One in four young adults suffers from a mental health issue, and I am one of them. My mom always said I was born with two extra worry genes, and eventually my diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks would prove her right. Obviously, suffering from a mental illness makes everyday things a little harder, including school. Concentrating on work or what my professors were saying was becoming harder and harder, and trying to make myself go to a class where I had to work in a group was a challenge because of my anxiety. Thankfully, I had amazing friends to support me and the Health and Counseling Center at Naz was there to help me figure out how to manage my anxiety and succeed in school, too. They offer free time-limited counseling sessions, group therapy, and have a licensed psychiatric nurse in once a week as well.
I won’t lie, adjusting to college is incredibly tough for a lot of people, and I struggled initially. My anxiety held me back from a lot of things; going out with my friends, talking to new people, and putting myself in new situations were all out of the question for me on bad days. However, after getting help from the mental health professionals here at Naz, I was able to control my anxiety better and manage my time and commitments. It still takes a lot of effort to walk into the crowded library without thinking all eyes are on me, but being there with my friends made it easier. Balancing the stress of my homework with things that made me relax, like snuggling up in bed to watch Netflix, made college seem less scary and serious.
Even though dealing with anxiety seemed like such a struggle every day, my friends always made it seem a little less awful and I’ll always be grateful to them for it. Just having someone there to vent to or give me a pep talk when I was feeling stressed out or panicky made me feel ten times better than when I tried to deal with it on my own. Never be afraid to reach out to friends or even the mental health professionals at the Health Center because they are there for you and no one should have to deal with mental health issues on their own. The Mind Over Matter club, which focuses on promoting awareness, increasing education, and removing the stigma around mental health, is also an outlet for students who are struggling with mental health issues and is a great option for connecting with peers, rather than just adults, for help and support. If you need someone to talk to or just want more information on how to manage mental health in college, please call the Health Center at (585) 389-2500 and make an appointment. Even if you don’t have a mental illness, they are there to help all students feel better, as it’s not easy for anyone to go through college on their own.
You can also read about Molly’s experience dealing with mental health in college here.