You need to get your head examined!

Why do people say college is not the real world? University life is very much a part of the real world. People in college must not only contend with mountains of reading, assignments and exams, but most likely also maintain jobs and families and homes. All of these stresses can lead to insomnia, depression, substance abuse and overall feelings of malaise.

With all of this combined stress, it can be hard to know where to turn for help. Although there is a plethora of phone numbers to call for psychic advice or sex, the best remedy for what ails ye may be the age-old tradition of therapy.

Portland State University has many therapeutic resources in the Counseling and Psychological Services Center, or CAPS. The friendly faces at CAPS can help. The office employs counselors in the form of graduate students, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.

People may feel a sense of trepidation in deciding to seek therapy. While this is a personal decision that one must make, it is always good to be honest and open when looking for help. So, in the spirit of honesty and openness, I will say from my own personal experience that the folks at CAPS were wonderfully open and helpful in my search for stress relief.

With the help of the people at CAPS, I was able to try out a variety of alternatives for therapy. If you need advice on CAPS, I am the girl for you. The receptionist knows me by name, and that’s saying something. I have no fear in my honesty regarding my stint in the bowels of depression and hope that other people will realize that there is nothing to be ashamed of when you need a little help.

The individual therapy available is generally led by a graduate student in his or her final year of the program. This experience for me was incredibly helpful. I was able to discuss issues important to me with a peer. Other people may not feel as comfortable sharing with a person who may or may not be very close to their own age, but it is worth a try.

Group therapy, however, was not my bag. I suppose I am too much of an attention whore to have to share the floor with five to six other people. It is, however, a very viable option for people struggling with issues such as ADHD and sexual minority status. Group therapy is a confidential place to share common concerns and experiences with others grappling with similar issues.

Let’s not forget the therapeutic advantages of medication on a depressed individual. This seems to be the trickiest for people to understand. Having already been familiarized with the concept of anti-depressant medication before I went to CAPS, I was not shocked or afraid when it was suggested that I try a little pharmaceutical remedy. Nor was I surprised then it helped me tremendously.

Medication is a controversial issue for some people. I have heard people say derogatory and insensitive things about depression and those of us who are medicated. All I can say in response is that until you know what a difference a pill a day can make, you should probably not pass judgment on me.

So, if you find you’re at a point where you can no longer manage your stress, it may be a good idea to make an appointment at CAPS.