It’s not easy being a college student. Despite what others might think, most college kids don’t spend all their time sleeping, eating, and drinking. There’s plenty to do and worry about between classes, work, friends, and extracurricular activities. Not to mention the frequent reminder that soon we will be facing “the real world.” All these daily commitments and stresses add up leaving many students experiencing depression or anxiety.
[david]Depression is a disorder that affects a person’s body, mood, and thoughts. People suffering from depression are not just moody or having “the blues” for a few days. A depressed person will experience long periods of sadness and may lose interest in his or her social or daily activities.
“Depression is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away,” said licensed professional counselor and professor of psychology David Novicki. “People with a depressive illness cannot merely ‘pull themselves together’ and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, and years.”
Some symptoms of depression include miserable or irritable mood almost every day; loss of interest or pleasure in activities such as work, friends, sex, or hobbies; a sudden change in appetite or weight, inability to sleep; agitation or restlessness; constant fatigue; frequent feelings of guilt and worthlessness; and difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
“If a person experiences most of these symptoms over a two-week time span, it is necessary for that person to reach out to a friend, family member, physician, or counselor at school to properly diagnose them,” Olin Health Center psychiatrist Leigh White said. “Depression is an extraordinarily treatable illness. Over 80 percent of patients can be cured with the proper treatment.”
It is estimated that 19 million Americans suffer from depression every year and that an average of four million Americans suffer from general anxiety disorder (GAD). The good news is that, with the proper treatment from doctors, family, and friends, four out of five patients will improve.
Separate from depression, GAD is when a person suffers from persistent worry and tension that is much worse than the anxiety that most people experience from time to time. A person cannot seem to forget or “snap out” of the mood, despite engaging in an activity meant to distract them from anxious thoughts. GAD does not happen suddenly; it develops over time. To be diagnosed with GAD, one must have anxiety for the majority of days in a six-month time span. The main symptom of GAD is an exaggerated or unfounded state of worry and anxiety caused by problems of health, money, family, or work. Other symptoms of GAD include restlessness, feeling on edge, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and difficulty falling or staying asleep. If you experience more than three of the symptoms listed, you should contact a counselor, psychiatrist, or physician.
Many students find they feel depressed or anxious at times but may not be in need of medication or clinical help. During these times, there are things they can do to distract themselves.
“When I feel overwhelmed or anxious, I talk to my sister and my best friend from high school,” international studies junior Crystal Collins said. “I try to distract myself by playing my guitar, writing poetry, jogging, and spending time with friends.”
Another student, no preference sophomore Daryl McElmurry, said: “When I am experiencing mild sadness or loneliness, I react by playing solitaire, talking to people online, talking to my boyfriend, or maybe staying at the Union so I can be surrounded by people.”
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or GAD, contact someone that you feel comfortable with whether that may be a counselor, friend, family member, professor, or doctor. Olin Health Center and the Counseling Center are both excellent resources located on campus that can help students who aren’t just suffering from a bad day.

One thought on “Not Just a Bad Day”

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