Mental Health in College.

So, the past few months I made a few mentions of how I was feeling down or overwhelmed. I try to keep things upbeat and happy here, so I never really got into it, but I was brushing things off and I need to get real with y’all for a minute.

I wasn’t just feeling down or overwhelmed, I was depressed. I learned the hard way that depression can happen to anyone – even if your life looks perfect from the outside. My life felt like it was going in a downward spiral and there was nothing I could do about it.

MENTAL HEALTH

It all started with nightmare induced sleep deprivation and went out of control from there. I was paranoid and upset most of the time, and I transformed into someone I didn’t recognize. I’d always prided myself in being optimistic and upbeat, but my mind quickly shifted and I found myself thinking unusually dark thoughts.

My mind would go from being terrified that no one cared about me, to wishing that was the case so I could disappear without hurting anyone in the matter of minutes; and I could feel the old me slipping away.

Life went on like that for the better part of last semester until finally I had a public breakdown and had someone tell me: “Hey, what you’re feeling is not normal and you deserve to be happy, you just need to get help.”

Somehow I had managed to brainwash myself into thinking that what was happening in my head was OK and something that happened to everyone. I didn’t think I needed help until I got it, and things are slowly getting better everyday.

At the time I didn’t realize how quickly I was changing or how serious things were getting. Being on the upswing I can recognize that I should have gone for help a lot sooner than I did, and I’m sure there are so many people out there in the same situation I was in.

I am nowhere near back to ‘normal’ but I’m inching my way in that direction and that all stemmed from letting myself be honest and vulnerable. If you’re feeling poorly please don’t let it get out of hand like I did.

Talk to someone. Anyone at all, and let them know how you are feeling. Plus, if you are in college there are a ton of different resources you can turn to!

As a quick note, I am taking a semester off school to take care of my mental health. I really didn’t start making big progress until I made this decision, and while it was never part of my life plan (or the plan anyone else in my life had for me) it is something I feel that I really need to do in order to keep myself from deteriorating further.

In the meantime I am going to be putting more time and energy into blogging, and I’ve emailed an organization that I’m really excited about to see if I can volunteer there! I am excited to use the next few months to heal and grow!

 

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  • Ahhh, so glad you got the help you needed! Depression always seem to have the knack of making people think that what they’re feeling is okay. I also took a break from school, and although it wasn’t what was originally planned it worked out way better in the end! Would also love to hear about the journey with the organization:) Glad you’re doing better ❤️

    xx, Kristine (Eloquatedsecrets.com)

    • Me too! Depression is tricky that way! I am glad to hear that it worked out wonderfully for you! That’s awesome! And you will! If they let me start volunteering with them I’ll definitely talk all about it! I’m quite excited!

  • Anonymous Gangster

    I’m so happy that you realized this and decided to change the outcome. I can’t wait to see what awesome things life has waiting for you. 👏

  • So happy that you were able to realize this before the situation got potentially worse! Your mental health is the most important thing, and I am so glad you’re taking time off to take care of your well-being. Good luck, Morgan!!

    xx shirley
    http://www.classifiedcloset.com/

    • Thank you so much, Shirley! I am too 🙂 I am lucky I had people looking out for me! Thanks for stopping by! <3

  • Ane I.

    Morgan, what you did is one of the bravest things ever (apart from blogging about it, too!), and I am so happy for you. I went through depression last spring semester, and it was definitely one of the hardest (if not the hardest) experiences of my entire life. Believe me, you will get better. You took the most important step, getting help and doing changes to feel better will get you in the right direction to stand above it. If you ever feel down and you need somebody to talk, please do not hesitate to reach out, I’m here for a fellow Illini! 🙂
    Love,

    Ane | Basque Prep

    • Thank you so much, Ane! I know it was one of the scariest! I am so sorry to hear that you dealt with depression, I wish no one ever had to!

      Thank you so much, you are so sweet to say so! I’ll be sending an email your way soon!

