College Students: Depression is a Trip

Katie Riegel writes a great read about depression. Many many people suffer with depression where a strange sadness traps your feelings even if there is no identified reason to feel that way.

How do you go out, work, play when you just need to cry?
Her post is found here:

Source: Depression is a Trip

Depression is a trip experienced by many college students.

Once I hit college at 18, was it the new stress of moving to a big city and not knowing anyone? I began to experience my emotional self just turning off. No crying, no laughing and just a strange neutrality.

I would be quite functional for a week but then i would have to cry in the shower to get something out.

The strange fog would lift in a few days if things were well or linger linger longer if things were more stressful.

As I got into 2nd year I finally made some new friends (Ottawa) and some who suffered clinical depression much more intrusive than mine. One of these kind souls noted our similar love of similar music and suggested I find a way to listen more often and just listen and play my guitar more.

Playing my guitar for myself alone for hours, time just went by and i would be tired and finally sleep. Waking, and I felt back to me again. Like myself.

Sure enough Sony Walkmans were around and my Sister gave me her machine after getting a newer model. It became my bus partner listening to my bag of tapes, custom mixes mostly, and CHEZ-106.

I found hours of listening to specific music over and over could bring my lack of emotion out from the the place it had vanished into. That black hole. For me its not sadness so much as feeling neutral. Kind of like Mr Spock. No emotions.

Now after a couple college degrees, three post docs and being a professor, I am not that bothered by stress or loneliness. Your brain is still developing its coping skills at 18. We are very much works in progress.

Recent surveys on university campuses indicate well over half of our students feel a sense of depression or anxiety during their undergraduate years. So. If you do, its normal. That is ok. But tell a friend or parent or visit your student health center on campus. Your own Doctor even.

Do not use drinking or any other drug to anesthetize the way you feel though. That can take you to a bad place that can harm you. Do talk to someone.

I have my guitars and my private playlist on youtube with songs that heal my soul. My escape from event horizon play list.

That and a good hug from a loved one works for me. Sadness can remind us we are human. I find that pains over losses remind me I am human and I likely need them to be a leader, a listener and a problem solver.

So hang in there if you find college stressful and new, and yes a bit lonely at first. Do join at least one student group or activity. Do walk or other exercise too. If you feel down more than you feel up, do talk to your doctor or get an appointment with the Student health services on your campus.

Ken Mitton, PhD
Associate Professor
Oakland University

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