The year after college
I was diagnosed with depression about 6 months after graduating college. I didn’t know my feelings had a name. I thought I was just bored with life which was pretty accurate at the time. I worked the same part-time job I had in college, except now, I wasn’t leaving work to rush over to class or to party with my friends or to pull an all-nighter to finish a major school project. I left work to go home and sleep.
My life became fatigue, sadness, irritability, and frustration. I was upset that I wasn’t making 60k/year fresh out of school. I was jealous of all my peers who looked like they were a success right out of college. I isolated myself from my friends and family. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I cried myself to sleep every night. The signs were there but I didn’t want to believe it was happening. Once I had my third emotional breakdown at work — my supervisor took me home and told me to call EAP (employee assistance program). I called, made the appointment with the therapist and marched myself into her office.
My doctor placed me on antidepressants for 3 months and I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I was always a happy person. I maintained healthy relationships with my family and friends. I was physically active all through college. But slowly, somewhere after graduating, when things didn’t work out for me, I slipped into a dark hole. I convinced myself that the solution was getting away. I sold the idea to my parents that moving to another place would be best for everyone because I was scared to do it by myself. I wasn’t ready to be alone. In reality, I also wanted to leave because I had been in the same place since I was born. Half of me was terrified to leave and the other part was excited because it was a new place and there would so much to discover! Once my parents agreed to move with me, I began my road to recovery.
I started off really slow. My therapist urged me to lean on my “regular routine.” Wake up, make my bed, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, go out, etc. Even if it was to take a walk around the block, she said it was essential to feeling normal again. I told my parents, and together we went through the routine together. Then I added in exercise. My boyfriend was very supportive and offered to workout with me. Exercise combined with my medication stabilized my emotions. When we drove from California to Florida, the week long ritual of waking up early, driving for hours, exercising once we got to a hotel, and then sleeping continued to improve my mood everyday. The change of pace forced me into a regular routine and that was probably was pulled me out of the hole.
Now I recognize that depression affects everyone. It snuck up on me and before I knew it, I was down in the dumps. Today, I’m grateful that I went through it and I had so much support from my family. I urge anyone that feels like they’re struggling to talk to someone and get help because just taking the first step can often lead to recovery.