Screaming On the Inside

Everything hurts and I can’t stop crying

Madeline Fuerstenberg

More stories from Madeline Fuerstenberg

November 2, 2020

Let’s talk about health — both mental and physical.

As I already said last week, I have dealt with anxiety and depression for the last few years of my life. Though each issue has improved significantly over time, there are still days when I struggle immensely — especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

The beginning of a new semester is always an overwhelming time, at least for me. The logical side of me understands there are ways to feel better when stressed-out: eat healthily, work out, get plenty of sleep, etc. But the larger, more dominant side of me loves sugar, hates physical activity and has crippling insomnia. 

Don’t be like me, everyone. Be better.

According to, 50 percent of college students have reported struggling in school as a result of extreme anxiety, while 30 percent report the same problem as a result of other mental health issues. 

Eighty percent of college students have reported they feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities as a student. 

Forty percent of college students fail to seek help when they are struggling with mental health.

We all have our own demons to face. Mental health does not necessarily play any significant role in forming these demons, but nobody is immune to stress. 

Some of us need to work multiple jobs to afford our education. Some spend hours at team practices, then go home to spend the remainder of their day on homework. Some of us are facing family issues, legal issues or different health issues. 

This week I faced a new problem of my own. I spent my entire morning in urgent care on Saturday. A pain in my side escalated to full agony along the entire left side of my torso, my back and my arm. The doctor was unable to give me any sort of definitive diagnosis, so I was prescribed some muscle relaxers and sent on my way.

The pain is still there. My current theories behind the pain range between a bad pinched nerve to a full-on heart attack. 

As the weekend has gone by, nothing has improved. It is Sunday afternoon as I write this column. I can’t breathe too hard without experiencing a sharp squeezing feeling in my chest. I can’t walk without experiencing these weird palpitations in my heart. I can’t even bend down to put on my shoes without an aching pain along my neck, shoulder blade and arm.

So now I have this internal debate happening. What should come first: my physical health or my education? I know it’ll be a painful experience walking to campus tomorrow, and more so walking up the stairs in Hibbard. Relaxation might be a key factor in feeling better. 

But I also know it’s only our second week of classes and it probably wouldn’t look too great for me to start skipping them already. 

Personally, I think physical and mental health issues should be prioritized first, but some circumstances can be tricky. The decision I make will most likely depend on how I’m feeling in the morning. 

And really, it’s a decision that would be completely different for everyone. We all know our own limits. We all know what we can or cannot handle. In the end, it is entirely up to you to gauge your own wellness — nobody else can make the decision for you to stay home for the day, go about your normal routine or seek professional help (unless it’s an emergency).

So don’t be ashamed to take a mental health day. Don’t force yourself to go to a class when you’re in too much pain. Nobody will understand what you are feeling better than yourself. 

I’m screaming on the inside slightly louder this week. If anyone is able to diagnose my excruciating pain, I’m all ears.

Fuerstenberg can be reached at [email protected].