Studying at college you face a lot of challenges, very often get into stressful situation and may feel the pressure from people who surround you, that’s why you can be in good or bad humor. Feeling down from time to time isn’t something abnormal, but if it lasts for a long time, you may suffer from depression or other mental health problems. Your mental health is as important as you the physical one. If you feel some mental instability, you shouldn’t keep silent about such problems; on the contrary, you need support and advice. Who knows, maybe, you have depression – the most common mental health problem among students. It is a medical illness that is caused by changes in brain chemistry and requires treatment, so the earlier you start it the faster you will come back to your normal daily activities.
Before making any decision concerning your health status, you need to understand what you are dealing with and what the main symptoms of depression are. Many people neglect such illness, ignore the first signals and wait when they go away, but experience has shown that it is not solution to the problem. Now let’s take a close look at the signs and symptoms of depression:
- Feelings: sadness, hopelessness, pessimism, worthlessness, guilt;
- Troubles with concentration, making decisions and remembering;
- Change of the body weight;
- Problems with communication or its absence;
- Constant fatigue and lack of energy;
- Thoughts of hurting yourself, suicide attempts;
- Difficulties with sleeping (oversleeping, early-morning awakening);
- Skipping classes and other commitments;
- Loss of motivation;
- Substance abuse.
If you happen to experience some of these signs every day at least for 1-2 weeks, in that case you need help, because your chances to have major depression are extremely high. We should add that doctors distinguish different types of this illness. The most widespread ones include major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and psychotic depression. Frankly speaking, the list of all possible types is much bigger, but it isn’t the main topic of this article. Now let’s talk about in what way and where you can get necessary help.
The first and most decisive point is to share your feelings with someone. We mean you must be ready to open your soul and thoughts to other people, show you are interested in doing it. Talk to a person you trust. It may be your friend, roommate, member of the family, a counsellor or a tutor. Describe your feelings, let doubts, problems and other negative things out. Sometimes a patient listener, even not interlocutor, is the best treatment. After such conversation you will feel relief and find a second breath. In many cases mild mental health problems can be solved this way. Don’t be afraid of being blamed even if your academic performance is worsened, you can ask for a second chance to improve your grades, write some additional homework assignments and so on.
Another option is to ask for help at counselling service of your college or university. Almost all higher educational institutions offer their own free and confidential counselling services with professional counsellors and psychotherapists working there. Browse the official website of your university for detailed information and find out how you can make an appointment.
To keep up with your depression you can work with student-led services. To be honest, the staff usually doesn’t consist of qualified counsellors, but on the other hand, for some students it is easier to talk to a person with equal status. Discuss your depression and stressful situation with another student. You can also surf the Internet and rely on online self-help services. To be true, they are not so bad, as it may sound to someone. These websites cover a big number of helpful tips, real life stories and feature articles. On the whole, students mustn’t be overconfident in situations concerning their mental health, and if they can’t overcome depression on their own, it is better to consult GP.