College students trapped in depression

  At the end of the second semester of the sophomore year, Zhang Chen (pseudonym), a girl from a college in Wuhan, decided to suspend school.

A few years after suffering from depression, her life has stagnated, her thinking has become dull, and she is even a little "dementia": unable to think, unable to read, difficult to communicate, and she speaks almost every word.

  In severe cases, the thought of "wanting to die" circulates in my mind.

  After returning home, she tried her best to get the thought of "want to die" out of her mind.

First, I watched a horror movie and tried to keep myself "awake"; then, I shut myself in the bathroom, locked the door and sat on the floor, beating my chest and head to calm myself down.

But the effect is not good.

  "Once I really couldn't stand it, I picked up the scissors and scratched it on my wrist." After that, Zhang Chen hid in the bathroom many times, leaving scars on his wrists and arms with a knife.

When the mood eased, she turned around and put the knife into the bedside table, covered the blood stains with her sleeves, went downstairs to eat with her family, pretending that nothing happened.

Until one day, the parents opened the bedside table and found the knives stored in it.

"They thought I was crazy." Zhang Chen said.

  This is the epitome of many depression college students fighting the disease.

For sick students, “support” from family and school is especially needed.

On September 11, 2020, the National Health Commission announced the "Working Plan for Exploring Special Services for the Prevention and Treatment of Depression."

Among them, it is clear that various high schools and colleges and universities will incorporate depression screening into the content of student health examinations, establish student mental health files, and focus on students with abnormal evaluation results.

Stagnant life

  Zhang Chen told The Paper that she learned that she was suffering from depression one day in May 2017, when she was a sophomore in a famous university in Wuhan.

She walked out of the school hospital holding the diagnosis sheet, once "in a trance."

In her words, she never thought it would be related to depression.

  Soon after the new semester began, "forgetfulness" and "drowsiness" swept through her life without warning.

"I can never remember what happened yesterday. I forget what I did in the morning in the afternoon. I was sleepy at any time. I was lying on the table and fell asleep during class. The students next to me couldn't pull it up." Zhang Chen said.

  Wang Yong, director of the Mood Disorder Specialist Clinic of the Shanghai Mental Health Center, previously said in an interview with The Paper that compared with adults, adolescent depression tends to have atypical features. “Adult depression often involves sleeping less, waking up early, and unable to eat. , Do not want to move, etc., but teenagers tend to eat a lot, lethargy, lose their temper easily, irritable, and lack concentration, which will have a great impact on learning."

  Zhang Chen tried to restore his mental state.

She poured coffee like water, drinking more than one liter a day when she was the most exaggerated, but it didn't work at all.

When she was awakened by classmates again in class, she was used to occupying a seat in the front row, and for the first time she felt unwilling to go to class.

"It's shameful." Zhang Chen has been active and strong since she was a child. She has never experienced this kind of frustration.

  In retrospect, Zhang Chen felt that he was suffering from depression in his third year of high school.

At that time, she encountered school violence but was ignored by the school and family, which caused her to experience trance and somatization symptoms of depression.

When studying at night, she often felt that someone was staring at her behind her back.

She always had chest pain, especially during exams, she often "pained to suffocation", went to the hospital to check, but "there was nothing wrong."

  "It all depends on a mouthful of'celestial spirit'." Zhang Chen passed the college entrance examination, left the high school that made him depressed, and entered a 985 college in Wuhan to study his favorite major.

But this time, she failed to make it through, and had to choose to "suspend school."

Life then presses the pause button, "Everything is drawn into the black gauze of depression."

  Mu Qing is also stagnant in life.

At the beginning of 2019, she broke up with her boyfriend. She was originally a lively person, but gradually became "extreme" and thought of suicide emerged.

"I don't think it makes sense to live, and it doesn't make any sense to do anything." Mu Qing began to "hate the crowd" and broke up with many friends, except for class, staying in the dormitory.

"The best friend who used to be on the phone one day stopped contacting me. She said I was like a different person." Mu Qing said.

  In order to prevent the mood from worsening, she kept herself as busy as possible.

In addition to learning, "Xiao Xiaole" (a mobile game) and short videos became her best means to keep her brain from emptying.

"If you want to squeeze out the resources in your mind, you can temporarily stop thinking about other things." Mu Qing said that during that time, even though she realized her mental state was "abnormal", she didn't go to any hospital for consultation or consultation. Psychological counseling, "I am afraid of facing my psychological problems".

