I am in a really bad place. For about a month now, I have been getting depressed. I'm starting to hate myself more and more. I am finding it hard to want to go to class, I've been falling behind in my classes, and my grades are not as good as they use to be. I feel like I have no one to talk to. I don't want to bother my friends, they are all busy and I feel like they don't have the time to talk to me. I can't talk to my family. I don't want them to be disappointed in me. I've thought about going to counseling center, but I don't think I can do that again. Last year, I had went there a couple of times and it was uncomfortable for me. It was hard to open up to a complete stranger. I just feel I have no where left to turn. I feel completely lost.
Signed: Lost & Depressed
Dear Lost & Depressed, Sorry to hear that you have been struggling this past month. Charlie is glad you wrote and hopes this exchange will help you to start feeling better. The symptoms you describe are, indeed, consistent with depression. For example, you cite not wanting to go to class (low energy and motivation), falling behind in classes, feeling self-hate, not wanting to talk to friends (social withdrawal), and fear of disappointing others. Other symptoms of depression sometimes include: feeling anxious, excessive crying, feelings of hopelessness; difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. Charlie wonders if you’ve been experiencing any of these as well. It can feel daunting to be, as you say, “in a really bad place”, but Charlie wants you to know there is hope. Depression is the most common mental health issue and it is very amenable to treatment. The success rate for significant improvement within the first year is approximately 70%. Studies have repeatedly shown that, for most people, the most successful treatment method is some combination of counseling and medication. You mention that you have been thinking about the Counseling Center. However, you say you hesitate because you tried it before and “it was uncomfortable for me. It was hard to open up to a complete stranger.” Though difficult, Charlie encourages you to try again and to do your very best to stay the course. You will likely find that, after the first few sessions, you will begin to get to know and trust your counselor and the process will get much easier. You may even find yourself looking forward to the next session. In addition, you may want to consider antidepressant medication. If you come to the Counseling Center (285-1736), your therapist can help you to find a medical professional on campus to do an evaluation and prescribe medication as appropriate. Or, if you prefer, you can initiate this process yourself by contacting the Health Center (285-8431) or a family physician. Hoping this encourages you to seek the help you need, Charlie
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