  • Oh Morgan, this post is so beautiful. I am so proud of you for taking time off and prioritizing your health. I have a lot of experience with mental health as well, and took this fall semester off to heal just like you are doing: http://saralaughed.com/index.php/five-years-later/. I can see your strength and courage in writing this post and I wish you nothing but the absolute best in these months away from school. You do you. Stay strong. And if you ever want to chat with someone who’s been there, let me know. Sending you love, sister. <3

    • Thank you so much, Sara! I really appreciate it! I hope that your fall semester was everything that you needed it to be, you are amazing! I really appreciate your offer to chat! I will reach out soon <3

  • This might sound weird, but I’ve been thinking about you a lot! I worried about you actually before I even know you were struggling with your nightmares and mental health. What you are able to handle is SO MUCH more than many could ever think about doing! I’m not saying this to tell you that you’ve taken on too much, I’m saying it to tell you you’re awesome! And it’s one of the hardest things to do is take time off from anything you’re proud of, like school. You do you girl and if you ever need to talk to someone random (which I have totally needed before) there’s always cafe kopi!

    • Elizabeth! I’ve been thinking about you lately, wishing we’d have connected a few more times before I left!

      Next time I’m up at campus (which I will be once or twice a month!) we should have a blogger brunch at one of the cafes! There are a few more bloggers beside you, Megan, and myself that I’ve found that go to U of I that I haven’t met in person yet. It might be a lot of fun!

  • I am so glad you’re okay! I’ll be praying for you as you take this semester off – I think that’s a good choice! Sometimes we get so caught up in accomplishments and plans that we lose sight of what matters.

    • Thank you, Ashlee! For this message and for always being so sweet! You don’t know how much seeing you in my notifications brightens my day! You are a beacon of light and I’m so proud of everything that you are doing!

  • Hi Morgan! I always read your blog and typically don’t comment for whatever reason, but I wanted to today 🙂

    I’m so glad you’re taking some time off to hopefully be able to relax and feel refreshed/renewed before tackling any more tough schoolwork. It sounds like you’ve worked SO hard throughout college and I definitely understand how all of the stress can start to take a toll. I really appreciate your mentioning resources for other students struggling with some of the same things, too. Sending best wishes and hugs your way!

    • Thank you so much, Liv! You are so sweet! I think I’ll really be able to get what I need to out of this time off and then jump back in like it never happened! (At least I sure hope so!)

  • Morgan, I know I haven’t reached out to contact you in a while.. (hi! I’m still here!) but this was exactly what I needed to watch today.
    I hate being that person who says “oh no I totally relate and understand!” but, what you said really really reflects the way that I have been feeling.
    I know that I suffer from depression and anxiety, but I have always been too scared to reach out to my family or any professionals about it so it really stays buried and bitten back most of the time. Last semester I was working 4 jobs and taking 18 credits of classes. When people ask me why, I just say “a busy Dani is a happy Dani” but the truth is, when I’m busy I don’t have time to focus on my depression. It hides it. Last year was the worst, luckily things have begun to look up since I started my Her Campus chapter at my school, but I definitely still have my shaky days.
    I have considered taking time off of school, and after watching your video I am considering it more and more.

    I think that this video, and this post, are beautiful. This is the most raw and absolutely real representation of depression that I have seen online in a long time, especially on a platform such as this blog. I love it. I think that this could really help people, which I know is something you love to do. I hope that it helps you as well. Revealing your emotions like this can be absolutely terrifying, but also very freeing.
    I’m so excited to see where you take this site, as well as your new one, and I’m super stoked that now you’ll have more time than ever to focus on these things that you enjoy doing, as well as putting your mental and physical health first. You come first, always. I know, as somebody else who does so much and who wants to help other people more than anything, how hard it is to remember that… but you come first. I am so proud of everything you have done and how far you have come and I hope I am able to meet you in person sometime soon to give you a big hug.

