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Changing of the Seasons

By Grace Dawson
On October 19, 2018

Fall is now in full swing. The leaves are turning to all the beautiful shades of red, gold, and orange, apple orchards are full of people, and the weather has finally turned cold after a long period of trying to make up its mind. Crisp wind and the excitement of Halloween whirl through the air. Midterms are almost over. So why do so many of us feel so defeated? Why do we feel as if someone has squashed all the excitement and energy out of our bodies? 

Mental Illness Awareness week has just ended, but it is important that we keep it in mind so that we can better support each other. For many people, the onset of fall comes with an onset of seasonal depression, as well as worsening symptoms of regular depression and other mental illnesses. There is no shame in feeling this way, and if you feel alone you are certainly not: in fact, reports state that there has been a considerable increase in visits to PSU’s own Counseling Center. It is a communal feeling, however, there is also validity in feeling alone, dreary, weary, or all three (and more). 

There are many ways of handling these feelings, each with its own benefits and ways that it can fit into people’s lives. Finding solace in family, friends, or partners allows you to open up about feelings and help them understand what you’re going through, strengthening these connections. Of course, if you would rather open up to someone who has been professionally trained to help you work through any emotions you might have, there is also the campus counseling service: the Counseling Center (the house across from Hyde Hall) is open Monday-Tuesday 8am-7pm and Wednesday-Friday 8am-4:30pm. 

If you find yourself wanting some time to yourself to think, a walk or drive in nature can also be therapeutic, as well as being a break from studying and a chance to get some fresh air to clear your head. Many people also find that working out is a helpful outlet, and according to some studies, it also helps improve moods (although this has also been a topic of debate because of the nature of depression, anxiety, or a combination of the two that causes people to resist getting up and going out). Doing art, reading, writing, and working or playing with animals are other outlets, depending on preference. The most important thing to note, is that no one way of working with your feelings is better than another, and that the thing that feels right for one person may not be the best option for someone else. It is important that we give each other support and understanding always, but the approaching winter season is a chance for everyone to become more aware of this, both in yourself and in others. 

A final note: when the campus Counseling Center is closed, they encourage calling Lakes Region Mental Health Center/Genesis Behavioral Health (603)-524-1100 (for students at PSU who are also in the Plymouth community), the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) (for those who may not be students or in the Plymouth community), the University Police at (603) 535-2330 or 911 (for police or emergency service response), or the Speare Hospital Emergency Room at (603) 536-1120 (for medical emergencies or emotional crises). This information, along with information about availability during school breaks, is also available on their page on the PSU website at

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