Published Feb. 28, 2017

My depression and anxiety took control of my life.

I found it hard to go throughout my day without letting my inner thoughts cloud my judgment.

I was broken.

I was hurting.

But after going to the Counseling Center at MU, those clouds began to clear.

And while I’m not 100% better, I realized I’m not alone in this and it’s okay to not be okay.

During my time as a Summer Welcome leader, I spoke the above excerpt every night. I would be lying if I said it was easy for me. Some nights were better than others but overall getting in front of future freshmen and speaking about something so personal to me was challenging but it was a choice I made.

It wasn’t a decision I made in search for attention. It wasn’t a decision I made because I wanted people to pity me. But it was a decision I made because of the importance I saw in seeking help.

I came to college feeling positive and ready for a fresh start. High school proved to be some of my hardest years. I struggled with immense anxiety and depression.  I was in a dark place. I felt empty and lost, but found help. I went to therapy and took care of myself and I seemed to feel like I was back to myself. Then I came college. At the start, I felt great. I felt like I had control over my mental illness and that the worst days were far behind me, but that was not the case.  In the chaos of school, social life, extra-curricular activities, and figuring out my future — I somehow lost myself again.

It’s no secret that college is hard for everyone; but when you deal with mental illness on top of that, it is much more difficult than it needs to be. It’s hard to deal with the outer world when your inner world doesn’t seem to be on your side. It’s not something anyone should try to face alone and yet people don’t seek the help they need. That’s why the services Mizzou offers are so crucial; no one should deal with mental illness alone.

When I lost my way at Mizzou, I couldn’t simply go to my therapist from high school — she was over two hours away. Instead of pretending nothing was wrong, the counseling center was there for me. It’s a service that was not only beneficial for me but could be beneficial for so many other people on campus who are struggling. Mental health is just as important — if not more important — than physical health. The counseling and psychiatric centers are a step in the right direction.  Everyone deserves to be able to get the help they not only need, but that they deserve. In the end people that are struggling need to know they deserve help, they deserve happiness, they are not alone in this, and it’s okay to not be okay.

— Jess S.