Hitting rock bottom

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

When Travis Yetton was a senior in high school, he was a straight-A student with dreams of enrolling at the U.

But when Yetton graduated and began attending classes at the U, his goal of attaining a higher education was dampened by persistent stress and recurring low points in his life.

He became tired, sad and started skipping most of his classes. The 3.8 GPA he had maintained in high school dropped to a 2.0.

Then, halfway into his freshman year, Yetton said he hit rock bottom when he started cutting himself.

“It was a lot of things combined, but that was a big indicator that something was wrong,” Yetton said.

And although Yetton, who is now a senior in marketing, has never been diagnosed, he knows he was facing symptoms of clinical depression.

How he surpassed the illness, he said, was through the help of close friends.

“One of my friends recognized what I was going through and forced me to be honest with myself,” Yetton said. “He wasn’t being nosy, he just genuinely wanted to care.”

Yetton shared his experiences with depression at a student panel held in the Heritage Center Nov. 16.

Cindy Harling, social worker at the U Counseling Center, said even though nearly 10 percent of college students are diagnosed with depression, no one should feel guilty about experiencing it.

“No one is responsible for having feelings of depression,” Harling said. “Sometimes it just happens.”

Symptoms of depression include having a sense of hopelessness, insomnia and frequent crying spells, Harling said.

According to the Student Health Service, depression is the fifth most common reason why U students drop out of school or perform poorly.

Dealing with depression, Yetton said, can be approached in unhealthy and healthy ways.

“The most common self-medication is drugs and alcohol,” he said. “Students use these to cover up the pain and to take their mind off of it.”

Healthy ways of dealing with depression include counseling, exercising and working out feelings by talking to friends, he said.

“To have someone to talk to when I was going through depression was so valuable,” Yetton said. “A lot of people with the illness think that no one really cares or that they’re the only ones going through it. Truth is, you’re not alone.”

For more information about depression and the professional help available at Student Health Services call 581-6431. The U Counseling Center is located in the Student Services Building, Room 426, or can be reached at 581-6826.