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Andrew Blitman likes to draw and write about philosophy, poetry, and science. The author of two books, he will graduate from the University of Miami in May 2014 with a Masters of Professional Science degree in Marine Affairs. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail him at thewrittenblit@gmail.com.

Finding Relief

No Me Mireis!

No Me Mireis! (Photo credit: El Hermano Pila)

Depression is a growing concern on college campuses across the country. Academic, social, and psychological pressures, or even the suffering of a close friend or relative, can drive happy students down a steep slope to misery. Characterized by a loss of personality and vitality, changes in daily habits, and a severe lack of self-esteem, and often a severe decline in academic performance, depression comes in five main forms:

  1. Melancholic Depression—distinguished by a loss of satisfaction in most activities, a depressed mood worse than that of grief, early morning waking, slowed thought and decreased reactivity, weight loss, and excessive guilt
  2. Atypical Depression—characterized by mood swings, significant weight gain, hypersomnia, and significant social impairment caused by fears of social rejection
  3. Catatonic Depression—extremely rare, typified by symptoms similar to those of narcolepsy. The person cannot speak and remains in some sort of stupor, and either does not move or displays unusual (and possibly unnecessary) movements.
  4. Postpartum Depression—a type of depression associated with childbirth. Affects 10-15% of women within three months of labor, and usually subsides after about three more months.
  5. Seasonal Depression—depression that arises in the fall or winter and resolves in spring. Affects people in climates with distinct seasons.

In their infancy these symptoms can be barely noticeable. Left unchecked, however, they can quickly become ravenous, self-destructive demons. 15% of suicides are linked to severe depression.

If someone you know displays these behaviors in any shape or form, stick close to that person. Be a friend. Lend your support. Let him know his worth. A tiny dose of friendship can cure delusions of perceived loneliness. If those feelings of worthlessness persist, take your friend aside and tell him that he needs serious medical attention while assuring him your unwavering support during his crisis. If (s)he refuses to cooperate or the situation escalates too quickly, call 9-1-1 straight away.

If you are currently battling depression, remember that you are not alone. Somebody out there unconditionally loves you. Talk about your feelings to a close friend or family member if you feel comfortable. If you prefer confidentiality, discuss your situation with a psychologist or psychiatrist. If you are actively contemplating suicide, SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY. That one last shot is a permanent vacation. Freddie Mercury once sang, “Don’t try suicide. Nobody’s worth it”. It’s the truth, because you have one life to live. You have to live for yourself, because the only thing worse than an unfulfilling life is a fulfilled death.

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2 Comments on “Finding Relief”

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  1. Writer’s Life Day 4-Music, Writing, and Depression « Chillers And Thrillers - December 5, 2012

    [...] Finding Relief (thewrittenblit.com) [...]

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