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Having Mental Illness in College and How I Persevere

by Avery Nixon

It feels as if my future is predetermined by something other than my hard work and accomplishments.

It feels like I could work as hard as I can, get involved in everything possible, be a model student and still end up a total failure.

It feels like I’m just waiting for the day I crack and lose myself for good.

Why do I feel this way? Why do I feel like such a disaster despite winning awards, having a strong resume, making tons of friends and going above and beyond the typical college student? I feel this way because of the chemical imbalances in my brain that have left me with depression, attention deficit disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and a plethora of other issues.

It’s the second week of school and I have cried more times than I can count. On top of that, I hold high positions as the opinion editor for The Montclarion and vice president of Her Campus. Truthfully, I have contemplated quitting all of the activities I’m involved in. As much as I love everything I do, sometimes I just feel as if I’m not cut out for it and I’d be better off rotting away in my bed watching “South Park.”

My poor roommate, Krisha Ravishankar, hates “South Park,” and for a good reason, it is a horrific show. I doubt she would enjoy seeing me losing brain cells and watching Eric Cartman say every offensive thing known to man 24/7. Because of my love and respect for my roommate, I always decide to keep on going and power through the depression, only watching “South Park” every single night rather than the entire day.

It’s still a hard thing to get through and persevere. I feel like no matter what I do, I will always be mentally ill. I’ll always have panic attacks over literally nothing, believe everyone hates me, be detached from reality and struggle to get back into it.

I know this isn’t a unique situation. Tons of other students feel the exact same way. That is why I believe it’s important to tell my story because I have beaten depression numerous times and continue to fight it today.

Struggling with mental illness in college can be one of the most difficult things in life. We’re on our own for the first time, a career and adulthood are creeping up on us and we have a constant workload that piles up.

So, how do people struggling with mental illness overcome it?

In my situation, it’s a genetic condition that makes me feel this way. I go to a psychiatrist and take medication, but I’m aware not everyone can access healthcare or professional help.

After medical treatment, I repeatedly do the same few things that get my head on straight. I typically try cleaning my room so it’s a calm and relaxing environment, eating healthier, having spa days to treat myself and writing, like I am doing right now.

Once I’m feeling good and productive, I tackle my next obstacle: doing my work.

For me, battling depression is mostly pushing myself to do things and having to constantly tell myself that once I do them, I’ll feel much better. It’s a good idea to set a day and time to do all your work so you can enjoy the rest of your week.

As for my other responsibilities, The Montclarion and Her Campus, I have to remind myself that these are the best things to ever happen to me and I’d be devastated if I wasn’t involved in them.

Honestly, The Montclarion saved me during my freshman year and I’m sure it’ll save me again in the future.

I know I will probably slip into depression again. My mental health is like a cycle for me. While the duration of my good and bad periods is unknown, I know there’s a possibility of it happening all over again.

But I also know that I will pick myself up out of it and find myself however many times I have to.

I hope that anyone who is struggling can pick themselves up too.

The last thing that gets me through it all was something my high school English teacher, Mr. Horn, said to our class on the first day of my sophomore year, “Don’t pick a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

I will never forget that.

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