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May 3, 2017

Don't Give Up Hope—Get Help

Hey, Bonita…

Dear Bonita,

I'm currently a student and working a part-time job. I recently realized that I have been depressed for a long time, and it is due to being alone and stressed. Even though I have friends and a partner, I feel like it is not enough. I try and reach out to other people, but I never feel good enough, and I end up spending time alone or in school/work.

I'm about to enter a critical part of my school career, and I feel overwhelmed. My job is getting more demanding of my time. I feel worried that isolation is from me getting overworked and soon I will burn out and regret it all. Plus, I will have no one to fall back on, and end up even more alone than before.

Also, I've been having suicidal thoughts. I haven't attempted it, but I always find myself thinking about it from time to time. I have done my research and picked the best options. I've talked to a few people about it, and even though they mean well, I still have this feeling that I should do it. However, I knew someone last year that committed suicide, and I saw how that affected their loved ones. I don't want my loved ones to suffer, but I also feel like I'm losing my grip on hope.

You're not alone, because you have friends and love in your life—darling, you said so. If you fall apart, you will most certainly have those people to fall back on.

I understand that you are completely overworked, but nothing will be solved with your death. Think about the very temporary nature of the things that are troubling you, and think about the long-term benefits of weathering this storm instead of giving up.

College is absolutely not worth the amount of stress you're feeling. Take a break from school. Whether that's an entire semester off or just taking online courses, you need to put some distance between yourself and your studies before things get really bad. You are clearly lacking in peace and rest, so lessen your workload and take the personal time that you need for self-care. If taking a semester off would delay your graduation plans, I'd say it's worth it given your chosen alternative. Lighten your load before it breaks your back.

Alternately, quit your job, especially if your boss is aware of your school workload but demanding more of your time than you can spare. Any boss who sniffs at your education and demands more of you doesn't care about your best interests, so why care about theirs? Is the job in question even the type you'd put on a professional résumé? If not, quit today. You don't need that reference.

Also, I feel obligated to point you in the direction of cheap and free mental-health services here in town. I got the idea to peace out from Earth last year, and getting a therapist is what kept me here. I talk about the Samaritan Center for Counseling and Wellness (455 N. Lumpkin St., 706-369-7911) plenty in this column, and there's also Nuçi's Space downtown (396 Oconee St., 706-227-1515). Talk therapy sounds simple, but it can mean so much to have a an empathetic ear and professional guidance when our own rationale flies out of the window.

There are people in this world who would never be the same without you, and you still don't know what your purpose is here. What if you're destined to do something amazing? Oprah Winfrey has spoken publicly about attempting suicide. Just saying. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems once you're out of the thick of it. Stick around. Please.

Need advice? Email advice@flagpole.com, use our anonymous form, or find Bonita on Twitter: @flagpolebonita.

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