Friday, September 26, 2014

You're never alone

This has been a hard week for the MIT community.  Two days ago one of my neighbors died in her room and it seemed like MIT came to a standstill.  I didn't know her at all, but I could sense how the institute was tipped on its head.
I'm not writing to break news or tell you about it, I just want to address the topic for students everywhere that you are never alone.
There's a strange stigma attached to be sad and being depressed.  It's isolating and the feeling that you're a freak for you emotions can drive you further into your own mind.  The first leap to telling someone how you feel is terrifying, especially for students, and even more so for "elite" students.  Here I think people are so used to being "perfect" that any deviation from perfection is terrifying.
We are human.
Guys, we're a squishy sack of chemicals.  We make mistakes, we mess up and sometimes our chemicals get out of whack.  
This is when you need help.  It's not your fault; you're not crazy, you're sick.  It's no more your fault than getting the flu.
I don't even hide the fact here that I get super stressed out.  I used hide it and it was the worst thing I ever did to myself.  The feelings feed themselves and you retract deeper and deeper into yourself until every day is miserable.  I let my illness compound and never got help.  Like avoiding the doctor when you have strep, it only makes it worse.
Seek your friends, seek your family, go for a walk or hug someone.
If you tell people about your anxieties you'll be surprised to find that the vast majority of people feel like you do, especially in academia.
So please, reach out to people, especially in times of sadness like these.  You can even anonymously message me; I've been in dark places and I know how it feels.
 Just know that you are never alone. 

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