About Me

My name is Spencer. I'm 23 years old, and I'm a junior at Princeton. So far college has taken me five years. I've taken time off to work, transferred to USC and come back, and learned a lot along the way.

I like to think about life and what I'm going to do with mine.

I've met a lot of people my age with the same sorts of thoughts so feel free to read, take surveys, and comment.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Thoughts About Surveys - Looking Out for Friends & Dealing With Depression

A while back, I had posted a general survey about depression. I wanted to get an idea of how many people had suffered or are currently suffering from it. I got about fifty responses or so, which is not enough to make any serious academic conclusions, but enough to make it interesting.

Now, as someone who has suffered from depression on and off for a number of years, it's a serious condition that seems very hard to relate to, which remains shocking based on the sheer number of people who say that they've been depressed before.

Regardless, in my survey, a whopping 80% said that they have been depressed in their lives before with a majority of the reasons surrounding:
1) stress (clearly the #1 reason based on this survey)
2) peer acceptance/personal appearance (looks)
3) relationships with parents (a close 3rd)

In terms of degree of depression, a little under 50% of those that said they had previously been depressed said that you had been suicidal at one point or another.

That's a really high percentage!

As someone who's been down that dark road, I encourage all of you, whether you're in that 50% or not, to seek professional help. Despite all the stigma attached to seeing a shrink, it really can help you get your thoughts and life on track. Even if you don't realize it, these are professionals that can pinpoint what you need and help you realize it yourself. Beyond that, for some people the issues are a chemical imbalance that a small dose of an anti-depressant can help you fix. It'll take time, but it's worth it if it makes you feel like your best self.

However, the limiting factor (beyond one's own apprehension) is definitely money for most people. The good news is, for those of you on college (and even high school) campuses, you have plenty of resources at the health center! There are designated counselors there to help you deal with the stresses of college life and the work load. Don't be afraid to seek them out.

Last, the medical professionals aren't your only resource. Your friends can be the best resources you have in times of need. Don't be nervous about talking to them and sharing with them. I used to be very closed off, thinking that sharing would make me look weak or that I could just deal with things on my own... and while that may be true most of the time, we always need help sometimes.

And even if your friend seems like they have everything under control, take the time to ask if everything is alright. Go out for a meal or a beer and talk about whatever, things just tend to come up. Just showing you're there for somebody can go a long way.

For those of you who feel like you don't have any friends, don't fret. I've been there. Friends aren't the only people who want to help. I've talked to my deans, advisers, professors, and even strangers before about issues that I've had. Don't be afraid to ask. The worst is that they simply cannot help. The best... you could find a new friend or even a mentor.

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