    Also, and I’m sorry if this is repetitive because I’m sure you have gotten a lot of this lately, I am always here for you to talk to. Even if it’s not about mental health, even if you just wanna chat about what you’re watching on Netflix and a cool new blog you found on Pinterest, you know where to find me. <3

    • Thank you so much, Dani! I think we need to catch up, it has been a while! <3 I check in on Dani Dearest from time to time and it's so exciting to see the leaps and bounds you've taken with your blog!

      I am SO sorry to hear that you're struggling! Reaching out to my family was harder than anything else. I've always put on a mask of happiness and ambition with them, talking only about the good, and my goals, and my successes. So telling them that I'd been faking for so long was so hard. I don't know what I expected, but things went over so well. They were accepting (a little sad, but I knew they would be) and it feels better knowing that I don't have to pretend with them anymore.

      If your school has a counseling center that might be a great resource! I just hope that whatever you do you are able to find happiness and peace! And like you offered to me, I am always here to talk!

  • I have suffered with anxiety stress disorder my entire life, but never did anything about it. I always thought I could control it. Then, when I got pregnant, I got a little depressed, and after my pregnancy, I had PPD…and I was teaching part-time. That sat on top of my anxiety and I started to spiral down. I wasn’t being a good teacher, a good mother, or a good wife, and I was just feeling like crap. So, even though it is hurting us financially this year, I decided to take a year off from teaching and get on some anti-anxiety/depressants. I am doing so much better. So, do what you need to do to take care of your mental health!

    • Oh my goodness, Tayler! I am so sorry to hear about what you’ve gone through! But I am so glad that you did what was best for you and that you are feeling so much better! That is fantastic, and it gives me a lot of hope, too!

      Thank you for sharing that with me, it really is so encouraging!

  • Morgan, I’m so glad you’re getting the help you need and I’m glad you’re doing what you need to do to help yourself. The way you feel reflects the way I’ve been feeling lately. I know I have anxiety and depression but I just can’t really reach out to anyone except my boyfriend, I’m just too nervous to. I tell myself no one wants to be my friend at school or work and I just talk down about myself so often. So I keep myself busy so I don’t think about it. Hopefully, it’ll turn around. Regardless, I’m so glad you see that you’re not a failure for taking a semester off and taking care of yourself. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish during this time off!

  • Blondes & Bagels

    Morgan I am so damn PROUD of you. Mental health should be treated just like physical health and unfortunately in this country – it just isn’t. There’s a stigma or a lack of awareness. When you aren’t physically feeling well you go see a doctor. When you’re emotionally upset or something is happening, the reaction is usually “it’ll pass.” I’m so proud of you for making the decision to take care of yourself first and foremost – you rock! You are taking on a TON of stuff at a very young age and all that progress can come with some real stress. Focus on you, focus on the things you need, and keep it up! And if you ever want to bond with someone over public meltdowns and anxiety attacks I’m totally your girl.
    Sending you lots of love today!
    xoxo Kelsey

  • Hi Morgan! I wanted to say thank you so much for putting this out there! I know a lot of people struggle with mental health issues (myself included) and it is such a stigmatized topic! I am glad that you have been doing things to feel better, and you will feel better! There will always be tough patches, but you will get through this. Please let me know if you need anything at all. If you are still in the campus area, let me know and we can meet up and grab coffee sometime!

    Cassie
    My Pop of Color

  • Taking time out to look after your mental health is TOTALLY worth it in the long run – this is coming from someone who probably should have done it and didn’t.
    My school marks suffered, and even though I managed to complete my degree, I was not happy with myself. I’m back at uni again now, after making sure I took the time to fix my mental (and physical) health, and everything is so different this time around.
    Take the time you need, and we’re all here to support you gorgeous girl!

    • Thank you so much! I agree, it’s already made a world of a difference! And good for you on making those changes and going back! That is so amazing and encouraging to hear! <3

  • Making the decision to seek help is one of the most difficult and terrifying experiences anyone can go through, especially when you aren’t really sure what’s wrong. Thank you so much for sharing your story!