Are You Feeling Overwhelmed by Your College Experience?
Do you ever feel anxious about juggling your school work and college life? Do you find yourself more irritable, hostile, or angry? Have you lost interest in your usual activities and friends? Have you noticed a significant change in your sleeping or eating habits?
The college experience can be extremely tough and anxiety and depression affect college students more than we realize. It can be obvious that you are depressed or anxious if you frequently cry and seem to have less energy. You might wonder if what you are feeling is a normal experience of the stress of college because your symptoms are less noticeable. Every day you go to class, get together with friends, and do your typical activities; however, there is a feeling of heaviness, sadness, or loneliness that hangs over you. If this describes you, then you could be feeling anxiety and depression. You might be more irritable and frustrated with some angry outbursts. Your sadness or irritability might last for several weeks without any change and it can be difficult to pinpoint a specific cause for your mood. You may have started to withdraw from your friends which exacerbates how you feel because you spend too much time alone to escape or hide. Your grades may have slipped which could be because of how you are feeling.
Depression and anxiety can be serious health problems that impact all areas of your life. In addition to social and academic challenges, you may have some physical symptoms like sleeping more than usual, changes in eating habits, headaches and other pains, and having a difficult time getting out of bed. You might have felt a heaviness that you cannot seem to manage or get rid of. When you become so overwhelmed with negative thoughts and feelings, you might have thought about harming yourself which can be challenging to manage without assistance from a therapist and possible medications.
Acknowledging and identifying your depression and anxiety and its impact will be the beginning of helping yourself be less troubled by your symptoms, more energetic, and engaged with your friends. With the right support and guidance, you can learn skills to navigate those overwhelming feelings when they appear.
It is Common To Struggle With Depression and Anxiety in College
Everyone has times when they feel upset and overwhelmed; however, college students seem to have more challenges with their emotions because their maturing brain is not fully equipped to successfully handle all of your feelings each moment. It can feel like you are all on your own and no one else is going through a challenging time like you are. This can prevent you from seeking help. But the truth is that college students are seeking mental health treatment in unprecedented demand. In spring 2017, nearly 40% of college students said they felt so depressed in the prior year that it was difficult for them to function, and 61% of students said they had felt overwhelming anxiety in the same period.”1
Going away to college can be a challenging time. They have to adjust to new surroundings, a new school, making new friends, and possibly being away from family. Some college students handle this transition well and others might have a hard time coping with all of the changes.
A report completed by Harvard Medical School shared that “only 11% of American college students sleep well, and 40% of students feel well rested only two days of the week.”2 There are so many activities that college students are busy with (classes, studying, friends, late-night parties, extracurricular activities, sports, and work), that it is not surprising that many of them struggle with getting enough sleep and relaxing enough to fall asleep and stay asleep. The lack of sleep could be contributing to the anxiety and depression college students feel.
College students often believe that they should be happy and pushing themselves constantly to experience all that college offers, but this might make you feel overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious. A common reaction is to just attribute your crying to stress, your irritability to being a college student, and your lack of interest and energy to having too much on your plate. Depending on your coping skills, you might give yourself a pep talk or try to dig in more to your work to gain some control. Unfortunately, ignoring the problem and trying to distract yourself from the symptoms you feel could be detrimental. It is so difficult to recognize the signs of depression and anxiety in ourselves when we feel overwhelmed.
Some college students start to use drugs and alcohol as a coping strategy to escape from their feelings and try to fit in with their peers. But drug and alcohol use on college campuses is a serious health issue impacts all areas of a college student’s life including physical health, mental health, sexual health, school performance, and relationships with peers. Drugs and alcohol reliance creates more challenges in a college student’s life and might exacerbate a student’s symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Depression and anxiety are treatable and with the right guidance and support, I am confident you will learn to recognize your feelings, understand what might be causing the depression and anxiety, and learn coping strategies to feel better.
Depression and Anxiety Counseling Can Help You Feel Better
I have been working with college students with depression and anxiety for over twenty years. A strong relationship is vital to assist you to manage your symptoms as it provides you with the space to understand what is happening. I provide a warm, compassionate, and safe environment for you to share your concerns, build upon your strengths, and guide and understand the areas that need growth.
I see all young adults as unique and not fitting into a cookie-cutter mold which I believe allows me to build a rapport with you. I help you to focus on what you need and want to get out of therapy. If you have spoken with a therapist previously, I explore what you did and did not like about therapy so I can tailor the therapy to you. Overall, my goal is to help you feel some relief from the stress of depression and anxiety and gain confidence for the future. In our initial sessions, I will address the concerns you have to ensure that I understand the magnitude of the problem. Many young adults have difficulty communicating their needs and working with a therapist allows you to practice advocating for yourself. I find people buy into the therapeutic process if they feel that the therapist will be honest and keep their confidence.
Many of the young adults with whom I have worked benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT). This treatment helps you to recognize and identify the repetitive thoughts that keep you static and stuck in their depression. Cognitive-behavioral techniques can help you to adopt new thoughts and gain greater awareness of how you can manage your depression and anxiety in a new way.
You will gain skills and confidence from treatment that will help you beyond college and through the rest of your life. I see a light at the end of the tunnel for your stress. I am confident with the right guidance and support you will feel better and more confident in the future.
You May Still Have Questions About Depression And Anxiety Counseling
Are my depression and anxiety something serious?
Depression and anxiety are common illnesses that can leave you feeling helpless and despondent, it can make it difficult to work, rest, and eat. The pressure to succeed can become too much for any college student. Thoughts and emotions may spiral out of control. If left untreated, it can lead to other more severe symptoms and/or suicide. When it starts to affect your way of life and socializing with others, then it’s time to consider taking action to remediate the illness.
I think I might have depression or anxiety and need help, but is counseling going to help?
There is a stigma often with seeking counseling. Reaching out for support is the hardest step on your path to recovery. People often feel embarrassed or ashamed of their symptoms and are afraid to ask for help and believe the support will help. In the same way, you wouldn’t feel ashamed for seeking medical care for a physical health condition, there is no reason to feel embarrassed for seeking help or a mental health condition. Mental health conditions are treatable and with the right support, you can feel fearless and build on your future.
You Don’t Have To Let Stress and Depression Control Your Life
If you would like to feel more secure and confident in your life, I would be honored to help. Please call 747-998-2148 to set up your free 15-minute consultation to see how counseling for anxiety and depression could help you.
1 Reilly, Katie. Record Numbers of College Students Seeking Treatment for Depression and
Anxiety – But Schools Can’t Keep Up. Time. March 19, 2018.
2Best Counseling Degrees staff. The Top 10 Mental Health Challenges Facing College
Students Today. March 2017.