From a young woman in the U.S.: I don’t want to seem like I’m looking for problems or like I want to cause issues, but I know there is something wrong with me.
I have been having depression symptoms, I haven’t really talked to anybody but one person about it, and way they reacted makes me think nobody will ever be there for me. I haven’t been sleeping and when I do I have awful nightmares or I just can’t stay asleep. I’m in college and I have been dealing with migraines so bad that I had to miss almost two weeks of class, and now I’m so far behind, that there isn’t getting my grades up. I’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression for a while now, but I feel like its getting worse. I don’t sleep, I can’t get myself out of bed most days. I can’t get myself to answer the phone when my father calls because I’m afraid that he will hate me for wanting to leave college. I’ve had some people say that leaving will help me because its obvious I’m too stressed and there is too much going on and I’m not getting any better.
I’ve tried exercise cleaning, reading, and just doing about everything but take medication. Nothing seems to be working. I want to get better, I just don’t know how. I don’t want to worry my fiance or roommates. I don’t want to burden anybody more than I already have. But I also know that I can’t just let myself go down like this. I know there is more to life than just laying in bed and feeling like this. I just don’t know what it is.
I don’t think I’m suicidal. I won’t lie, I have thought about what it would be like for everybody around me if I weren’t here, but I don’t think I would ever try to commit suicide. I want to change and make my parents realize that maybe college isn’t for me and that I made a mistake.
I am so very glad you wrote. It is not “causing problems” to try to get help. It is the opposite. You are trying to find solutions.
You are right to be concerned about yourself. You are clearly stressed and stressed more by the stress. These things can get into a negative cycle. You can’t sleep because of the stress. Lack of sleep makes things worse. You’ve done everything you know how to get better on your own but it isn’t working. Clearly you need some help.
You do need to talk to a qualified counselor ASAP. You have been heroic in trying to take care of yourself all by yourself. Now it’s time to call in a consultant who can hear your unique situation and give you the support you need to heal.
I hope the college you are attending has a counseling service available. If so, use it. College programs are very familiar with situations like yours. In a 2017 study by the American College Health Association, researchers found that 40% of college students experienced symptoms of depression that were serious enough that they had a hard time functioning. College counselors have a great deal of experience working with people who have anxiety and depression.
Leaving school isn’t always the answer. Sometimes students benefit by getting extensions in classes or by just dropping a class or two. The advisability of going home depends on what you will do when you get there. If you retreat to a dark bedroom and give in to the depression, you will only get worse. But if there are supports there that are not at school, then it might be a good choice to go home and get into treatment.
I hope you are wrong about your father “hating you” if you take time out from school. He may be upset that you are in such a bad way. He may not understand why. He may think he can simply talk you out of depression with a pep talk or an angry push. He hasn’t seen how you have been suffering so he probably won’t understand the depth of the problem. Another reason to see a counselor is that a counselor can help your father understand how best to help you.
Please get the help you need and deserve. With treatment, there is every reason to believe that you will heal and go on to be successful in whatever you choose to do.
I wish you well.