Is Anxiety and Depression Common in College?

Stress comes in all shapes and forms, here's how to deal with it in college.

Have you ever been so overwhelmed and stressed out that you couldn’t function? You know, where you just felt so low that no matter how hard you tried, you just couldn’t muster up the willpower to pull through and take control of your situation? 

“Being stressed is like having so much to do and so much to think about, but you can’t bring yourself to do anything at all.”-  Dasha Shaw, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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This post is for anyone out there struggling to be happy and to not get overwhelmed by the constant stressors of school. I want you to know that you are not alone. And, that we are going to get through this together.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of depression or anxiety?  Most would probably say that it means you’re “crazy,” “you don’t know how to handle your problems,” or that you’re “weak.”  These common misconceptions are some of the major culprits preventing young adults from seeking help, and this is especially true in the black community.

“Unfortunately, there is a strong stigma within the African-American community that deters many of us from seeking help because we are supposed to be viewed as strong. I think that culturally-speaking, and considering our history in the United States, we have that strong black woman or that strong black male stereotype which some of us take on to protect ourselves against social oppression. However, embodying those stereotypes can in turn harm us and prevent us from seeking out mental health resources.”- Ciera V. Scott, MS, Pre-Doctoral Psychology Intern, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

First, I would like to dispel the notions that experiencing depression or anxiety means that you are “crazy,” “weak,” or whatever other false claims that people associate with it.  It is pretty common for college students to experience this kind of emotional disarray, so don’t look at yourself as the odd man out.  Give yourself some slack! As college students we go through some pretty tough experiences during our four years that most wouldn’t endure in a lifetime.

I know we all go through times where we wonder, “Am I ever going to get through this?” but instead of letting those feelings bring you down, find ways to pick yourself up.

You can:

You’re more powerful than your shortcomings. Don’t give up!

Malia Brown (@iammaliatyler) is an ESSENCE College Ambassador, writer and on-air personality. She attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and majors in Political Science and Journalism. She reports on beauty, pop culture, and lifestyle news.

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