Hello! Welcome back to Scholastic Monday! Today I’m going to talk about something that wasn’t mentioned in high school at all. That topic is mental health. I thought about this today after I went to campus feeling really anxious and nearly on the verge of tears because all the things that I haven’t accomplished yet, along with my fears and worries came to mind today. Luckily, I only had one class today, so I didn’t have to try and drag myself around campus like I’ve done some years.
However, there have been some days that I have cried on campus. Days where I was lost in a daze, until one of my friends or a nice person sat and talked with me. During those times I always thought I was weak or there was something wrong with me, when I thought about it and accepted that there’s nothing wrong with me. That it’s alright for me to cry, let it out, then work on making myself feel better.
One of the things they don’t tell you in any forms of schooling before college is the mental strain that you can go through during school. Each level of schooling from elementary to middle school to high school has some form of stress that you have to try and deal with, yet there aren’t that many sources to help kids deal with that. At least, in my school there wasn’t. Then you get to college where it’s one last step before going into the real world, trying to find a job, and be an adult when many times I don’t even feel like it despite being 26.
I’ve always had problems with anxiety and the occasional bout of sadness, however after my father passed away in August 2010, that pushed me to go to the free therapy services on my campus. There I was diagnosed with GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and Depression, two things that I’m fighting without medication at the moment. Some days I’m good, others I want to drop out and live in my bed, but throughout it all I’ve learned a few things that I would like to share today.
- It’s alright to take a break
When it comes to college, there are many different things you have to adjust to. For some it will be the first time living away from home, the first time managing your finances, accepting something about yourself, learning more things about yourself, and a list of other things that comes with college. On top of that there is trying to keep up with your studies with that debt that looms over along with the job market that’s not the best. It can be easy to be overwhelmed with all that, so one of the things I learned is it’s alright to take a break. It could be an hour, a few minutes, or a day, any time you can get a breather would be good.
- It’s alright to miss a day
Here is when that syllabus comes in handy again. Unless, you’re in classes were missing one will really affect your grade, I suggest taking a day off. I had to take one when I had a panic attack in the library last year. I wasn’t able to go to class and decided to take a day off. I took a walk around campus, bought a drink, and sat outside to take a deep breath. I already attended all the classes, contributed to the discussion many times, and did my papers on time so I decided that I could take a day off. However, I only recommend this method if it’s possible to do it. One of the things about college is finding time in your schedule and working around it.
- It’s okay to fake it
Sometimes there were times when I couldn’t take a day off or a break. During those times I put on my best face and stepped out in public. Many times I’m sure some people saw the cracks, but I couldn’t stop. There will be times where you’ll have to put on your best smile and get through the day as best as you can. At the end of the day, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. You got through the day, you got through that test, and you can do it again.
With college comes a lot of pressures not only within, but outside too. From family who might not like your major or pressure you to go into something that won’t make you happy. To friends who mean well, but don’t understand what your mind is telling you daily. Then there are some friends who don’t understand that telling someone “to get over it” doesn’t help. Students you have to work with, your job, relationships, significant others, and all the other things in the life that will add to the pressures of college which will make it seem more like a chore.
Don’t fret! Sometimes that happens, though one of the good things about college is the services that are there. Please use them if you can. It’s one of the cheapest forms of therapy and can help out in the long run. Don’t forget there are hobbies, music, and sites to help calm you down I’ll include a few in the post.
If you have any suggestions on how to relax I’d love to know.
See you next Monday!
Paul the study ghost says: Try to be easy on yourself this semester. You got it!
Here are some calming sites:
http://www.calm.com/ (this site has calming backgrounds for you to look at)
http://rainfor.me/ (calming rain sounds with a nice background)
http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/ (this site has a timer where you do nothing for two minutes. It’s good to help racing thoughts)
http://thequietplaceproject.com/ (this site offers calming projects for you to do)
If you have any other suggestions I’d love to know!