If you came in to see one of our Evanston therapists or had a telehealth appointment, we might suspect you were dealing with depression if your life sounded a little like this.
Lately, you’ve just felt off. You don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. Your friends check on you to make sure you are doing okay. You’d rather just stay in and not do anything. If your friends convince you to hang out with them, you never really have a good time.
Life these days just seems so hard. You feel you really shouldn’t complain because a lot of people have it a lot worse. Sometimes you tell yourself, “Just shut up. And stop complaining.”
You know you’ve been stressed about grades. The pressure is intense. Everything is so exhausting. This pain in your neck and shoulders caused by the anxiety won’t seem to go away. What is going on with my body?
Of course, we wouldn’t want to make assumptions about you or what you are going through. Our Evanston Counseling therapists (meet us here) would take time to get to know you better and hear more of your story before suggesting you may need therapy for depression.
College students and depression: You’re not alone
Maybe you can’t identify if you’re depressed, why you are feeling extreme sadness, or how long it’s been going on.
But, you wouldn’t be alone if depression started to creep into your life while at college.
In this study, the results are telling:
A survey of 45,000 college students conducted at nine public research universities, including both undergraduate and graduate students, found that more than one-third of college students were suffering from major depression or anxiety disorder in 2020. These college depression rates were twice as high as in 2019, and the anxiety rates were 1.5 times higher.
I’m sure you’re not surprised by these statistics. You are experiencing a time in your life with many significant challenges and stressors and can relate to the findings.
What does depression look like?
Your biochemistry and genetics – Your parents could have passed depression on to you; depression can be inherited genetically. The quantity and types of chemicals in your brain might make it more likely for you to have depression.
Personality – The following personality traits are characteristic of someone who has depression
- Low self-esteem
- Pessimistic outlook on life
- Low capability to handle stress
- External factors, such as exposure to violence, abuse, or suffering a significant loss
If you’ve been dealing with depression, you might be showing up like this:
- Displaying negative feelings or emotions
- Feelings of sadness
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Diminished interest in participating in activities that you usually enjoy
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Unexplainable feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Unexplainable, persistent chronic pain
(Symptoms defined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness)
What can you do about depression?
Therapy – Let’s have a chat – Talking with one of our therapists at Evanston Counseling is a good plan. You can contact us here. We’ll help you look at your life through a broad lens. We’ll work with you to reframe negative thoughts that are getting you down.
What are your goals? What do you want life at college to look like? If you’re feeling so overwhelmed that you aren’t sure, come chat with us. Working with college students is our specialty. We understand what you are going through and want to help you to experience brighter days.
Medication – The best pairing with therapy. Research shows that therapy for depression is most successful when combined with psychotropics. While we won’t push you to take medication, there are many antidepressants available which will help to take the edge off, so that you can make the best use of your therapy.
Check in with your primary care doctor or we can help you find a local psychiatrist who can work with you to find the right medication at the right dose. Taking the medication will lessen the weightiness of how you’re feeling.
New behaviors and habits – Try a few. They really work. On this blog, we’ve mentioned several times some of the new behaviors and habits that will help you to feel better. You can read about them in more detail.
If anxiety, stress or depression need to be kicked to the curb, try a few of these habits. This is the type of advice that your mom, friend, or minister/rabbi might give you.
- Eat a healthy diet (get some veggies in with your ramen)
- Sleep as much as your schedule allows
- Exercise or get in some movement (personal dance parties count!)
- Limit drinking
- Drop recreational drug use
- Connect with family and friends
Yes, they’re obvious, but let’s not discount them.
If you feel sad enough to want to end your life, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You can find someone to talk to 24/7. They have several free resources for you and will keep your call confidential. Or call 988.
One of the most important things to remember
Reach out to us if any of the behaviors sound like you. Depression can lead you down a road that might affect your future. As this healthline.com article states:
Depressed students are at a greater risk of developing problems such as substance abuse. Depressed college students are more likely to binge drink, smoke marijuana, and participate in risky sexual behaviors to cope with emotional pain than are their non-depressed peers.
If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, and stressed about college life, call us at (773) 983-8444 for a free, 15-minute phone conversation with one of our Evanston Therapists. We will listen and direct you to the right person to help you with your anxiety.
Or you can schedule a time to chat with us here about how therapy in Evanston or online can help you feel better about your life.
Are you looking for therapy for school stress, anxiety, life transitions, or relationships? You can read more about how our therapists can help here.