I started college a month early at App State having joined an early-start-to-college program called Summer Preview. Looking back, I was so happy that my dad made me do this (cuz I really didn’t wanna) because it gave us, the new Freshmen, time to get acclimated to the college atmosphere.
We did all of the things that college kids do - we drank a lot, smoked a lot of pot, stayed out late, pierced everything, experimented sexually, and generally made very poor choices for our health.
Always the academic, I also enjoyed the classes that I was taking too. I soaked up all of the philosophy, psychology, and anthropology stuff that I could (I always knew I wanted to be a therapist). Also…math can suck it.
But even in spite of having a great start, it wasn’t long after the first official semester started that the depression and anxiety set in.
I was lonely. I was homesick. I felt so out of sorts. The stale dorms were far from homey and the showers never made me feel like I ever got really clean.
If it wasn’t for the fact that my Irish twin brother was also a student there I am fully confident that I would’ve come home. Having that one semblance of home was enough to help me get through.
But not before the darkness got darker. I was so ill-equipped to deal with the depression that I just didn’t want to be here anymore.
This was also the time that I developed sex and love addiction. I had constant UTI’s and I didn’t understand why. I put myself in dangerous situations and I didn’t care.
It was so embarrassing. I told no one.
I wish I could say that the deepness of my despair motivated me to the professional help at that time but the truth is that I didn’t get help until many years later.
It’s hard for me to not look back on that time and not feel as though so much time was wasted by not getting help sooner but here’s what I learned:
🖤 the power of nature is real and frequent trips to the Blue Ridge Parkway saved my life
💛 though it took a while, the friendships that I formed during that time made me who I am today (the only people from college I remained in touch with were from Summer Preview…one of them is my insurance agent)!
🖤 spirituality is a powerful thing, if you allow it
💛 it all happened the way it was supposed to and it made me cherish the help when I did get it
The first year of college is hard. Undoubtedly much harder than people tell you. Especially when the stories you hear are so full of fun, adventure, rebellion, and freedom.
What they don’t tell you is that all of that stuff comes AFTER the transition period. You need time to adjust to an environment where you are completely on your own for the first time.
You need to bend rules, break them, and follow them to find where you stand and where you fall.
If you or you know someone who is going through their first year of college I want you to know that you are not alone. It will get better.
And don’t be like me…don’t suffer in silence. Don’t put it off. The help is here for you. You just have to take it.
Book a call and get started today.