Depression as a Catholic in college


#1

Hi everyone. I didn’t know what else to do so I’m posting my question here. I’m sorry if it’s in the wrong place. I was just wondering how to deal with feelings of depression and anxiety and even hopelessness in college. I am a 19 year old male and go to a very small university. Like really small. I was just wondering if anyone has experienced depression while in college. I’ve had depression since my sophomore or junior year of high school. Growing up, my father was emotionally and physically abusive to my mother, and even to me and my little brother. It was never truly peaceful at home. I could not stand to be around my parents when they were in the same house/room together. After about 17 years with my father, my mother couldn’t take any more and got a restraining order and he was kicked out of our home. While this was peaceful, I as a caring person/catholic, worried about the well-being of my father. Not even a week after this, my mom got the results from some tests that she went to the doctor for. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was traumatizing for me and I didn’t know what the future held. After about two years of treatments and surgeries, she’s doing much better now. I think these experiences messed me up mentally. I also want to do God’s will in my life. In college, it seems like nobody is living to please God, but to please themselves. Going to such a small school, I find it hard to good friends with similar values as me. I don’t party or drink or even have sex. I go as far as not objectifying women like most college males do. I feel like I’m all alone at school. My social anxiety makes it very hard to make friends. My depression has hit a point where I feel so lonely and that no one except my family cares for me. We are also not completely well off financially, living paycheck to paycheck. I want to work to help support my mother but my social anxiety prevents me from applying anywhere out of fear of people. All work study jobs at my school require social interaction. I’m afraid of this. I feel worthless because I shouldn’t feel like this. I also do not know what God wants me to do with my life. I have changed my major once and I’m afraid I’ll keep doing so until I run out of funds for school. I can’t even speak up in class because of my anxiety. This makes me feel less than everyone and I feel like I’m too scared to search for catholic friends at my newman club on campus. Social anxiety holds me back in every aspect of life. Feeling like this leads me to be severely depressed. I have suicidal thoughts on almost a daily basis that I would be better off dead. I’m seeing a therapist about my problems but I feel like I’ll never feel better. Also the price of it is adding up and I feel like its more financial pressure on my single mother who is supporting my little brother and I on her own. She says its worth it but I just feel worthless. I’m not good at anything. I have lost motivation to do things I once loved like working out and playing guitar. I also question why God allows this, especially when I give up so much to please him. I just feel like I need to go to feel better. The only thing keeping me here is my family.


#2

Wow, this is a lot to unpack. I know it is hard to believe in yourself based on your comments, but everyone is worth something in God’s eyes and most people in society. You’ve clearly had an upbringing with your father that is not right. I don’t think you truly give yourself credit for the courage it takes to go though getting a restraining order. Getting kicked out was of course not an ideal consequence, but this represents more strength than most people who are in an abusive situation. You are a person worthy of love. I know that everything feels hopeless at the moment but all things come to pass, you are a stronger and better person than you think. I know that you desperately want to find a connection with people that share your Catholic beliefs on campus; but have you considered finding this at a local Catholic Church? As a parent I know that your mother believes in you and will sacrifice just about everything to help you reach you potential and you are a wonderful person to think of the impact you are making on your mother. Maybe you do need to take a step away from college to sort yourself out, but know that you are worthy of completing any degree you go for. I’m glad you are in consulting, take time to work things out. If the consular you are talking to does not help you, find another. I don’t know what else to say, but love who you are, you are worthy of that. May you find peace.


#3

You’re not alone as cliched as it sounds. I have experieced several of the things you discuss. I know it doesn’t feel like it now but things will get better. Your anxiety and depression will lessen over time. You are most definitely not worthless. Have you considered medication alongside your therapy? Anti depressants can be a great help in fighting both depression and anxiety. As can CBT. Change can be very hard on mood disorders and college is a huge life change. Please try and remember how important you are and how loved even when anxiety and depression are lying to you. Perhaps if possible have some sort of scrapbook of birthday/christmas cards from friends and loved ones, note down positive comments they make to or about you so you have a record of how you are loved and valued when the thoughts get dark. This world is so much better with you in it.

I will keep you in my prayers.


#4

This is the suicide prevention hotline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Are you being honest with your therapist about your thoughts and feelings?

Please, please — I will pray for you, but don’t hesitate to reach out to RL person for help


#5

Hey Walter I’m so glad you posted. I had a tougher time in college as well. I wasn’t as strong as you are with my faith at that time so I seriously applaud you for standing strong, you won’t regret it! I had a good round with depression myself so if I could just a few practical tips? Firstly maintain the relationship with your thearapist, they can be really helpful. Second try to keep up with a good excercise routine and a good diet (lots of leafy greens, vegetables, lean meats, avoid fried foods and excess sugars). Also make sure to get some sun. You mentioned you were afraid of making friends at the Newman center. Try to do that and get involved if possible. The Newman center by me has such nice people there, I would have been so lucky to be involved when I was in college. I listen to Catholic radio. That seems to help to keep connected to the Catholic community. Try to keep a daily prayer routine, a daily rosary for example. It has really done amazing things for me in my life, including helping with my depression.
I definitely want to support what other posters have said. You ARE very valuable and very loved. Most importantly God loves you as if you were the only person in the universe. Tell Him the trivia, anything that’s bothering you or on your mind. He really does want to know your thoughts and have the conversation with you. College can be a big change but it can be great as well. We’re all pulling for you mate and don’t be afraid to post or PM me if I can help.


#6

Medication has really helped my depression


#7

Perhaps you should take a semester off. There is no rush. Continue therapy. Try medication. Work out, even if you have to force yourself. Attend daily mass to build a stronger connection with God. Take a deep breath. Play your guitar again. Prayers offered for you.


#8

You can also do online chat

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Please, talk to your school’s student counselor, to your priest, to someone.

You are a loved child of God.


#9

Not all jobs are social, most jobs I have had and have now actually allow me to hide behind a uniform and answer robotically to questions. It’s kinda nice and I recommend it as a way of seeing most of us are all the same on the inside. Have you thought about training to be a counselor?


#10

Don’t wait; go to the campus health clinic and find out what the on-campus resources are.
Depression can lead to some psychological habits that you don’t want to carry around. Keep it treated, but especially when there are free services available to you.


#11

The best thing I’ve done is to seek help, local Catholic church had pastoral counseling that I signed up for. Things have been so much better, wish I didn’t wait over 2 years of college to do it, I’m on my last year. I can relate to the depression and social anxiety, I’m a lot better off financially though which in some ways makes me feel guilty. I have to intern next semester though so at least I’ll have some job experience before I graduate college. I changed majors freshmen year.

Well considering I went from locking myself in dorm room to actively seeking out social situations there’s hope. Please try to seek some form of counseling or therapy. Does your school provide anything? Don’t try doing this alone, that was my biggest mistake. The great thing is you are realizing this now! Freshmen year, you got awhile ahead of you! Please seek out something, God bless!


#12

PLEASE get involved with the Newman group on campus and also talk to a Priest ASAP.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be


#13

My university, which is also pretty small (around 1260 students), offers free counseling for students. Is this an option for you? If so, you would do well to take advantage of it. If it is not an option, consider trying to find an accountability partner or something like that. Someone you can just vent to.


#14

Thank you so much. God bless you.


#15

I’ve taken into account everything you’ve said. Thank you and God bless


#16

thank you and God bless you.


#17

I will try to do these things. Thank you. God bless you.


#18

I’ll look into that. Thank you and God bless.


#19

I’ve been afraid to do this, but maybe it is a good idea. Thank you and God bless.


#20

Thank you so much God bless you


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.