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What No One Prepared Me for Before I Went Off to College

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College is supposed to be the time of your life. It’s the time to try new things, meet new people and discover who you are. You expect to make a ton of friends and go to a bunch of parties — maybe join a few clubs, or get an internship. People always say, “College will be the time of your life. Enjoy it.”

Well, I’m a junior now, and I’m feeling a little misled.

When I started my freshman year of college, I was ready. I felt I was prepared for everything. I’d read all the books, I’d listened to my teachers, and I was ready to start this “amazing journey.”

But there are a few things I didn’t know — that no one prepared me for.

No one told me when I got to college I was going to become severely depressed. No one told me I was going to develop at times debilitating anxiety. No one told me I would feel so hopeless and alone.

Being a college student with mental illness can be extremely difficult. Maybe that’s why no one prepared me. Or maybe no one prepared me because not enough people talk about it.

Either way, there I was, a freshman in college, expecting to make a ton of awesome friends and join a bunch of clubs — lying in bed, wanting nothing more than to just slip away into darkness.

But here I am today, a junior in college, with a mental illness, having the time of my life. Being a college student with a mental illness is often extremely difficult. You may have to work five times harder than what you expected. Many days it can feel like you’re climbing up an endless mountain. Sometimes it feels nearly impossible to do anything, and other times you’re completely consumed by your anxiety. At times you may feel hopeless and want so badly to give up…

But you know the great thing about being a college student with a mental illness?

You’re not alone!

You don’t have to fight these battles alone. You don’t have to find your way through your illness alone. Mental illness is not rare, and having one certainly does not make you any less of a person than someone without.

Being a college student with a mental illness is hard, but it’s not impossible. If you’re feeling down, lonely, hopeless — talk to someone, go to your school’s health center. There will always be someone there to listen.

Image via Thinkstock.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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Originally published: October 14, 2016
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