In my clinical internship at the BYU-Idaho Counseling Center I had the unique opportunity to assist students struggling with a variety of different issues.
Perhaps one of the number one epidemics facing undergraduate students is anxiety and depression. Students begin to learn very quickly that adjusting to life can be complicated as they learn to adjust to and meet the expectations placed upon them.
More often than not students are faced with “situational depression” but have a lack of knowledge towards proper coping skills needed to overcome these moments of depression and insecurities.
Satan preys upon these moments as he is able to place thoughts into these young minds leading them (by means of chemical changes in the brain) slowly towards feelings of burnout, apathy, emotional dysregulation, extreme lack of motivation, and depression.
As a developing clinician I spent many hours seeking to educate students towards learning to identify emotional needs in the moment, processing these emotions in a value-centered way, and ultimately learning to live here-and-now.
Wouldn’t the world be wonderful if we all learned that it’s okay to feel every emotion? That there’s really nothing wrong with us?
When did we all start deciding that certain emotions are “good” or “bad” rather than “comfortable” or “uncomfortable”?
One of the number one tools towards combating these feelings of depression is to find what will give you meaning and purpose.
Simply put: practice some intentional self-care and do something that will naturally motivate you.
Let me present some ideas and questions for consideration.
When’s the last time you did something fun?
Do you even like what you’re studying or what you’re doing?
Are you doing things for yourself or simply because you want to make someone else happy?
Do you take the time to have dreams? Are your goals and current circumstances aligned to help you accomplish fulfilling your dreams?
When’s the last time you did something just for you? I encourage each of you to take the time to own your life, your feelings, and your passions. Don’t apologize for being the person you want to be.
Recognize that a person cannot be both willing and able 100 percent of the time. Learning to say “no” can be one of the best and most energizing forms of self-care.
Don’t we want to be at our best for others? Perhaps, telling someone “no” now can be the key towards a more willing and able “yes” later. My last piece of consideration for you is to recognize that it’s okay to not feel okay.
Depression is as real as any other medical condition. If you feel you need help, get help. Asking for help was never and is never a sign of weakness, but of strength.
***This concept coincides perfectly with “passion projects” outlined in “Like Dragons Did They Fight” by Maurice Harker.
Take the time to discover what your passions are, plan a project centered on that passion, act out your plan, and consistently review that plan to see what’s working and what may need to be adjusted. “Men are that they might have joy;” go find that joy.
I encourage you all to consider what you are each doing to channel your passions and grow closer to others, yourself, and your Father in Heaven.
Written by Brandon Nite, MSW graduate, Northwest Nazarene University. You can reach Brandon at firstname.lastname@example.org.