Moving beyond my anxiety to a more comfortable space
By Guest Blogger, Riya Patil
Riya Patil is a rising junior at New York University, majoring in Global Liberal Studies. In her free time, she enjoys catching-on to TV shows two seasons after everyone else, trying new food, and hanging out with her family and friends.
Unlike most freshman students who are eager to start their first year of college, I was dreading it. The idea of leaving home and going to a place I would be on my own was daunting, to say the least. I simply did not want to do it. Most of this dread can be attributed to the summer before my freshman year. Upon graduating, I had been excited to spend that summer with my friends. Unexpectedly though, that summer was the first time I experienced anxiety. The thought of going to a school, to a city, where I alone would have to figure things out caused me such a great deal of anxiety that I would lay in bed with my heart racing, unable to calm myself down.
I wish I could say that once college started things got better. Instead, during my first year of college I developed depression for the first time in my life. I would sleep in until 1 pm and even then, have a hard time getting out of bed. I lost much of my appetite and ended up losing weight. I always felt as though I was on the verge of tears. However, as I was feeling all of these things, I also noticed that many other students were struggling too. It was not until I started talking to other students that I finally started to feel as though there was a way out of this. Talking to other people who were feeling or had felt the same things that I was feeling helped me and them immensely. After all, suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 15 and 24, so no one is suffering alone, though that is almost always what it feels like.
Ultimately, it wasn’t until I finished my freshman year and was able to come home and rest, that I finally started to get better. On the bright side, even though I was apprehensive starting my sophomore year, fearful that I would experience much of what I did my freshman year, my sophomore year ended up being much better than I could have imagined, though of course there are still moments where I do get down. Some of the things that helped me and I would recommend to others are:
Participate – Do activities, be it through school clubs, dorms events or simply with friends. Connecting with other people, even if it is simple, can go a long way on a day where you are not feeling your best.
Talk – Find people who you can talk with about your mental health, be they friends, parents or professionals. As was the case with my first year, once I found someone I could talk to about my mental health I was much better able to understand what I was feeling and feel less alone.
Listen – To genuinely listen to someone is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. I know I have benefitted from others listening to me and listening to others has also helped me.
Social media is not reality – Remember what you see on social media is what someone is choosing to show of themselves, so do not beat yourself up if it looks like everyone else is having a good time and you are not.
Above all else, remember you are not alone. Seek help when you need it and offer help when you see someone struggling and together we can move beyond this.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit the Jordan Porco Foundation’s resources page.
The opinions expressed in this blog are personal, and not those of the Jordan Porco Foundation. The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as mental health advice from the individual author or the Jordan Porco Foundation. You should consult a mental health professional for advice regarding your individual situation.