I like my depression seasoned
There is one thing I know about you: you spend a lot of time in your head. You overthink, analyse situations etc. and you might end up feeling blue. Sometimes you have to power to let it go, but sometimes you don’t, you get caught up in it. This is called seasonal depression. It might not be the first thing you discuss on your Friday night hanging out with your friends. So can I ask you, have you ever even discussed depression with your friends?
Research shows that 49 percent of students are dealing with symptoms of seasonal depression. What I’m trying to make clear is that anyone around you could be dealing with it, but just doesn’t talk about it. There is still some sort of taboo that people have when it comes to subjects like depression – and I agree. Talking about depression is not a fun thing to do, but especially for the tumblr millennials, it might be quite necessary.
In this world, ‘depression’ is a term that connects to a certain disease. It’s almost like we’re afraid to use the word, because we would call ourselves or others ‘sick’. What we need to realize is that depression is not a disease. It’s more like a phase, or a trap. You get caught up in it, and if you want you can stay forever, but you can always find your way back out. I see depression like a bacterial infection. How quickly would you go to the doctor to get medicine for an infection? It is no different for depression. The doctor would give you some medicine to reduce the symptoms, but the real cure takes time and lies within you.
In the beginning of my freshmen year I even dealt with some issues myself: major mood-swings, feeling down and sad, unable to concentrate at school and sleeping problems which led to feeling tired all the time. We could all say that these are signs of seasonal depression, which usually starts around October and lasts until February. In science, this phenomenon is called S.A.D: Seasonal Affective Disorder. S.A.D is the type of depression that’s linked to changes in seasons. For most people S.A.D happens around the same time every year: wintertime. This is the time of the year where S.A.D is at its highest level. The shorter days and longer nights, the grumpy students, the rain and cold. All these things have a major influence on us. Most of us tend to get moody, depressed and really really SAD. But like literally sad.
So what can you do about it?
TALK AND LISTEN
We tend to forget that everyone deals with something in their daily lives. You are not alone. Stop isolating yourself and speak up. Stop planting negative seeds in your garden. You deserve to be happy. Find yourself someone you feel comfortable enough to vent to. If you don’t have anyone around you, visit a therapist. This might seem like an overreaction, but it’s actually quite normal. Did you know that 40 percent of all university students frequently visit a therapist? Including myself. In exchange, be a good listener. Your friends might need someone to vent to and sometimes that’s going to be you. You don’t need to say anything. Just listen. You will be surprised by the powers of letting someone vent get all the energy that releases from letting it out. You might even learn something from it.
LET GO OF LABELS
Depressed, sad, forever alone, stressed – all these labels do not define who you are. You are not defined by your current situation, your past, your issues, your mistakes or anything else someone calls you. You are more than these labels. If you accept these labels, sooner or later you will be making decisions based on these things, which will turn them into reality. Choose to see yourself as someone worthy of happiness. Accept who you were in the past and start paying attention to who you really want to be in the present moment.
We often feel bad for skipping that party, or postponing assignments. So I am here to tell you that you need to give yourself a break. Staying home and doing nothing won’t kill you (or someone else). Your health and well-being are way more important than your appearance at a party or that deadline. Make time for yourself. Students have a hard time doing this and don’t understand how important it is to spend time with yourself. Read a book, cook yourself a meal, take a long bath or decorate your room. Do things that genuinely make you happy! While doing this, learn to be alone and enjoy it. We often think we need someone in our life, to either spend time with or give us the love we deserve. Yet we can give ourselves satisfying attention and love.
Also spend time on your physical health. I recently started yoga classes from Jolanda Ruissen. She recently opened her own studio TOBEYOUNG located in the center of Rotterdam, where she provides yoga and mindfulness classes for students! Yoga has many health benefits, both physically and mentally. Taking these classes helped me to find my peace in the busy student life. Definitely recommend you to check out her website for more info: www.tobeyoung.nl.
Last but not least: don’t take life too seriously! I am a proud supporter of our education system, but not getting an A+ or failing your exam is not the end of an era. Overachieving will set you back in other aspects most of the time. Try observing the problems that you are dealing with from a lighter and more neutral perspective and see them melt like snow on a summer day. Remember, there are always solutions for everything that occurs in your life. The universe is self-correcting and self-organising: everything will be fine. So when you come home at the end of a long day, your parents or roommates will always be down for a hug. Get some love, give some love and know that you will be fine.
By Elika Rahimzadeh