It’s sad, disturbing and terrible to even put into words how scary depression is and how badly it affects the academic life. Of course, I can say it so determinedly, because I have been through it. And, trust me most of us experience depression at least one stage of our college. However, unfortunately, some of us are not even aware of the fact that we are depressed and just consider it as some “casual sadness or stress,” but when it begins to affect our professional, academic or personal life we realize how destructive depression is. But why is it so difficult to identify depression at an early stage before it starts to undermine our academic growth and achievements? Why our surroundings cannot sense the change in our behavior, and they mistake it merely as some stress? The problem is the lack in awareness regarding mental illnesses, which is upsetting many student lives these days that we are not even aware of. Depression not only affects our academic life, but also acts like a stubborn hindrance in our development. It’s so unnerving to say that even finishing daily chores becomes challenging for depressed students. Ultimately, it deteriorates their achievements, grades, university interactions, and participation in class.
The major reason is our university life that demands for dealing with multiple responsibilities at a single time. Trying to fit in, getting good grades, balancing personal and academic life, increasing network, focusing on extra-curricular activities and planning future – everything all at once gets so overwhelming that eventually leads the students to go under depression. And as depression is still a taboo in third-world countries, especially Pakistan, so giving the proper treatment and therapy to the students also becomes a huge trouble. This can’t just be solved by praying 5 times a day, or taking anti-depressants. The damage done by depression is more than that, but our parents fail to realize it and give such advice may only reduce depression at a very minor level or just not at all. Then what to do? Yes, you the one reading this, only you can make a difference. Only you can stand for yourself and get out of this complexity. From a personal experience, I know how depression really works. It makes you question yourself, your self-worth, messes up with your self-esteem and eventually kills the child in you. It makes you lose the most significant aspect that shapes up our existences, the purpose.
If you are currently going through a depressive episode or have been through, first of all I want to tell you that everything will be okay. I promise that. Trust me; you are not being lazy or self-interested. Your productivity doesn’t define you. You’re coping, and you should. At least to live that one, big dream you always wanted to experience. You’re doing the best you can.
And for your surroundings, let them know you need your space. Use that personal space to discover yourself, find a new hobby, learn a new skill, watch the sunrise, start a new season, pick up your favorite genre and read a book related to it, meet new people but don’t let it ruin you. Depression is one sadist joke. And you’re more than that.
As my final point, I would like to urge everyone reading this, please don’t judge someone based on their achievements or criticize them if they’re going slow in their career. You never know what they are going through. Just be kind and empathetic. Depression heavily impacts the achievements of college students, and it’s time we start talking about.