.

You have to actively work every day to help yourself. I began to feel comfortable in letting my friends and those around me know when I was having a bad day or felt down. I learned to go slow and be kind to myself. As time went on, I discovered my own way of experiencing and juggling college and all the ups and downs it entails. I then learned that those people around me — those that I sought so hard to want to be, the ones I expected to be happy all the time, were also dealing with their own battles. As I became more educated, I learned that there is a need for mental health awareness all around me. I then realized all those feelings of anger, guilt, and confusion that overwhelmed me stemmed from the lack of light that is shed on mental health.

Before college, I received all types of "college hacks," but none of them included any insight into mental health.

My advice? Be kind and patient to yourself as well as others. You are entitled to how you feel and there is NO right or specific way to feel, especially during such a challenging time that college will be. Please seek help in any way that you can, whether it is counseling, confiding in people, etc. Tell your friends and family when you are not okay. This not only helps you heal but will also let those around you who are struggling know that they are not alone either. Always put yourself first, and never apologize for not feeling "okay" (whatever defines feeling okay). Most importantly, bad times are temporary. Just as there are sure to be bad times, the good times will always follow.

You are never alone.

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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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