Not for me. For my students.
Let’s make an inventory, shall we?
- debilitating illness
- debilitating depression
- debilitating anxiety
- at least one jailed spouse
- crises of single parenting
- job loss
- family members at death’s door
- friends murdered
- friends committing suicide
- friends on suicide watch
- friends injured or killed in horrible accidents
- debilitating migraines
And I know I’m forgetting something. It’s been a long semester.
At midsemester, I came out to students as a depressive, as there still seems to be here (especially among veterans) a stigma around mental illness. I shared, briefly, my struggles with depression, and I emphasized that things got better when I sought help. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that I’ve had a series of students in my office since then.
Their challenges are tremendous. I don’t have to solve their problems; I merely serve as a listening ear–as someone who demonstrates she cares about them when they feel alone–for a few minutes. Fortunately, Boise State has a program to which I can report students who are distressed, and the response time is great.
I’ve been sharing with these students something I wish had been reinforced for me when I was a student. It’s a brief list of priorities:
2. Care of family and friends
. . .and only then. . .
Perspective! It’s useful. Pass it on.