Overcoming Depression and Anxiety as a College Student
- Jan 26, 2017
All of my friends know that I have depression and anxiety. I don't try to hide it, and it's not something that I am ashamed of. It just so happens to be a part of how I experience life, and for me it is important to be honest about how such things have impacted me as a person.
So now, I will be honest with you, and tell you my tips on coping with depression and anxiety:
- Recognize that you are not alone. Know that what you are feeling is legitimate, and know that many people feel the way you do. In fact, there are probably people in your personal life who feel very similarly to you.
- Seek emotional support. There are people in your life that want to provide you with emotional support and to hear you out. Let them support you. Build a support network. Don't try to do this on your own. (Pro tip: don't try to lay all of your feelings out on just one person. No matter how wonderful and supportive they are, they are just human, and can burn out, too.)
- Destigmatize mental illness for yourself and the people around you. There is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental illness, but talking about mental illness and what it's like should not be taboo. You are just as much a person as those who don't have depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness. You are allowed to feel the way you do.
- Recognize that you can "have it all" and still be depressed or anxious. Mental illness comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it's the straight A student, the star athlete, or the most attractive person in the world, anyone can have mental illness. I've been asked before, "Why are you so depressed? You have this and that going for you." Refuse to accept such insensitive questions. Again, you have every right to feel how you feel, regardless of whether or not you "have it so much better than other people".
- Understand that your symptoms are not your personality, they are symptoms of mental illness. This one seems fairly obvious until you get an intrusive thought like, "Wow I'm a terrible person" or get irritated over something really dumb that you normally would never get irritated over. These are symptoms, and with proper help they will ease.
- Seek counseling. Talking to a professional can be really helpful when dealing with feelings of distress. They can help you work out your feelings, advise you on how to approach certain situations, and can also provide exercises to relieve negative emotions. (Visit the MSU Counseling Center here on campus.)
- Talk to your doctor. Your doctor can refer you to a specialist, they can provide you with resources, and if need be, they can write you a prescription.
- Put yourself first. Make sure that you are eating enough and sleeping enough. Drink enough water. Surround yourself with good and supportive people. Do the things that you enjoy doing. Find some creative outlets. And never forget that you are your number 1 priority.
To truly get better, you must seek help.