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Odds & Ends

The Ebb-and-Flow of Depression and Anxiety

By: Staff Writer

It can be a hard topic to talk about, but anxiety and depression are very real feelings for some of us. There are those of us who may never experience these feelings, but for the rest of us who do, the feelings of sadness or anxiety can be as predictable as the tides. It is an ebb-and-flow cycle of sorts; it's certainly not desired, but it comes and shows itself, nonetheless. According to Mayo Clinic, in the 2021-2022 scholastic year, "44% of [college] students reported symptoms of depression and 15% reported seriously considering suicide in the past year." According to the Spring 2022 National College Health Assessment, more than 1/3 of college students are diagnosed with some type of anxiety type disorder, with rates around 34.9%.

On the eve of my 21st birthday, a young man took his own life right before my eyes. The duplex I was living in at the time had been robbed shortly before, and I was under the impression that this man (I never did learn his name) was here to rob me again. Instead of saying something, I waited and watched from my window for him to make a move. Instead, I inadvertently witnessed this young man hang himself in a cypress tree in the park next door. I only realized this when someone walking their dog came to the park and cut him down from the branch he was hanging from. I was mortified. And I have never forgiven myself (and I don't think I ever will) for not speaking up. Could my asking him something as simple as, "What are you doing?" have stopped him from making this terrible decision? Unfortunately, it's an answer I will never have.

I think, in many ways, this event strongly contributed to my own anxiety and depression woes. In 2020, I fell into the worst depression of my life; I seriously considered ending it all. I wrote out letters and began figuring out the distribution of my most important possessions along with who would be responsible for the caretaking of my pets. And while I did finally get out of this low, I keep these letters and notes as a reminder to myself that even in my worst times of sorrow, there is a tomorrow, and things do get better. Since these events, I have tried to live as selflessly as possible. I strive to be an advocate for this topic and will be an ear for anyone who needs it, a friend to anyone who wants one.

That said, LSSC offers up to five free counseling sessions through its Student Assistance Program (SAP). Following that link, you will find an online form to fill out, after which you will be connected with a local counselor. You can also find help through the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 or by using their website to access chat and other resources. Remember you are not alone; you are loved, and WE are here for you.

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