Dear SHAC: My World Feels Like It's Crashing
October 4, 2018
College is hard. There are due dates all around me and tasks dropping off my lists everywhere. I have to go to work, I have to be a student, and I still have to do everything else in life! I've been thinking of scheduling an appointment with a SHAC mental health provider, but then I think I am just overwhelmed. However, this is getting to a point where I feel paralyzed and just want to cry! I don't want to lose the light I once had, but I'm losing motivation. I don't want to be the weak link... What are some common reasons why students see your mental health team? Would I benefit from this? Please help!
Your UNM Lobo,
My World Feels Like It’s Crashing
Dear My World Feels Like It’s Crashing,
You are right--college, along with all the other responsibilities and finding the time to live life, is very hard. It can feel overwhelming and then paralyzing, leaving one to feel like running away or just stopping all together. This is a tough time because there are many transitions and stressors all around, and trying to adjust and keep up is a great balancing act. It’s difficult to think about taking care of oneself when it feels like there’s literally no time in which to do it. However, self-care is crucial for students (and all of us) in order to meet the demands of school, work, family and friend life…and maybe even have a little time to oneself. Consider the metaphor of an airplane attendant giving the safety instructions to the passengers. The attendant will verbally explain and act out how to use the oxygen mask if there is a decrease of oxygen in the airplane. One thing the attendant will always say is: “Parents and those who are caring for someone else, please place the oxygen mask on yourself first, before placing it on your child or person for whom you are caring.” Why would they instruct this? Well, if one is trying to get oxygen to another while losing oxygen themselves, they may pass out and then be unable to attend to anyone or anything at all. This is much like the idea of self- care. The reality is, you have many things going on right now, but if you attend to all of those things while neglecting your own self-care, you’re likely to experience burnout—which people experience in many forms--and be unable to get anything done, leading to the feeling of being paralyzed and like the world is crashing down. I know it may seem to put more strain on your life to schedule time for counseling, but it’s worth the time and effort, and you deserve it!
Students come to SHAC for a wide range of reasons. Some are experiencing issues similar to yours, and benefit from having a provider to talk with about their thoughts, feelings, stressors, as well as to learn healthy coping strategies to regulate emotions, self soothe, change harmful thought patterns and manage all the stressors life can bring. Other students come in to process a loss of relationship or loved one, learn how to understand themselves within relationships, how to move forward and engage in relationships in more healthy, positive ways. Students come in to cope with academic failure, substance abuse, relationship conflict and even to learn how to adapt to a new city, roommate and lifestyle. Some come in to explore and improve their own self-identities within their family, ethnic, religious and broader cultures and environments. Students come to SHAC if they’re experiencing problems with anxiety (general, social and even test anxiety), panic, depression, bipolar, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, and psychosis. It can help to talk with someone here at SHAC to understand that you are not alone and that your experiences, although unique to you, are shared ones and can be managed effectively. It can feel like a relief just to understand some of the systems at work in your body and mind that may be involved in you feeling like your world is crashing. This understanding can help you to feel more empowered over yourself and your world. SHAC can also provide useful information about other campus and community resources, online self-help tools through TAO, and referrals for other services that may be helpful.
Your light is still within you, UNM Lobo. SHAC services can help you re-discover it again.