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How Depression Is Too Much And Not Enough At The Same Time

Image via WeHeartIt

Οriginally publuished on readunwritten.com (with permission) 

Depression is not a bottle of pills and therapy. It is not an attention grabber or an excuse for missing class. Depression is the inability to get out of bed due to the sheer fact that the world is closing in around you. It is wanting to socialize but being unsure how without breaking down.

DEPRESSION IS BEING TOO MUCH AND NOT ENOUGH ALL AT ONCE.

Now add in university level coursework, living away from home, and working. Too many college students, this is the ideal set up. But to the one’s suffering on a clinical level, this is nearly impossible.

While in high school all I had wished for was to escape my hometown and at 18 finally had the chance to live 500 miles from my parent’s house while attending school. The entire summer before I was completely unsure about my decision, crying at night and paralyzed when it came to telling my mother how I honestly felt. All of my good friends were either away or going away to prestigious schools across the country, and not one of them decided to attend a Junior College. That’s the hard part of surrounding yourself with overachievers, you can’t fall back for even a second, otherwise you’re lost.

So, off I went to the large state school I had selected, getting all moved in and set up, I was finally beginning to feel at peace with my decision. That went away the second my mother waved goodbye to me and my watery eyes. I crawled into bed and stayed there until I needed to shower almost two days later. Everyone’s Instagram and Facebook lit up with social interactions, clubs, and successful choices. None of it felt right where I was. I missed my dog, my bed, my boyfriend, and most of all my parents.

After a full year of struggling to make more friends, finding the right fit on my campus, and making more than simply passing grades, I hit my wall. I was exhausted and felt inadequate, my school did not feel like my home, my friends were not lasting or supportive, and I still missed everything my hometown offered. My mother asked how school was and I lost it, revealing the truth about course loads, fake friends, and how no matter how long I spent studying I was barely scraping C’s. Long story short, my therapist got on the phone with my mother to inform her of my final diagnosis, and that he was insisting on me remaining at home. Clinical Depression was the root of my inadequate feelings, death wishes, and inability to focus on schoolwork.

I was finally back from the dead, eating properly every day, cutting out alcohol, and bad sleeping habits. I exercised every day and was on a low dosage of medication. Spending the semester back in my childhood bedroom got me to grow into a stronger, more mature person. I’m not going to lie, there were days that just felt like too much, that I wanted to wake up dead, that I couldn’t handle eating a full three healthy meals, and days that human interaction was just inconceivable. But I made it through, tall and proud.

The next step was diving back into school to accomplish a degree. I enrolled in a few classes at my community college and within a year graduated with above a 3.0 and an acceptance to one of the colleges ranked in the top 15% across the country. I had thoroughly researched the schools I applied to and knew this was the absolute best fit for everything I hope to be doing with the rest of my life. This time when I walked onto the campus as a prospective student, I felt at home, I felt connected, and I felt that I deserved this above all else. I now felt like I was at home somewhere. When I began college I never felt worthy of an education that cost so much, but now I know how to navigate school with the understanding of loving myself.

I think the biggest issue with mental health amongst college students is the inability to look in the mirror and know the difference between stress and true discomfort that comes with mental instability. There need to be more programs to help us distinguish between them, Suffering versus tackling depression is a night and day difference that too many college students suffer from but refuse to discuss. In my experience, I am now able to recognize when I am truly, peacefully happy and that happens to be at the new campus I began at this year. The girl who suffered through classes and embraced drinking buddies as true friends is gone, and the one who can balance carefully is being formed. Now onto joining new organizations around my wonderful new home.

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