I would be lying if I said that depression did not play a role in my college career.
In fact, it played a pretty big one.
I had this misconception as a freshman that I had to be the best in every class (4.0 could still be accomplished after all) which led to a certain estrangement from family my very first semester here at OU. Thank god it still is the only time in my life when I went for weeks at a time without talking to my sister. I am so grateful to be able to look in my parents’ eyes and feel the love and care that they so graciously afford me despite the chaos of their own lives.
I experimented with Goddard at the time, and the experience was lacking. My intake appointment was scheduled two months in advance, and we met rarely. I can’t say the entire experience was wasted because the institution is bad because I was still learning how to formulate all my innermost thoughts, desires and emotions into words that somebody else could understand (my blog has been a tremendously helpful tool with this, too). However, when I went back into counseling just a year later, my experience with the graduate counseling services was so much better. Until it got shut down.
There is so much stigma around depression that it can be hard to believe a student when they claim that their severe depression affected their studies or general responsibilities. I avoid telling professors at all costs my weaknesses because I do not want them to think that I am taking advantage of their generosity and understanding.
That being said, I want to scream to the void that I just cannot keep up with school AND extracurriculars. I simply cannot take 15 credit hours, work for sustenance, participate in research, and go to club meetings/events. My generation seems to define ourselves by what few hours of sleep we get, # of internships that we apply to, and # of clubs that we participate in. How do people possibly balance these aspects of college?
Tangent aside, depression comes in various forms and linked to a variety of events. It can begin due to environmental, physiological and social reasons.
With that in mind, I surround myself with amazing, supportive people that will always have my back. There are many outlets in which to express myself: music, sketching, running, learning new languages, dance, cooking, etc.
I have learned some physical aspects about myself that lead me down the dark path unless I take heed–vitamin D, warmth, and exercise. That is just to name a few, but these three are especially crucial to avoiding seasonal depression.
The one thing that I’ve never be able to quite get right, however, is how social interaction can spur a bout of depression. It’s not to say that talking to people makes me sad, or that spending long spans of time with people is bad.
Since this territory is largely unknown still, I do not quite know how social interaction affects my tendency towards depression. On some level, I am sure that it is fear. This is the kind of fear that we all share: what if others think badly of me? I seem to have surmounted the challenge of liking myself despite what others may think, but I still would like to have solid interactions with my peers. I overthink what to say during small talk situations and end up saying nothing at all.
This builds up over the course of the day, and I end up sharing nothing. I am drained because of this internal struggle, so it has never been easy to participate in a club all semester long.
I must address these issues because it is far to difficult to keep pretending on my blog that all these light and joyful events define my emotional roller coaster that is the college experience.
Now that’s off my chest, I’ll be back soon with your regular scheduled programming of international events from this past semester! I swear I’ve had fun too