I’ve suffered from depression for nearly six years, since I was 16. It runs in the women of my family and we all have our occasional “episodes.” I know I’m having one when I fantasize about slitting my wrists and slowly bleeding out into an empty bathtub.
But it’s not the end. When you’re depressed, it feels like there’s nothing you can do, but really there’s nowhere you can go but up. Just take it one day at a time like I do.
It helps to know that I’m not the only one struggling; 44 percent of college students have reported feeling some of the symptoms of depression.
Common symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, loss of energy, loss of appetite or overeating, and insomnia or constant fatigue, which are all normal for college students.
But if any of the above are accompanied by feelings of worthlessness, loss of the will to live or lack of interest in things you used to care about, it’s time to tell someone. To do so could save your life.
Twelve percent of the students involved in a 2010 health study conducted by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and the University of Maryland said they had thought at least once about committing suicide, and nearly 25 percent of that group reported they’d thought about it repeatedly.
It’s a slippery slope. Thinking about it can lead to planning it, which can lead to doing it, or trying to.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students. According to the same study, 1,100 depressed college kids kill themselves every year.
On top of everything else, depression weakens the immune system and leaves us more susceptible to getting sick, which only makes life even harder when balancing work, school and life’s daily struggles.
I personally am sick nearly all the time with at least a cold; this semester alone I’ve battled strep and the stomach flu.
But not all hope is lost. It’s possible to come back from the edge.
Identifying that you have depression is the first step. It doesn’t get any easier from there but, with help from people who care about you, it doesn’t have to interfere with your life.