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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Since I was a young child, I struggled with insecurity and inexplicable sadness. Being only 9 or 10, I didn’t really understand what was going on. All I knew was that sometimes I would feel bad for no reason and just start hurting and crying. I never really talked to anyone about it or tried to understand why it was happening, I just tried to push through and be strong.

Years later, when I started high school, it became much worse. I felt sad and lonely, even though I had many friends to spend time with. I also convinced myself that I wasn’t as smart as my classmates, even though my grades were as good as theirs. I felt so out of place and cried so much that my eyes were constantly red and puffy. I truly wanted to transfer schools because I felt like I didn’t belong and wasn’t smart enough to be there. 

I decided to stay, and my sophomore year was a big improvement. I found a real friend group and joined more clubs and extracurriculars that I had wanted to try. I wasn’t plagued with the sadness and loneliness that had hurt so badly freshman year. I thought the rest of high school would be fun and exciting, and was looking forward to the next 2 years.

However, my junior and senior year turned out to be the toughest years of my life. My personality completely changed, and instead of being the fun-loving and energetic person I had been before, I was sullen, quiet, and subdued. The worst part of all was that nobody seemed to wonder what was going on. All I wanted was for someone to ask me if I was okay, but nobody ever did. It wasn’t until I got into college that I realized nobody actually perceived this change because I did my best to hide it. When I was a senior, I began to suspect that I had some form of depression. I decided to visit my school counselor, but she was terribly unhelpful. Not only did she make me feel bad for coming to her, but she belittled me and acted like I was being overly dramatic. I left her office feeling worse than ever, and decided that I was never going to seek professional help again. I powered through the rest of high school by leaning on my friends and trusted adults, but I wasn’t getting any better.

The isolation of quarantine and the online year of college really took a toll on my mental health and my study habits. When I finally arrived on campus this Fall, I was excited to have a real college experience. I enjoyed the first month of classes and didn’t struggle to stay on top of my assignments. I joined some clubs, regularly exercised, walked around campus, enjoyed football games, and did all of the things that I had been waiting for since last year. 

Unfortunately, about 2 weeks ago, the semester started to get more intense and I became completely overwhelmed. I was sick, tired, and unmotivated. I laid in bed for hours each day, only getting up to eat and go to class. I slept way more than I normally did, and lost my appetite. I let my online assignments pile up, and let my room become a mess. My clothes were all in a heap, the floor was dirty, my desk was extremely cluttered, and my bed was a mess of unwashed sheets and blankets. I was embarrassed and ashamed of how my life was unravelling, and I didn’t know what to do. 

Luckily for me, my roomate is an incredibly amazing and supportive person. She got me to get up and clean the room, and I immediately felt much better. We had a long talk about CAPS, and she recommended that I give it a try. I was nervous about discussing my mental health since I had so many bad experiences before, but I decided that I needed to take some time to address what was going on.

I set up my first appointment with CAPS two days later and immediately regretted waiting so long to take care of my mental health. The therapist I met with was so sweet and amazing, and she provided so many helpful resources for me. We chatted for a bit, then she told me that she was going to set me up with another therapist for future treatment. Since then, I’ve been to some groups that have been so positive and uplifting. I realized that needing help is nothing to be ashamed of, and that I should have done it sooner. 

I encourage you all to take advantage of MSU’s mental health resources because they are so amazing and helpful. I know that it can be scary to talk about, but I promise it’s worth it. I was worried that I would be judged or made fun of for needing help, but it wasn’t like that at all. MSU therapists truly care about you and your well-being, so give them a chance to listen to you. I promise that you won’t regret it. 

Rachel is a 2nd Year Student at MSU's James Madison College studying Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy with a double minor in Business, and Science, Technology, Environment, and Public Policy. After graduation, she hopes to become a public interest lawyer or work in some government sector. She is an avid camper and enjoys spending her time in the great outdoors fishing, hiking, or bird watching. Rachel also enjoys reading, cooking, crocheting, and trying as many bubble tea places as she can find.
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