Seeking help for mental health isn’t admitting defeat

Addressing mental disorders make them more real, but also more manageable.

Kathryn Schultz

Just before winter break, I walked into Boynton to directly address my mental health for the first time.

A heavy pit formed inside of me at some point between middle and high school, which grew and shrank in cyclical tides.

I blamed that pit on living in a small town and insisted I was simply misunderstood — like some quasi-Angela Chase poster child of the sensitive teen in a nineties sitcom.

Unfortunately for me, the pit didn’t go away in college. During my sophomore year, it grew to take up more space than ever. I felt unstable. It interfered with my schoolwork and became harder to keep under wraps.

When I finally made the trip to the U’s mental health clinic, I was diagnosed with depression and general anxiety, prescribed medicine and appointed with therapy. At first I was intimidated, but ultimately I felt relieved. Getting a diagnosis and taking medicine felt like actual, productive steps toward feeling better. My medicine isn’t a magic wand, but so far I feel generally more carefree and excited to take on the new semester.

Mental disorders like depression and anxiety are common among college students, but it’s hard to take the initiative to address them for the first time.

Tending to mental health should be a normal step in everyone’s self-care routine. This is especially true in college, where stress can feel like a permanent fixture in a library-ridden life. For other first-timers, an easy place to start is mentalhealth.umn.edu.