Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

Chase, Flourish Stories. (AI edit) Credit: Andrew Brodhead


Main content start

Content Note

Flourish Stories may include discussions of suicidal ideation or language that may be distressing. As you read each student's story, we encourage you to prioritize your own emotional well-being. Take a break from reading or seek support if needed. Remember, it's OK to not be OK. 

I let myself become obsessed with this idea of perfection, which gradually had me drifting away from things that brought me joy, all in the pursuit of productivity. So now, I try to seek joy as often as I can ...”

Neighborhood Colors Decorative Accent Line

Chase's Story

“My mental health journey started when I was quite young, in early elementary school, when I began experiencing anxiety. For a moderate amount of time since then, I’ve been seeing a therapist, working on learning to live with it and being empowered with tools to do so. 

When I first came to college, I found myself going through a lot of the normal experiences that people have when going away for the first time, such as missing my family, experiencing homesickness, and even feeling I didn’t quite belong here. Yet over time, I found myself really struggling and realizing I was no longer the charismatic person I’d been for most of my life.

Each morning, my stomach would turn in on itself, and an impending doom would hang over me like a sheet. There was nothing that could bring me joy or make me feel warm inside. One day, though, when it felt like I truly wouldn’t see the light again, I decided to call my family to ask for help. That call opened my eyes to healing. They were able to convince me to return to therapy after taking a hiatus since coming to Stanford. Within less than 24 hours of our call, they had found me a new therapist. I began our sessions within a week. 

Once I started seeking help, by the end of that quarter I felt like things were starting to change. For once, I could wake up, see the sunshine, smile and mean it. I started implementing more of a routine which included journaling, meditating, walking, calling my grandma and pausing to notice the insignificant moments in my day. My main goal was to build time into my schedule to be in the moment. It was my own form of meditation. 

During my sophomore year, I’d call my grandma every Tuesday and talk to her for an hour as I walked to the College Terrace Library. She always knew just what to say. At the end of our calls, she’d say, ‘Don’t worry,’ and I’d reply with ‘Be Happy.’ She would then blow three kisses into the phone, and I’d do the same thing back. It was her way of letting me know how heard and seen I was as I was struggling. She always made me feel so loved.

Today, I’m at a point where I’ve just graduated therapy for the second time, and it feels like things have come full circle. I am able to look forward to the morning, to seeing the sun and to going on my walks. Life has color and vibrancy again. 

A few years ago, I learned this analogy about pretending that your brain and all of your thoughts are like a train station. Let’s say that you're sitting on the bench at a station and there are many different trains going by. Each train is a different thought. But when you're at a train station in real life, you don't get on every train; that's impossible. You choose to get on a specific train going to your specific destination. It’s deliberate; it’s a choice you make. So, as you're sitting on your metaphorical bench and thinking about the different trains of thought available to you, you can learn to acknowledge them and let them go until eventually you get on the train that's right for you. This singular train of thought will hopefully bring about positivity.

Meditative thinking has taught me to be a lot more present in the moment and aware of what’s going on around me, but also cognizant of what’s going on in my head. It’s allowed me to be more in tune with myself, pick up on my mental and physical cues when I’m not OK, and eventually do something about it. A lot of times, doing something about it includes music. It’s a different form of meditation. I have playlists and songs for every mood, ranging from the Grateful Dead to Pink Floyd to Stevie Wonder to Bob Dylan. When I put on my headphones, my first instinct is not to think about anything else — it’s to listen and let the music play.

When I was younger, I let myself become obsessed with this idea of perfection, which gradually had me drifting away from things that brought me joy, all in the pursuit of productivity. So now, I try to seek joy as often as I can. There’s even a quote on my wall by Jack Keruoac that says, ‘Why not live for fun and joy and love?’ It’s something that I’ve been trying to implement more and more. I seek out things that make me feel warm inside, like the warmth of a towel after a shower, a smile from a loved one, a Stern burrito bowl with extra sour cream, a pair of funky socks or a game of Scrabble. 

These days, I have learned that mental health and well-being is not something that’s linear. One day you can wake up feeling like yourself, and the next day you can feel lost. This is completely normal. But at the end of the day, the most important lesson that I have learned is that while there will be a lot of bad days, there are so many joys to be discovered and so much love to be shared among us all. We are lucky enough to live this life, to experience small pleasures, and to revel in the beauty, the spontaneity and the luck of our own existence, together.”

Additional Details About Chase

  • Class of ’25
  • BA, English
Littlefield garden, 2022. Credit: Andrew Brodhead

Mental Health Resources at Stanford

This website is your go-to hub for navigating the many mental health and well-being resources at Stanford. Whether you are seeking advice to establish your self-care routine, looking for ways to manage stress or mental health symptoms, tips to help a friend, someone supportive to talk to, or anything in between, you are not alone.

Professional staff and your peers are ready to support you, regardless of what point you are in your mental health and well-being journey.