Is This Depression or Just Boredom?
I am a university student in my first year. I am really enjoying my first year of university but overall have felt more and more depressed this year to the point where I think I could cry every night. I have about 6 uni mates but live locally so only really see them at university or if I go out at night. Most of my mates who live locally now have girlfriends or have moved away. I also haven't really had a successful girlfriend either, although I have been told various times that I am very attractive.
Anyway as soon as nighttime hits, I am usually alone in my quiet room. I never feel tired until 5am, even if I have only had a few hours sleep the night before. If I try to do university work, I start feeling worried and upset about nothing. My first year of university is now coming to an end and I will have 4 months of nothing. I don't know how I will be able to cope. What can I do?
This is a very important question that more of us should consider. People nowadays have a tendency to label any incidence of sadness as depression, and assume that they must require medical help to resolve it. As a result they often ignore far simpler ways to make themselves feel better.
It sounds more as though your sadness is a combination of boredom and loneliness. These two issues can be dealt with at the same time, or individually.
Firstly, you did not mention whether you are getting regular exercise: This can alleviate all sorts of problems. Physical exercise has a number of important psychological effects on the body. One of the most important of these is that exercise promotes more regular, deeper sleep. But beyond this, exercise releases endorphins in the body which can literally bring feelings of happiness - or at least banish some of the gloom.
With that in mind, I would strongly recommend combining exercise with some sort of social activity. If you are into team sports, join a local club of some kind: It doesn't matter what sport most interests you, the key point is you should get to meet more people and get some physical activity at the same time. And if team sports aren't your thing, consider climbing or archery, or some other activity where you are still likely to meet people. And if you already exercise on an individual basis, how about starting a new hobby - an art or a craft, for example?
Have you talked about your sadness to your friends or family? Some friends or family members will be better listeners than others, but don't give up on them as a vital source of encouragement. Their support can help you to get on your feet and get out there.
Might there be other people at university who are also in your position? As hard as it might seem, try talking to new people next time you are at lectures. There may very well be others in your class with whom you share a lot in common. As to girlfriends: You're still young! Whilst some relationships bring people happiness, very often a relationship can bring its own complications. Enjoy being single, find your own contentment first, and worry about girls later!
The bottom line is that humans are social animals. Without social interaction we start to withdraw, lose our self-esteem, and become despondent. The best way to combat this is to force ourselves to get out there and do something. You'll find that, if you can develop the self-discipline to stay busy, your sadness will become a thing of the past.