Depression Creeping Back Into My Life

I graduated college and am back at home until I go abroad later this summer to teach. I first began suffering from debilitating depression when I was 12 until I graduated high school. While I would feel depressed on and off during college, overall my four years in the university have been wonderful (some of the happiest of my life). I have maintained an active, fulfilling, joyous, and intellectually stimulating lifestyle over the past four years, and now the routine that has guided my life for those four years is gone. Done. AndĀ  I'm immediately feeling the darkness creep back into my life. The feelings of inadequacy, irritability, and misery are washing back over me like a wave; the familiar comments from family and friends are re-surfacing: "You seem so unhappy." "You always look miserable." "Why don't you ever come out of your room anymore?" I've always felt depressed most strongly during summers because of the change in routine because, apparently, I depend on routine to keep me functioning. Can others who suffer from depression relate to this? Graduating college is such a major life change, and already I'm not handling it well. Furthermore, I'm supposed to go abroad later this summer, so I need to be both physically and mentally healthy. After a great experience in college, I was expecting to feel on top of the world after graduation; depression was supposed to be a part of my past. But it's almost as if the depression has always been present, waiting in some dark corner for the opportunity to consume me when I'm most vulnerable. Anyway, I don't mean for this to be a pity-party. I've just been caught off guard, but this time around I'm determinedĀ  to not let depression ruin what I've been looking forward to for so long.
NewAntoinette NewAntoinette
18-21, F
2 Responses May 21, 2012

Depression is like the colour of your eyes: you're stuck with it. Like some of the others have said, it will go away for a while, then it kicks in, visits you again. As they have also said, you just have to learn to live with it. Now, that's not as easy as it sounds, I know. One thing that has helped me over the decades is to work out my strengths, the things that really mattered to me in life (eg learning, writing, reading), and pursue those with dedication, not worrying too much about keeping up with the mainstream, fitting in with normality. That does not mean I am eccentric or way out there. It just means I do things my way, while trying always to be considerate of the feelings of others. If I learn well (I did and do), if I write well (I do) and if I read lots of good things, then the world stays on its axis for me. I am a bit reclusive, but not a hermit by any means. I enjoy drinking and I have the usual amount of sex. Etc. I travel a little. I find and enjoy friends. The things that really drive me down are negatives, such as rejection (of a piece of writing, by a sex partner, etc.). I have to then work out ways to overcome. Send the writing elsewhere, find a new lover, etc. I have to keep my head up. Routine and habit help, as you suggest in your story. I too am a creature of pattern. It gives form to my life and helps keep that black hole at bay. I don't know what else to say to you. I still suffer from it as an old man. I have learned to live with it, and I hope you can find a way to do that too.

Really great insight, especially the point about working out your strengths. This was important in improving my depression after I left high school because I began to "find myself" in a sense, cultivate my talents and interests that had previously been hidden from me, and pay less attention to other people's and society's expectations of me. I felt less oppressed by my depression as a result. But as you said, I'm stuck with depression, and now that I've accepted that sobering fact, my understanding of my own depression has widened and that in itself is empowering, at least.

I can relate to what you are saying. I believe that depression (and anxiety as well) is something that we can't just get rid of for good. You learn to live with it. Any major change or stress in our life brings it back on. And of course this is frustrating and disappointing! But what I try to do, instead of feeling pity for myself , when depression and anxiety "come to visit" again, is to try to deal with it the best way I can. For example these past few months have been extremely difficult and stressful for me and I have to deal with depression (and anxiety) again. So I have to deal with each day as it comes and try to do whatever I know will lift my mood. Last night for instance, I watched a comedy on TV and then I slept quite early which helps me. Today, before I went to work I exercised and I listened to some uplifting music. In the car while going to work I sang a few songs I like. I also try to eat healthy foods instead of junk foods. But when I need my chocolate I take it! I love gardening so I try to do as much gardening as I can. I try hard to keep myself busy when I'm feeling that I just want to give up and stay in my bed all day. All these little things help my mood. So I keep doing them. It's the little things that really help. Oh, and of course I try very very hard to talk on the phone with one or two of my friends when I'm feeling low, although naturally it's very difficult to do that when I'm feeling so bad, and also to talk to my husband about my worries. All these help tremendously and they keep me from falling deep into depression. I'm seeing a therapist as well (who practices cbt) since November, and of course this has helped me very much as well. But it's what you do that will help, because you are the one who really knows you and your body and mind, no therapist can do that for you. I hope these few suggestions will help! Take care!

Thank you for the advice! I agree entirely that the little things, as cliche as it might sound, always put me in a better mood. Things as simple as taking a walk early in the morning in my favorite park or taking a hot bath with the my favorite songs playing in the background do wonders for my mood. I'm naturally very introverted, and when depression is added to the mix, I can really isolate myself from people and dig myself into a hole. So it's very hard to call up a friend and go meet them somewhere public when I'm feeling miserable, even though I know it would do so much good.