Depression is one of those terms that can mean a lot to different people as there several severities of depression. For someone like myself who has suffered in the past especially during my University years it was particularly difficult. Being that may students will soon be coming back from Holiday break; this time of year, can be particularly harmful to many who struggle and going back to school makes it even harder.
A particularly difficult time for came in the Spring of 2007 when I was trying to finish up on my graduate degree, I had a unfortunate bout of severe depression. There were other factors that caused this depression one was my lack of employment, an unhappy home life as I was living at home, lack of friends and relationships all compounded it for me.
Let’s just say that my depression took an unfortunate turn for the worst and I am thankful to be here today to enjoy what life has to offer now. It was a very pain time in my life that I try not to remember, but at the same time taught me valuable personal lessons I carry till today. During that time, I almost went off track from my studies but it was my studies that kept me focused on the bigger picture.
For those who struggle and who had suffered during your uni years you may understand that School is a way to get your mind of yourself for a moment, which for those who deal with depression is looking to forget ones issues and problems and just feel normal. I felt the need to keep pushing to have to comradery of my classmates and professors as they were the ones I felt truly cared.
Sleep may not seem all that important to those who suffer with depression but it’s a necessity in our life regardless if we feel we don’t need it. As someone who has suffered it can be exhausting when our minds continuously spin all day and night thinking, planning, worrying as it grows heavy on our shoulders. For many you may need to see a physician to be prescribed something to help you sleep usually in the form on anti-depressants and sleep aides which do help because I have personally used them feel refreshed the next day.
The more the sleep the better but if you can get 8-10 hours of sleep a day that is recommended even if you must schedule your course load to take a course later in the afternoon or even evening.
Avoid using your phone or computer during those times which naturally for many can be a way to relieve stress and feel connected put those things away.
Eating healthy for me was not a top priority at the time, something I regret as it had lasting effects for years. Living in the United States we are a fast food nation and I ate me causing my weight to balloon to unhealthy levels causing me further depression and physical limitations. I think many of us forget that although we are all different shapes and sizes weight, physical appearance can have an affect over how to perceive ourselves. I saw myself as unworthy, obese and ugly.
Another area I didn’t care about was getting proper vitamins, although I was taking my medication for my depression my body was missing the nutrients I needed. Some may be wondering what my idea of healthy is, well let’s start with home cook to start and build on the food groups, Meats, Fruits, Veggies and Grains to start. Try to limit sugar intake like sugary drinks like soda.
Some of you may be going no way, that is how I socialize with my classmates, how I unwind from a hard week, I personally would avoid it all together especially if you are taking medications. If you must drink keep in moderation and get a sober driver or take a lyft or uber to take you home.
I personally didn’t discover of the love of the gym late in my adult life, something I personally could have used back then but I didn’t have too many in my life to introduce me to those types of activities. Exercise, whether its as a gym or your local park can do wonders for your mind, body and health so I encourage you to do it. When I discovered my love for the gym I slowly weened myself off anti-depressants, something I only recommend doing with a doctors guidance.
As a student you are under constant pressure to study, prepare and at school not leaving a lot of time for you, but make that time to unwind such as spending time with family and friends, go to a movie, read a book. I personally loved going to the movies, taking long drives up the coast, shopping but it all in what you consider to be fun.
Self-care is so important during these precious times in Uni especially if you are suffering with depression, know that you are not alone, please speak to someone if you are feel suicidal and definitely see a doctor. All too often as people we try to be strong and go at our struggles alone feeling as those we are strong enough to take on depression without help, but it took me years to realize I should have been asking for help and then it all hit me at once. Make it a habit to speak with people friends and family about what you are going through, you don’t need to be afraid or embarrassed.
Being apart of a Uni, you are part of an organization who although care about your academic success should have resources for your personal life because those go hand in hand.
I am thankful I was able to get through those difficult times in Uni, not everyone is so fortunate as many have difficulty coping with going to school, living life and suffering with depression, but you can do it and be successful. Give yourself a break, don’t be so hard on yourself and remember you are important, you have value and each day you have a fresh start so take that fresh start and build your life and be victorious in your life.
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