Life in college can be stressful. In fact, 67-84% of students reported experiencing a traumatic event in their lives. 6-17% of those people experience symptoms of PTSD. These symptoms can make school even more stressful. Therapy is a time commitment, and having to balance school, work, and other extracurriculars can create a schedule that is unpredictable. How many people do YOU know who are available during work hours for an hour every week? Looking at the schedule posted by the school might seem light at first. Then everything else has to fit in those gaps somehow. It doesn’t help that most positions require time slots between 9-5.
“Stress is not what happens to us. It is our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose.” – Maureen Killoran
And now we also have a pandemic going in…
It may be significant that mental health becomes a campus-wide priority during the current pandemic. Lots of schools are still closing and plan to be shut down for the entire year due to the spread of COVID-19. Plenty of students are currently struggling to go if they need mental health services right away when they are off-campus. Even the ones that do exist, like telehealth, feel impersonal and distant. College students’ daily lives have been reshaped with necessary impositions of social distancing, self-isolation, and taking online courses.
Stress and PTSD increases
Quarantine has opened up more opportunities to encounter stress. Especially the emotional and physical stress that comes with a pandemic! Venting to friends through zoom or facetime calls just doesn’t feel the same. The frustrations that come with isolation might be harder to deal with symptoms of PTSD. It might be harder to avoid triggers when you are restricted to certain spaces and activities. Remember to take care of yourself during these stressful times, and to prioritize your mental and physical health!
Written Exposure Therapy can help!
Exposure therapy is creating a safe environment where an individual can face the object or thought they fear and through repeated exposure, can eventually learn that this object or thought is harmless. Written Exposure Therapy stems from this method and is a very accessible form of treatment. By writing the thoughts that an individual experiences when they are around or thinking of the feared stimulus, this is essentially the same as practicing exposure. Following a routine schedule of writing for 30 minutes each day, many people have found relief through implementing Written Exposure Therapy.