Living With Depression in College

Depression is an invisible aggressor. It’s a common illness, especially among college students, but no one seems to want to talk about it. That’s partly because of the societal stigma surrounding it. When no one sees the symptoms, it’s hard to realize its impact. What makes it particularly difficult for me, however, is mostly that depression is very difficult to put into words.

            I can’t remember the first time I felt this way. It’s not just one emotion to me, it seems like a range of emotions. It’s more than just sadness, it’s like the world itself is weighing down on you. Some will say that it’s like being trapped in tar, having to put a lot of effort just into moving at all.

            The things you used to love no longer appeal to you anymore. Just the thought of doing anything at all can feel like a monumental task. You find yourself barely able to do anything other than lay in bed and stare at the ceiling.

            The tasks and duties pile on and you find it hard to keep up with things. Your apartment gets messy and you get behind on schoolwork. You might want to try to catch up on your responsibilities, but there’s a sort of fog that follows you around and makes it difficult to function in your daily life. Getting up and walking to the kitchen might seem impossible. Sleep is the only escape, where you can take a sort of break from the world and not have to think about all the things you’re neglecting.,2,6

            Sometimes, it’s not sadness so much as not feeling anything. Nothing gives you any sort of pleasure at all and everything begins to seem pointless. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to anything. It’s like you’re drowning, but everyone else is still breathing and you think there has to be something fundamentally wrong with you for not being able to merely go about your day without strenuous effort.

            You feel like everything is crumbling, but you put on a façade of being okay. You wear a sort of mask to hide the suffering that you feel no one would understand. Your life and relationships you’re neglecting can seem to fall apart and not being able to understand or explain what’s wrong can make it even worse. Physically, you probably seem fine but you feel like you’re dying inside.

            And eventually, the emotional deadness can make you wonder what the point is in even living anymore.

            Even now, I struggle to find words that can accurately describe what I’ve felt and what I still go through today. I don’t know if words exist that can truly describe depression, which has also made it all the more difficult to realize I needed help. When an illness is in your mind, you can start to feel like you’re imagining things and that whatever you’re feeling is just temporary blues to be gotten over. This is a harmful mentality to have toward mental health, however. It took me a long time to finally get the help I needed and I now know that many others also suffer in silence out of fear or ignorance. Depression is a silent killer and now more than ever, it needs to be destigmatized and brought out into the open for the sake of those who still keep their suffering quiet. Mental health matters and should be taken seriously in terms of overall help. As someone who’s been there, I can confirm that counseling and treatment can be very helpful in getting your life back on track. It may seem overwhelming and scary at times, but getting it was worth my while to find counseling that fit my needs. I still do struggle sometimes, but I no longer see my life as such a hopeless cause.

To someone who hasn’t had to struggle with mental illness, it may not seem to be as big a deal as it is to the person experiencing it. It’s almost impossible to really put yourself in a person’s state of mind when you don’t know what the experience is like yourself. While you may not be able to understand it, what you can do, however, is be there when one of your peers is struggling. You may not be able to take their pain away from them, but you can let them know they’re not alone and you can also help them find resources for mental illness if they need it.


Resources for Mental Health Emergencies and Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: text TWLOHA to 741741