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Clinical depression: The unacknowledged enemy of the college student

By MARANDA TANKERSLEY
On April 4, 2016

RECOVERY - Tankersley (second from left) is on the road to recovery, thanks in part to the counseling services provided by Tech's Counseling Center.

Ah, spring. The sun is shining, the temperatures are remotely higher than before and the amount of depressive episodes I face will hopefully decrease now that the weather is getting better.

Yes, you read that correctly.

My name is Maranda and I suffer from clinical depression and anxiety. I have days where getting out of bed is the hardest task I have to face that day and I struggle with getting through the day without letting my depression show. I put myself under immense pressure to be the best for everyone else, ignoring my needs.

Turns out that I’m not alone. 44 percent of American college students experience symptoms of depression, according to Healthline Network. To make matters worse, 75 percent of college students do not seek help for those mental health problems, and young adults diagnosed with depression are five times more likely to attempt suicide than adults.

Why do so many students neglect their mental health during some of their most important years in life? Is it because of the stigma society has put on mental issues? Is it the stubbornness of our generation, where admitting that we need help ultimately means that we are weak or a failure? Or is it the fear that our friends, family or classmates will judge us for having it?

All three? If so, I get that. I’ve been there. It’s taken years of pent up emotions and a multitude of bad life experiences for me to finally walk into the Counseling Center and say those three dreadful words: “I need help.” It took two years to admit to my mother that I had once attempted suicide, while I was away at school. I was (and still am) afraid of what everyone in my life thought of me and of the decisions I make on a daily basis. If you’ve experienced that or something similar, I’m sure I know how you feel.

But once I did seek help, the weight of the world has slowly been lifted off my shoulders.

It isn’t completely gone, but things have gotten better. I still have days where I don’t want to exist anymore, and I still have trouble getting out of bed for my 9 a.m. classes—but that’s something I work through, and it’s manageable.

Thankfully, Tech has an outlet for those suffering from anxiety and depression, or just simply need someone to listen or help with school. The Counseling Center and those who work there are here to guide anyone through the darkness and make college a better experience. No judgment, just help. If therapy and talking isn’t suitable for you, I’m sure they can help you figure out what’s best for you.

It’s time for us college students to reclaim our mental health and actually enjoy our college years without the weight of our friends Anxiety and Depression holding us down. It’s time we let go of our stubbornness, ignore society’s stigmas on mental health and get the help we deserve. If not for ourselves, for those we love and care about.

If I can do it, I believe that you can, too.

Writer’s note: Suicide Helpline: 1-800-784-2433, Tech Counseling Center (RUC 307) 931-372-3331

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