It has now been exactly one year since my college graduation, and I think it is time that I come out about my last few months.
For those who know me, whether we grew up together, just met in college, or we’re simply Internet friends, I think it is safe to say that 90% of the time you could find me smiling. I often made corny jokes, took things sometimes too lightly, stayed on the bright side, and never really let anything negatively affect me for more than a few minutes. I once had a friend tell me I existed primarily as a form of ‘comedic relief.’
I lived to make others happy through my own positive view of life.
But that all changed sometime post grad.
Sometime between May 2013 and February of 2014, I let my self worth be defined by others – by my lack of a job, lack of a boyfriend, lack of college friends keeping in touch.
I couldn’t find happiness in anything other than going out every weekend and pretending to live in the moment. But when I would wake up the next morning, the self-loathing would increase.
My degree, my honors, my college life did not matter. Nothing mattered. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have money. I felt lonely, isolated, useless…
Sometime between May and February, I fell into a deep depression. I couldn’t sleep. When I did eventually find slumber, I couldn’t wake up. I couldn’t motivate myself to get out of my bed, to shower, to put on real clothes. I ate nothing at all, or everything at once. I avoided hanging out with my best friends. I ignored phone calls and texts because being alone was just easier. I would break down in tears in random places, at my part time retail job, while driving, alone in my bed, at dinner with my parents. I couldn’t explain it.
I began to have thoughts about life, about living, about myself that I never thought I would have.
Looking back, I am embarrassed and ashamed that I did not seek help. I have always been and will always be an advocate of mental health awareness. It is not shameful to ask for help, and yet, I was a hypocrite. I came to no one.
My parents would say, “You used to be so happy. What happened?”
And I didn’t know how to answer them. I didn’t know who to go to, or what to say, or even why I was sad.
High school to college isn’t the most difficult transition in life, college to post grad is.
Eventually, I snapped out of it. With the changing seasons, my attitude on life also shifted. I found happiness in myself once again. I became excited for my future…. for living.
This isn’t to minimize the real issues of clinical depression that many people face, but this is to say if you are having more than just a bad few days, you are not alone. I had a bad few months. I came out of it. You can too.
So yes, I am writing this to come out about my depression, but not just for me. I am writing this to the class of 2014, and to my current peers, and to future college students and post grads or anyone who finds trouble in valuing themselves.
It’s hard when your entire life you have a set path, and suddenly that path just abandons you in the real world with no career. With the steady rate of unemployment for recent grads, I assume I am not alone in feeling worthless this past year.
But you are more than your career. You can define your own success. Just keep pushing, never give up, and create your own happiness.
Don’t be afraid to talk to someone, to me, to a parent, to a friend, to a therapist. I wish I had.
There is no real reason in writing this other than to share my story in the hopes that it will allow others realize they are not alone.
I am now back to my normal, peppy, overly-excited-about-life self, but it wasn’t without months of struggle, pain, anxiety, tears, and feelings of worthlessness.
Keep thinking of your bright future, even when it looks nothing but bleak. I promise it will get better.
“Don’t be fooled by your emptiness, there’s so much more room for happiness.”