  In the next semester of 2019, approaching the mid-term exam, Mu Qing's mathematical modeling results have never been improved.

Because of her work and rest habits, she broke up with her roommate again.

One day, when she was studying in the library, the book hadn't been opened yet, and she instantly felt that "energy was emptied".

"Suddenly there was a feeling of'forget it'." Mu Qing recalled, the idea of ​​"quitting school" quickly spread in her mind.

She thought that she "found a way to escape everything", so she couldn't wait to call the counselor to apply for a "leave of school."

"I'm afraid that others will discriminate against me"

  The experience of Zhang Chen and Mu Qing is not unique.

In 2019, at the 8th Cross-Strait University Psychological Counseling and Counseling Summit Forum in Hong Kong and Macau, some experts mentioned that 1/4 of Chinese college students admitted to having depressive symptoms and the high incidence of depression in their freshman and junior years .

"Over the years, the incidence of mental illness in colleges and universities has really increased." Zhang Jinyuan, director of the Center for Student Development Research and Guidance of Huake University, told The Paper.

In his view, the rapid changes in society are the main reason for the increase in the incidence of mental illness among college students.

  There are also different opinions.

Psychologist Yao Zhijun has been engaged in college psychological counseling for many years. He told The Paper that more students have come to the school counseling room to look for him over the years, but this is because society has gradually begun to pay attention to psychological problems.

"Many students did not understand this before, and they may avoid psychological problems. Now they are gradually accepting it, and then come to ask for help. So the detection rate has indeed increased, but it does not mean that the proportion has increased." Yao Zhijun said .

  The Paper noted that in recent years, more and more colleges and universities have begun to attach importance to the mental health of students, and school psychological consultation rooms and school hospital psychiatric departments have gradually been established in many colleges and universities.

But the reality is that many students still avoid this.

  Junior student Gu Shou worked part-time in the psychological counseling room of his school for a period of time.

According to his memories, when a student came for consultation, the counselor would sign a privacy commitment letter with the student, "Promise to the student that they will protect personal information and privacy."

But this may be just "a dead letter."

Most of Gu Shou's work is to send the list of students with psychological problems collected by the counselor to the class teacher, so that the class teacher "focuses on".

Every time the list was transferred, Gu Shou "he raised his fingers slightly trembling" the moment he hit the Enter key.

  Gu Shou was later diagnosed with depression.

Because of the aforementioned part-time experience, he dared not conduct psychological counseling on campus, and preferred to go outside of campus.

"You can use a fake name when you go to an off-campus hospital." Gu Shou said that for him, "Suffering from depression is a secret that can't be let others know." It will (be) discriminated against. That's not the case.


  Min Wen, a junior girl, was hospitalized for depression in her first year of high school. After that, she took medicine with her and asked herself countless times in her heart, "Did you take your medicine today?"

When there are a lot of people, she often holds the pill in the palm of her hand and finds an excuse to leave the crowd. The cat puts the medicine into her mouth in the corner.

After entering the university, she claimed that she "stopped the drug".

"I want to be like a normal person." Minwen said, because she was afraid of being found out by others that she was suffering from depression, she never tried to go to the school hospital for treatment. "Once you go to the school counseling room, other students will see you in. , Then they will definitely know that you have a psychological problem."

  Yao Zhijun told The Paper that there is a natural contradiction between protecting the privacy of sick students and school psychological intervention.

For example, he said that one of the common methods of psychological intervention in colleges and universities is to allow all freshmen to take a mental health assessment.

"After the evaluation, we will draw a line to make a list of students who may have psychological problems, and then we will ask these students to do a psychological interview. After the interview, we find that there are risks, we will inform the counselor and head teacher."

  Although many schools have set up psychological counseling agencies, psychological intervention is a systematic project. Although it wants to protect the privacy of students, "it is not enough to deal with so many students with potential problems with the staff of these institutions."

"We can only say to let them (counselors, class teachers) know that there is such a list, but in ordinary work communication, do not deliberately make a distinction." Yao Zhijun said.

  A related study in the Chinese Journal of General Practice has shown that almost all patients with depression have certain negative emotions mainly manifested by "shame".

This kind of emotion will make the patient feel more depressed, and he does not want to be known about his situation by others, thus hindering the road to help.

