Because college often involves many challenges, transitions, and demands, it is not unusual for students to become depressed. The following information provides guidance to students who have concerns about depression.
If you are having concerns about depression, please know that you do not have to deal with depression alone. The Counseling and Wellness Center is here to help and support you. We know that opening up to a stranger isn’t always easy, but our trained professionals are experts at helping people get back on a healthy path.
If you wish to speak to someone about depression, you are welcome to schedule an appointment by visiting our office or contacting us ta (603) 897-8251.
Everyone feels “down in the dumps” or “blue” from time to time. These feelings sometimes follow difficult experiences—the death of a loved one, the end of an important relationship, and other losses or traumatic events.
It is normal to feel sad at times like these. It is also normal for these feelings to lighten fairly quickly and eventually pass.
With clinical depression, these feelings may or may not be associated with a particular event; they may seem to come for no specific reason and without warning. The feelings are more severe, and they last for most of the day over an extended period of time.
If left untreated, depression in college can have many negative effects: difficulty maintaining motivation and concentration, poor academic performance, substance abuse, unhealthy decisions and behaviors, and even thoughts of suicide. But depression is treatable, and help is available. The first step is to be aware of the symptoms.
Symptoms of Depression
|Feelings||Thoughts||Physical Experience||Behavior Patterns|
|Sad or gloomy||“Nobody likes me”||Difficulty concentrating or making decisions||Spending more time alone; avoiding others|
|Flat, dull, or restricted||“Things will never get better”||Change in appetite – increased/decreased||Arguing with people more often|
|Irritable, cranky, or aggressive||“I’m a burden to others”||Fatigue, tiredness, lack of energy||Poor hygiene and self-care habits|
|Guilty or self-critical||“I’m a failure.”||Sleep patterns changes||Little interest or pleasure in doing things|
|Empty, inadequate, or despondent||“I can’t take much more of this”||Decreased sex drive
Tearfulness or frequent crying
|Reduced academic/work performance|
|Worthless, hopeless, or helpless||“I wish I were dead”||Suicide attempt||Substance abuse|
Coping With Depression
|Shift Your Mindset||Remember the Basics||Shift Your Behaviors||Relax and Enjoy||Seek Support|
|Focus on the present, not the past or future||Exercise regularly||Reduce exposure to stressful situations||Meditate, pray, explore nature||Talk to a trusted friend or family member|
|Notice and challenge depressing self-talk||Engage in physical activities||Spend time with happy, positive people||Spend time with people you care about||Contact the Counseling & Wellness Center|
|Focus on the positive aspects of your life||Eat healthy foods||Do something creative||Make time for fun||Get professional help|
|Explore your gratitude||Avoid alcohol and other drugs||Modify your schedule to reduce stress|
|Set only realistic goals||Get regular sleep||Organize your time around your priorities|
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
For some people, depressive feelings recur seasonally, usually during the fall and/or winter. This type of depression is referred to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and seems to be related to a lack of sufficient sunlight.
The symptoms and coping strategies noted above also apply to those with SAD. Additional strategies that involve maximizing sunlight exposure include:
- Uncovering your windows to let in every bit of sunlight available, especially in the morning.
- Taking day trips to higher, sunnier elevations
- Utilizing a light therapy box, which emits artificial light