During college, students deal with a unique amount of stressors including moving away from home for the first time and balancing class work and social life. If students do not feel adequately prepared to cope with the new environment, they may become susceptible to depression and anxiety. If you think you are depressed know that you are not alone many people feel depressed at some point in their lives. There is help available and things can get better. The resources on this page are here to help you understand depression and provide ways to cope.
Depression is not just feeling blue from time to time. Depression is characterized by a long standing, daily feeling of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness and emptiness. A depressed person has a negative view of the world and may see no future for themselves. They may even feel like the world is closing in around them. The changes in the person’s mood are evident to friends and family. The person just does not seem like their normal self.
A depressed person has a loss of interest and energy to do the things he/she normally enjoys doing, things like working, going out, or being with family and friends. Most people with depression also experience problems with eating and sleeping. They may either eat or sleep too much or too little. A depressed person’s memory and ability to concentrate will often be impaired too which can affect their performance in college. The person with depression will also often be more irritable or feel restless.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Depression:
- Persistent sad, anxious or empty mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping
- Appetite or weight loss
- Overeating and weight gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Suicide attempts
- Restlessness or irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain
The diagnosis of depression is given when a person experiences these symptoms every day, for at least two weeks and the symptoms interfere with his or her ability to work, study, sleep, eat or enjoy once pleasurable activities. Depression can vary in intensity for different individuals and can vary over time for the same individual.
Ways to cope with depression:
- Challenge negative thoughts. Depressed people often think things like “things will never get better.”
- Avoid alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol can actually make depression worse.
- Manage stress. Look at where your stress is coming from and make a plan to decrease it.
- Look at things one day at a time. Set and work on small obtainable goals rather than focusing on the whole semester.
- Take care of yourself. Eat a well- balanced diet, get enough sleep and exercise.
- Have positive supportive people around you.
- Do fun activities. Once you are doing the activity you might enjoy it. Being active and laughing improves mood.
- Do something nice for someone. Doing nice things helps improve mood and increases feelings of purposefulness.
- Write in a journal. Express your feelings as opposed to holding them inside.
- Talk to a friend or counselor.
If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, please call the Counseling Center at 404-413-1640, or come in for an appointment during walk-in hours. The Counseling Center has counselors who can help. Counseling Center also has a Relaxation Room with a massage chair and other resources for stress relief. In addition, the Mind-Body Clinic can teach meditation to help individuals feel more at peace and in control of their lives. If you are feeling suicidal call 404-413-3333 (on campus) or 911 (off campus) or call the on-call clinician at the Counseling Center at 404-413-1640.
Apps that may help with depression:
- Bloom – Reminders to make healthy choices, stay connected with others, manage stress, strengthen your spirit, save money, advance your career and enhance your creativity.
- Simply Being Guided Meditation – Voice guided step-by-step instructions for meditation and relaxation
- Simply Yoga – Contains 20, 40 or 60 minute yoga routines that step you through each pose. Each pose is demonstrated by a certified personal trainer. Simply choose your workout length and follow along in the comfort of your own home.
- Music Therapy for Refreshment – Medium Speed Alpha Wave (10Hz) set in five melodic music pieces provides a relaxing way to restore your vigor and bring about a refreshed mind.
- Cognitive Diary – Use to record dysfunctional thoughts.
- Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help – This app can teach you how to recognize thinking that interferes with achieving your goals in life and how to change that thinking.
- DBT Self-Help – DBT Self-help is a tool that helps you manage overwhelming emotions, break destructive impulsive behaviors, navigate relationships and cultivate mindfulness. It contains skill descriptions complete with rationale and practice tips that will enable you to develop and practice the needed skills.