We MIT kids are a messed up bunch. Alright, fine, I haven’t been immersed in enough collegiate environments to say that we are more or less messed up than anyone else our age, but still — we have problems. Over the last three and a half years, I’ve met a lot of people who are having a really crappy time and think there’s no feasible way to improve their lives. I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill, overworked MIT students, I’m talking about people whose relationship with life is tenuous at best. People who are suffering because of their anxiety, lack of motivation, sadness, or whatever else. I’m extrapolating from what I’ve seen first-hand, but it’s a safe bet that there’s a silent fraction of MIT students who are experiencing some kind of depression but not addressing it.
It seems that at MIT, toughness is valued above almost all else. We take pride in stretching ourselves thin, whether taking an absurd number of classes, pulling multiple all-nighters, or doing well in a class we never actually attend. With our workloads, time is precious. When we’re tired, sick, or in a bad mood — we learn to cope.
Over the past month, I’ve written about mental health issues from the perspective of the afflicted. But for every individual who struggles with these issues, there are many more who are affected by association. Friends, partners, and family members end up shouldering some of the burden.