Growing up you are always told to accept others for who they are, and to not judge them. But often what we are not taught is the inside struggles many go through. The constant questions of whether they are good enough, if what they are doing is right, if where they are is where they are supposed to be, and so many other vital life questions. Often what we do not see are some of the biggest conflicts in a person’s life and often times all these people need is a little bit of encouragement and support but what we give them is a sign of disappointment and disapproval. We as a society need to encourage students to seek help when they are struggling mentally and emotionally.
As a college student many thoughts go through your head. All of a sudden you are pushed out of the nest and no matter how prepared you think you are you can never be prepared enough. All the decisions you are suddenly forced to make: what do you want to do with your life, where are your going to live, and how are you going to afford all of this are just a few of the many life defining questions that are thrown at you. Internally you go through a whirlwind of emotions> You do not know if you are prepared for this. You are suddenly faced with the question, is all this worth what you want to do in your future? All of a sudden it feels as if you are taking on life all by yourself and no one is there to support you.
As a struggling college student all you want to balance out your life is to have a conversation with someone. You want to tell anyone and everyone that will listen about your current life struggles, but a lot of times everyone else is so engulfed in their own lives or studies to just lend an ear. All of a sudden you realize you truly are in this big world all alone, and reaching out is almost impossible. Not everyone is accepting and you do not want to be looked at differently. Almost everyone you encounter tells you to buck it up, you will be fine, and you are just in a slump. The world seems to get darker and darker, you are constantly inflicted with all these internal struggles and you do not know whether to keep trying to push them out and go about life normally or to succumb to the pressures of your mind, to shut everyone out and just pretend you never existed.
As someone who has been in the dark place of their own mind, a simple smile and telling someone you care can do wonders. We need to go away from the stigma that mental health is not something that can be harmful. These internal conflicts can lead to so much struggle within a person and so much damage within a community. Thousands die annually of suicide and this leaves an ever lasting impact on a community. Reach out and help someone, you never know how much that can mean. Just have a normal conversation, you never know what someone is going through and how much that conversation may help someone come out of that dark place even if just for a few minutes. We should all strive to talk to at least one person we do not know weekly, if not daily. Be the ray of sunshine in someone’s life just one day and you will leave a lasting impact for a lifetime.
By Rebecca Urban