With the celebration of Honors conference week, there was a student panel titled “Anxiety & Depression in College Students.” At this event, Dr. Cox ran an information session followed by a student panel in Pickle lounge.
The event began with Dr. Cox speaking about depression and anxiety. He mentioned that those who suffer with these disorders believe, in some way, that they are in danger. He used the analogy of a lion in the doorway. People suffering from Anxiety, are often plagued with a feeling similar to the fear of a lion coming in through a door. To them, it does not matter if the door is locked or bolted shutâ€” that lion will come in through the window. The fear of the lion will always plague people who suffer from depression.
According to Cox, anxious people are always “prepared to treat things as danger.” Sometimes these fears can be very irrational â€“ at least to us.
To someone who is anxious, this fear constantly occupies their thoughts and even has an effect on their daily lives.
Those who suffer from depression have a similar experience in a sense that negative feelings often occupy their minds and suffer from a state of mental anguish. It is important to note that there is a difference between the depressed feeling and clinical depression. It is normal to be sad sometimes, though it is not normal to be sad most of the time. Dr. Cox pointed out that it is actually quite natural to want to get rid of painful emotions. He explains that those who are depressed live in a diminished world. They suffer a loss that they don’t deserve and that loss is hard to pinpoint. Dr. Cox points out that people who suffer with depression often experience fatigue, lack of motivation, and lower self-esteem.
The five students on the panel shared stories of their illnesses or the illness of loved ones. Surprisingly, a lot of the people who suffer from anxiety and depression have “normal” lives. One may never know what kind of mental pain a person is in because the mind’s health is easier to hide than a physical ailment. Some students on the panel were plagued by their disorders since they can remember and others had a strange onset of symptoms. These brave students recognized their mental health issues and shared their stories in the most humble way. The courage in the room sparked questions from the audience where each of the students gave an answer.
One of the students on the panel said that they recommend that those suffering from depression should “talk to someone, do what makes you happy, and pursue life to the fullest.”
The advice given at this event was valuable because it came directly from the heart. There is a lot of research going on in hopes to learn more about these illnesses. If you have any questions about anxiety or depression, stop by the counseling center for more information.