Last year a young college student jumped off the 9th story of a Philadelphia parking garage. On the surface she was seemingly happy and successful. On the inside she was mentally struggling from depression. There were no red flags and it shocked the entire community. She was a successful freshman at Penn and the one of the last people you would be expect to see on the national news for committing suicide.
Full article here:
This is an article I can relate to a lot. It’s not something I have openly talked about and honestly it was difficult for me to share nearly 4 years later. I hesitated to press publish but hopefully it can help someone who was in my shoes before it’s too late. Four years later I can truly see how seeking help allowed me to grow and allowed me to get back to enjoying life.
During college there were two points I struggled with mental anguish, anxiety and partial depression. The first was the transition from freshman to sophomore year of college. I was never homesick until going into sophomore year. I spent the first two weeks of sophomore year miserable and debating if I wanted to leave college almost every single day. After seeking outside help (and talking with someone), I ended up having a one of the best years of college. My college health center was really good at getting me exactly what I needed to be successful as a person and a student.The second time I struggled was the summer before senior year (nearly 4 years ago now). Coincidentally, I was also blogging at that time. I was struggling with three aspects in my life: my college majors (math and education), my long term relationship as well as the sport I had grown up with (swimming).
After getting into the classroom junior year and beginning my prestudent teaching, I realized I didn’t enjoy teaching anymore. I couldn’t see myself in the education field. I felt like I had wasted three years of my life. I was successfully completing the major on track but mentally I felt so worn out and I was miserable. I didn’t want to quit and feel like a failure but I was repetitively doing something I didn’t enjoy. I had taken a huge interest in my minor at the time (community health). I had invested so much time into my major, however, that I could not bring myself to leave. In my mind, leaving meant I was a failure.Swimming left me mentally exhausted. I had competitively swum for as long as I could remember. My coach, the team and everyone was great but honestly I had grown out of swimming. Going to each 2 hour practice seemed like a chore. I no longer enjoyed it and it mentally exhausted me.
The relationship I had been in most of college was crumbling. We had grown apart and every talk led to a fight. Courses made me miserable and practice exhausted me…when I found myself in an exhausting relationship I knew it was time for a change.
Finals came and went for junior year and I passed all of my courses. I headed back down to Virginia for the summer. My parents immediately knew something was not well. I was pale, exhausted and I was miserable to be around. As with the female in the article, my parents recommended talking with someone (a therapist). They recommended talking to someone who would listen and allow me to think clearly. I was thinking through a foggy lens. My vision was blurred of what I believed others thought would make me happy versus what I knew would make me happy.
The summer came and went. I went back up to school for my final year of college. I had learned more about myself during that summer than any other year of my life.I continued talking with a therapist. She gave me the advice I desperately needed of “do what makes you happy”. So to make a very long story short, I did three things. I made the changes we believed would make me the happiest. I won’t sugar coat it and was the hardest two weeks of my life. I was beyond scared to leave everything I knew.
- I changed my major senior year from math and education to community health.
- I left swim team
- I ended a relationship that had already crumbled
Without the advice and help from others I don’t know where I would be right now. Without several people including family and friends I wouldn’t have made any change. I would have grinded gears that weren’t grinding.
I know I wouldn’t be nearly as happy or successful. I know I wouldn’t be enjoying life as much as I am and wouldn’t be as happy.
After finding what made me happy, senior year was so good to me in so many different ways…
Often times we are too involved in our own life to see what is right in front of us. Our view and perception of ourselves is blinded. We do need the help of others whether we think so or not. If I had had not had several people reach out to me, honestly I couldn’t imagine where I would be right now. It’s important if you see friends, family or anyone struggling to reach out to them. You never know what a small positive comment, sign of concern or piece of advice can do for someone. For some it might save a life and for others it might alter their path to another direction.