When Alexia Cisneros was five years old, she wanted a stethoscope for her birthday. At nine, she cured herself of the chickenpox, and at eleven she knew she wanted to be a pediatrician. “If you ask me how many Barbie dolls I used as practice dummies for my surgeries, you would be surprised,” Alexia said. “Ever since I could remember I’ve wanted to be a doctor.” However, when Alexia turned 17 she was hospitalized for major depression disorder.
“The summer before my junior year was the hardest time of my life,” Alexia said. “I was so involved in school and in my community. I was trying to get everything perfect for college.” Alexia spent the summer before her junior year taking two college classes, working at a restaurant, volunteering at a daycare and being involved with different student organizations.
Alexia’s mother, Blanca Cisneros, believes her daughter had put too much on her plate. She said she rarely had a conversation longer than five minutes. Cisneros said her daughter was always busy with something, but was worried this time it would be too much.
Alexia said her schedule was so tight that two months after her junior year began that she collapsed. “I was in a study group for the SAT and all of a sudden I started crying,” she said. “I think I cried for seven hours straight. I couldn’t control it. At one point, I started yelling. It was an explosion — I had hit rock bottom.”
Blanca Cisneros took her daughter to the local medical center and they admitted her right away. After several psychological tests, the doctor diagnosed Alexia with a depression disorder.“When they said she was depressed, I thought they made a mistake,” Blanca Cisneros said. “My daughter has never been sad or upset, she was always happy.” Blanca said the doctor explained that stress in females and in college-ready students can lead to depression.
Blanca Sanchez-Navarro, Supervising Counselor at Texas State University, added stress is the number one concern for students in college or getting ready to go to college. “There’s rarely one thing that can help with stress, but I can tell you to breathe and it actually can make a different and breathe well,” Sanchez- Navarro said.
Alexia said it took her several hours, but she crossed off many items off her laundry list of to-dos. After being hospitalized for eight days, she went home and focused on her SAT and nothing else. By cutting back on her commitments and not overextending herself, she was able to de-stress. “It’s weird not being as busy as before, but I have learned how to control my stress and know what is too much for me.”