Using the word “depression” is difficult because, to me, it is admitting defeat. As I get older, I realize that I don’t suffer from depression on a regular basis as so many do. There was a time that I did but that feels like ages ago now. But for a couple of months after graduating, I sunk into a hole that felt all too deep. I’ve learned some lessons in my 253 days since flipping my tassel…
1) It’s okay that you miss your “old life”
This was hard for me to admit to myself, let alone to others. My “new life” was good. I had no grounds to complain as I was able to move home to a totally happy, respectful living-with-dad situation. But all those connections I had made, my college friends, they were not nearby anymore. Suddenly, I was eating most meals alone and spending much more time with Netflix and less with a can of bud light. Which brings me to my next point…
2) Suddenly, you have so much more time in your thoughts
When you have a club or sorority, plus classes, plus a job, plus a social life, plus appeasing your professors – it is easy to be too busy to think about yourself. There were so many days in college that my calendar was far too full to have a mental breakdown. There just wasn’t time! In the darkest place of my post-grad depression I had virtually no commitments. There were no meetings to attend, events to plan, papers to write, nothing. I found myself dedicating entire days to being sad and crying because I truly did not have anything else to do. Part of getting back on track, for me, is embracing my Type-A personality and filling that google calendar of mine with as much as I can.
3) Yes, you will be bored.
No one is going to come knock on your dorm door and cheerfully invite you to some event in your building or on campus. Your friends don’t live down the hall or a 5 minute walk away anymore. In fact, some of your friends may have even had the nerve to go off and start a career giving them less free time to entertain you! (I know! Talk about jerks) If you are anything like me and need responsibility to get you out of bed, you are going to have to find that on your own. Your community needs your help. Your blog that you ignore for months at a time could use some attention. Your old high school totally needs someone to coach soccer because Mrs. Jones has the worst flu in the history of illness. You get the point… you have to find things you like now and you have to do that on your own.
4) Be honest with the people around you
It is not uncommon to disconnect from the world around you when Sir Depression decides he is moving in. Totally normal, y’all. And I think for a time it is healthy to embrace your feelings and just be sad for a bit. But stewing in your feelings too long definitely makes them worse. It is important to tell your loved ones what is going on with you so they can keep you accountable for getting better!
5) Get help!
This is probably the hardest tip for most people. I would say this is the most literal admit of defeat in the whole process. Also, financially challenging for many of us just getting out of college. But trust me, having a great therapist is flippin’ awesome. There is no shame in realizing you can’t do it on your own.
I am happy with my life now. It is getting back to the version of myself I like most. But I will still have days where I wake up sad and can’t seem to shake it. That is life. And I just have to live it the best that I can.
Until next time,
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