In this regard, Shi Shen, director of the Department of Psychiatry at Huashan Hospital affiliated to Fudan University, told The Paper that depression can still be controlled through standardized treatments, but the consultation rate for depression patients in China is only about 20%.

In recent years, with the popularization of publicity, the rate of consultation has increased, but overall it is not very high.

  In addition, the "professional level" of psychological interventions in most school hospitals cannot win the trust of students.

The day after he was diagnosed with depression, Zhang Chen contacted the school's psychological counseling room via QQ.

The staff told her that the appointment queue will be two weeks later.

She "lied that she was suicidal," and the other party immediately arranged a counselor.

The consultation lasted for half an hour, and Zhang Chen believed that there was "no effect."

  "After the talk, I feel that the school's psychological counseling is not very professional." Zhang Chen also found that the students who queued up for counseling, in her opinion, are mostly people who do not need psychological help. "They just want to talk to someone." .

Zhang Chen leaned against the wall when he lined up, listening to the classmates in front complaining about the trivial things in life, "I want to laugh for an unprecedented time."

"I feel very speechless. Why can I come to counseling for such (trivial things)? People who need urgent counseling like me can't get help." Unable to get professional help at school, Zhang Chen had to suspend school Come back home.

"My parents must accept that I have depression"

  The depression was told to his parents through the counselor, and Zhang Chen did not dare to say it himself.

"My parents have a low level of education, and I'm afraid they won't understand." Zhang Chen said.

The result was as she expected.

"They have been searching for all kinds of things on the Internet, and then confidently felt that I was not depressed, and directly said to me,'We don't think you are like someone with depression.'" Zhang Chen said that his parents felt "ashamed. Externally, he only said that "daughter is not in good health, go home to recuperate", and avoid talking about specific illnesses.

  In daily life, she still acts as the "emotional trash can" at home.

Faced with depression, parents find it difficult to adapt. They don’t know how to help Zhang Chen, but instead release negative emotions from time to time.

"You look like this, what shall we do?" This is the most common sentence she heard from her parents.

The whole family was enveloped by a sense of helplessness. Within a month after returning home, Zhang Chen's condition deteriorated to severe depression.

She has no way to read, think, or even communicate with others. It takes a long time to organize a simple sentence to squeeze out what she wants to say word by word.

  From watching horror movies, beating herself to self-harm, she needs more and more stimulation to keep herself awake.

After being found covered in scars, the family thought she was crazy.

In this case, after her strong request, her parents finally agreed to take her to the hospital for psychological treatment.

  This struggle for understanding left Zhang Chen with an indelible memory, "I don't know how I survived that time alone."

For the second time after relapse, she chose to rent a house and live alone.

  For college students, family acceptance and support are extremely important.

Most college students will be "extraordinarily nervous" before telling their parents that they have depression.

"You must have money to receive treatment, whether it is medicine or psychological counseling, you need money. I can only ask my parents for money, so I must let my parents accept that I have depression." A student specialized I wrote a series of articles, sharing my own and my parents' confession methods and experiences.

  Wen Wen said that during the treatment period, it costs more than 1,000 yuan to take medicine every month, in addition to more than 1,000 yuan for inspection.

"If you have long-term treatment, the cost is still quite large. College students have no financial income, but they are already big. If they have been taking care of their parents, the family pressure will be great, so they are very entangled." Min Wen hopes that she will become financially independent as soon as possible.

  After Mu Qing told her parents that she was suffering from depression, she often received "special care" from the other party via WeChat, which made her dumbfounded.

"It's just a few words over and over, it's actually useless." But she understood that this was a bad-spoken father who kept reminding her, "He is."

Mu Qing believes that she does not need any help from her parents. "As long as the family is always there and accompanied, that's enough."

She also doesn't need special treatment from the school, "just treat me like an ordinary student, don't interfere with me too much, just fine."

  According to Yao Zhijun, he has also met some parents at work, "showing that they do not believe that their children have depression."

"(Individual parents) cannot accept such a fact, are unwilling to accept such a diagnosis result, and do not agree to the child's normal medical treatment-in this way, the child's treatment will be delayed." Yao Zhijun said, I hope the parents can trust the doctor And children, "or at least trust the doctor."

