Being sick of home, a talk of mental illness

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Ian Stobaugh, Columnist

Currently, I’m sitting in my bedroom in my hometown of Decatur, IL. My walls are still pink and green, accented with a light yellow on various parts of the room. My dresser is sitting in the same place it’s been since I moved into this room (when that was, I can’t remember). My art desk, the one I got on my seventeenth birthday, is still stained with acrylic paint from the works I created over the one year I’ve had it. To most people, knowing that their room is still the exact same way they left it is comforting. However, to me, it’s the exact opposite.

I’ve been struggling with depression since I was 11 years old. I’ve had extremely high points and extremely low points. One of the lowest points was actually only three weeks ago, when I was planning my trip to Eastern, thinking about what it would be like when I got there. Would I make friends quickly, and if so, would they be like the friends I had in high school? Or would they treat me like the person I really am, and not the image that people developed for me over the first 18 years of my life? The day before I came to EIU, I didn’t sleep. Instead, I stayed up, trying to distract myself from my thoughts by learning some songs on my bass guitar.

I moved into my dorm room while running on no sleep. It was especially hard considering that immediately after I had moved in the essential things, I started band camp with PMB. I had to learn new songs on an instrument I hadn’t touched for an entire year, and I had to try and make a good impression with the people around me. The first day was more difficult than I had anticipated. I was worried that my section would hate me, or that I wouldn’t feel “good enough” to stick with it. I had quit band in high school because of these exact reasons, and I was so afraid that those patterns would repeat.

The opposite was true, however. As the week went on, I met so many amazing people and have felt more confident than I have before. Then, starting on the 18th of August, waves of people started moving in. I was surprised at how quickly I felt a sense of community. I know almost everyone on my floor by name, and I still frequently sit in the kitchen with them until it gets excessively late. I’ve only known these people for a week, and already, I feel like they’re the ones that create my safe space.

Out of everything I expected out of college, I didn’t expect such an extremely “high point” in my life. I was told that I would immediately beg to come home, and that I would want to drop out as soon as the first week was over. But as I sit in this room where I experienced seven years of an emotional whirlwind, I don’t find myself overjoyed to be in this brightly colored room. I expected to miss home when I moved away, but now I sit here finding myself missing EIU.

Ian Stobaugh can be contacted at 581-1812 or [email protected]