People often go through times when they are sad and feeling down. There are a variety of things that can change our mood throughout our lives. Some events more commonly trigger feelings of unhappiness. College can contain a lot of these situations that may leave you feeling blue. Adjustment to new environments, social and academic stressors, uncertainty about the future and relationship issues can happen during a college career. It is important to know that these feelings are meant to be temporary and will subside with time.
What’s the difference between depression and feeling sad?
Depression is marked by interruptions in daily functioning. People experiencing depression often feel as though there is no way out of their current situation. Here are some additional warning signs of depression:
- Sad, empty or unhappy mood that lasts for two weeks or more
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
- Excessive weight gain/loss
- Excessive sleep or insomnia
- Decreased energy
- Loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable
- Difficulty in thinking or decision making
- Difficulty in attending work/school, social isolation
What are some things I can do if I am feeling down?
There are several individual techniques that can help to improve your mood if you are feeling down.
- Socialize – Interact with friends or family. Speak to them about troubling issues.
- Exercise – Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel better.
- Act – Engage in a pleasurable activity; read a book, ride a bike, watch a favorite movie or TV show.
- Positive Activity Jackpot uses a professional behavioral health therapy technique called pleasant event scheduling (PES), which is used to overcome depression and build resilience. This app features augmented reality technology to help users find nearby enjoyable activities and makes activity suggestions with local options and the ability to invite friends http://t2health.dcoe.mil/apps/positiveactivityjackpot
- Think – Recognize which negative thoughts may be contributing to your mood. This website has a list of common disruptive thoughts people may experience: www.getselfhelp.co.uk/unhelpful.htm
- Meditation – Mindfulness training can help to calm and de-stress yourself.
- Mindfulness exercises: http://mitpe.mit.edu/uploads/MindfulnessExercises.pdf
- Reduce – Reduce distractions that create negative feelings. Log-off of social media or other disrupting websites.
- Create a hope box: http://t2health.dcoe.mil/apps/virtual-hope-box
- Track your moods: http://t2health.dcoe.mil/apps/t2-mood-tracker
What resources are available on campus to help with depression?
- Counseling & Psychiatry provides individual, group and couples counseling services and psychiatric assessment and medication management: www.sa.sc.edu/shs/cp
- Campus Recreation offers group exercises and yoga courses to students: https://campusrec.sc.edu/
What national resources are available?
- National Institute of Mental Health: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml
- Black Dog Institute: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/index.cfm
- Half of Us: www.halfofus.com/feeling/depressed
- Ulifeline: www.ulifeline.org/topics/128-depression
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org