  For many parents’ “special care” for their children, Yao Zhijun suggested, “In the process of daily communication with them, we should also accompany and support them, and do not preach.” In Yao Zhijun’s view, these are not for the parties involved. Significantly, "This will instead make the person feel as if people around him don't understand him at all."

"The hospital is the safest place"

  The national level pays more and more attention to depression patients among college students. In recent years, many articles have been issued to provide guidance on mental health education and psychological intervention in colleges and universities.

  In mid-July 2018, the Ministry of Education issued the "Guideline for Mental Health Education for College Students".

It mentioned that the mental health education curriculum should be included in the school's overall teaching plan, and the curriculum setting will be standardized; psychological development counseling rooms, psychological evaluation rooms, etc., are established to build a mental health education that closely combines education and guidance, consultation and self-help, and self-help and other assistance. And consultation service system; establish a psychological crisis referral diagnosis and treatment mechanism, unblock the psychological crisis referral green channel from school mental health education and consultation institutions to school hospitals and mental health professional institutions, and promptly refer people suspected of suffering from severe mental or mental illness Students go to professional institutions for diagnosis and treatment.

  On September 11, 2020, the National Health Commission announced the "Working Plan for Exploring Special Services for the Prevention and Treatment of Depression", clarifying that all high schools and colleges and universities will incorporate depression screening into the content of student health examinations, and establish student mental health files.

Instruct students to scientifically understand depression and seek professional help in time.

  "The boundary issue for colleges and universities to intervene in students' psychological problems is more complicated." Yao Zhijun said, according to the "People's Republic of China Mental Health Law", potential patients or students who are already ill should be sent to the hospital by their guardians. The school or counselor is There is no right to be sent to a doctor.

"Therefore, it often happens that the student's situation has endangered his personal safety. Only at this time, the counselor will send the student to the hospital."

  "Whether at school or at home, if you can't ensure his safety, you should be sent to the hospital for treatment." In Zhang Jinyuan's view, "in this case, the hospital is the safest place."

  In the second half of 2017, Zhang Chen entered a well-known hospital and turned to a professional psychologist for help.

"The psychologist is a 40-50 year old uncle, who gives people a warm and authoritative feeling, and he is in good tune with me," she said.

After understanding the condition, the consultant gave her hypnotherapy and sorted out her heart knot.

After one treatment, Zhang Chen's self-harm thoughts were not so strong.

The other party told Zhang Chen that according to her situation, about ten consultations, supplemented by medication, the condition would be relieved.

  For patients with severe depression, a complete cure may be a long process.

Wen Wen has been treated in a professional mental hospital for many years. He takes 9 kinds of medicine a day at most. In addition to treating depression, there are also sleep aids and tranquilizers.

This made her quite depressed, and even felt that "depression will not get better."

"It doesn't mean that I will get better after treatment or taking medicine. Medicine can only control the condition and allow me to sleep at least one full sleep." Minwen said, the most important thing is "mentality problem", which is that medicine cannot solved.

Not only that, but the long-term medication has made her dependent on drugs.

After forgetting to take medicine, people become anxious, uncomfortable, flustered and tremble, and begin to dizzy and vomit.

  In 2018, Zhang Chen ended his suspension of school and returned to school.

However, due to high learning pressure and irregular medication, the depression relapsed.

"But this recurrence is much milder than the previous symptoms. It's just emotionally irritable and anxious and unable to take exams or go to class." Zhang Chen said that under the advice of the college, she decided to suspend school again.

  During the second leave of absence, she rented a small house to live alone and enrolled herself in dance classes and fitness classes.

Get up at 9 o'clock in the morning, make a simple breakfast for yourself, and go out for dance lessons.

Go to the gym in the afternoon to work out, go home to cook dinner, and rest after dinner.

Life was simple and peaceful. She lost 20 pounds and her mood gradually eased.

  "I feel like I'm completely healed. The whole person is like a reborn." Now, recalling the experience a few years ago, Zhang Chen sighed that the two suspensions were actually a chance to breathe in his life. "If possible, I plan to gap (gap year) for one year." At present, Zhang Chen still needs to take a lot of medicine and go to the psychiatric hospital for review, but her heart is firm and peaceful, "I feel that there is no need to be afraid of everything."

  (At the request of interviewees, Zhang Chen, Mu Qing, Gu Shou, and Wen Wen are pseudonyms)

  The Paper Journalist Yu Jiao