Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Fighting The Moving Day Blues at NYU

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

When I flew from the Caribbean islands to New York City, I couldn’t bring more than my clothes in three overweight suitcases. My mom, her boyfriend, and I spent two days shopping for dorm necessities at Bed Bath and Beyond. Unfortunately, I  bought things before even seeing my dorm, so I would later discover that many items didn’t fit. 

Arriving on campus on move-in day, I was a bundle of confusion with a racing heart. Parents were scurrying to get their children out of the car and up the stairs to Weinstein Hall’s lobby. As soon as I began loading all of my stuff on to the curb, I noticed and recognized Grace, my roommate at the curb. We chatted. Seeing her nervous face reminding me I wasn’t alone in my anxiety. 

Once Grace and I arrived at our room I became more overwhelmed. Her family and my family were all cramped into our tiny dorm, scurrying around and fixing every minute detail to save us stress. It had the opposite effect for me. Seeing everyone racing around the tiny space, opening boxes, making opinions, increased my claustrophobia in this tiny room.

I needed to get out. My mom, her boyfriend, and I headed back to Bed Bath and Beyond, but we found more chaos there. The whole freshman class were rushing to find the products they needed before someone else found them first. Eventually we escaped and headed back to my dorm. Then my mom and her boyfriend left me so I could finish up the unpacking at my pace, while my roommate was out to lunch with her parents. I put on some music. Finally, I could relax in my new space and create it exactly how I wanted to, without people throwing their opinions at me.

When I finally finished organizing I laid down. I was in my dorm in the greatest city in the world, the city I had dreamt of living in for as long as I could remember. I would make the most out of my four years here.

Weinstein was holding an Ice Cream Social in the lobby.  I have never been a social person, always waiting for someone else to spark a conversation with me. From across the room I saw two freshman boys both dressed in stylish dark colors. I was too scared to approach them though, so I sat still and hoped my nerves would fade. Then suddenly, someone asked if I wanted to play Uno. I looked up to see the two boys from across the room. They were Eric and Javi. We played Uno before going to the Bed Bath and Beyond party to dance and sing the night away.

Why was I worried about making friends? Everyone is in the exact same boat when entering college with the desire to make friends. Not everyone you meet in college is going to be your best friend, but it is nice to be acquainted with people, to smile or wave as you pass by each other on the street.

Eric and I became closer in the days that followed. He introduced me to Melody, his high school friend from California, then she introduced me to Kaitlyn. Now all of us, Grace, Javi, Eric, Kaitlyn, Melody and I, hang out almost every single day. I always wondered what would have happened if Eric didn’t approach me to play Uno that night. I wouldn’t have been introduced to Javi, Melody, and Kaitlyn. Fate brought me a caring, creative group of individuals.

Remember

  1. Know your space before you try to fill it. See your dorm room before spending hundreds of dollars on it.
  2. Stay open towards new people. They share the same fears and anxieties with you on their first day.
  3. If you don’t meet a ton of people at first don’t worry about it. The friends you make will introduce you to more friends in the future.

By Solana Joan Suazo


Solana is a freshman at NYU Steinhardt, studying art and psychology. Solana spends many hours walking around lower Manhattan with her friends, sketching in the park, or finding new inspirations for her art around the city. When she isn’t playing volleyball or meditating, she’s usually watching Game of Thrones with her roommate, daydreaming about California beaches and buys, or painting a new picture for art class. She loves coffee, chocolate, and ramen, of course.

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Psychotherapy and Me

Saturday, September 27th, 2014
Henri Matisse's The Goldfish

Henri Matisse’s The Goldfish

“I’d like a hug,” I decided on my last day. We proceeded to discuss the details of our hug – where we would place the arms, when to terminate the embrace, how tightly we would hold each other. After agreeing on my comfort level, I stood and hugged her, a tad tighter than we had initially agreed on.

We pulled apart and she asked, like a typical therapist, “What are the tears in your eyes about?”

Tear ducts unabashedly hot, I replied, “I don’t know; what are your tears about?”

My therapist was crying. She was crying for me, for the progress I’ve made in the past three years, for the impending separation to come. My time with her was not over – I still planned to have a session every month – but everything from this point on will be different. That much, we both knew and expected.

A week into college life in New York City, and yes, everything has changed. My cat doesn’t mewl for food every morning. The night is noisier, both in and out of my head. I’m surrounded by strangers who all seem like they’ve got it together. I miss the convenience and privacy of my room, long drives while blasting music, and the Henri Matisse Goldfish painting that hung on my therapist’s wall. Everything is different, including me.

Four years ago, depression plagued me. It seemed the only things I enjoyed were sleep and razors, constant worrying, and constant headaches. When I began seeing my therapist, I was an ugly, unromantic mess. I said, “I can’t imagine myself not having depression.” Depression was a parasite that scarred my arms, legs, and cheeks. I weighed on my few friends until they broke and left me, exhausted by my exhaustion.

Four years ago, I could have never survived my first hectic week at New York University. Though self-doubt never quite disappears, it has diminished greatly over the course of recovery, helmed by my therapist. Without her, my ship would have been smashed to bits on the reef. Without her, I would not have found the willpower to brave my way through life’s complexities and simplicities.

Living the college life with depression is precarious. Many young adults have not reached any level of self-comfort yet. Many suffer undiagnosed. This is why I urge everyone who suffers from even mild symptoms of depression and anxiety to reach out for help – be it through college or through local connections. Don’t let the stigmas of therapy and mental illnesses prevent you from getting the professional help you need and deserve.

The poster of Henri Matisse’s Goldfish on my dorm room wall is a reminder that therapy can (and already has) helped me thrive during the overwhelming college experience. These days have the potential to become the most wonderful days of your life – don’t let yourself drag you down.

In a series of eight blog posts, I will discuss what I have learned throughout my journey through depression, and how I have overcome my demons. With a little advice and self-help, maybe you can, too.


 

ChristelleMarie Chua, New York University ’18

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