As a recent college graduate with a solid GPA and an impressive resume, life was just getting started. I was a 25-year-old single woman with no obligations and a world of possibilities in front of me. I had every reason to be excited about life, right?
I thought so too.
But as graduation approached nothing sounded exciting anymore. My goals and dreams slowly faded, and all of the sudden I had no ambition. I had no idea what to do, so I did what any exhausted college graduate would do, I moved back home. I needed a break from school anyways. And while living with my parents I could rest, recuperate, and get on to my awesome future.
A few months passed and something scary happened—I realized nothing had changed. How could that be? I was doing so many things that should have helped me get back to my happy, ambitious self, things like:
Running 6 days a week
Eating well with an occasional trip for ice cream
Attending church every Sunday
Spending lots of quality time with family and friends
Serving people through church and community opportunities
Praying and meditating daily
Staying busy with work, service, and recreation
Getting back into my hobbies of dance, photography, long boarding, and hiking
Why wasn’t all of this working? Aside from doing these things, I was continuously telling myself to “snap out of it” and, “You should be so happy right now” or, “You have so much to look forward to.” I was giving myself pep talks every day hoping all of this would pull me out of my strange funk.
But inside I continued to feel dead. Numb. Frustrated. None of my methods were working.
Finally, I went to a doctor. There had to be something wrong with me: maybe a sickness that was draining all my energy or a disease that was messing up my hormones. I wanted answers, and I wanted help.
The diagnosis was something I never expected: major depression.
Really? Me? I had so many things going for me. I was doing everything I could. I was a 25-year-old, single, recent graduate with a world of possibilities ahead of me. Yet there I was, clinically depressed. I won’t expound on why I believe I became depressed, but here’s what I hope everyone to understand:
You can’t talk yourself out of depression. You can’t make yourself “snap out of it.” You can’t do it alone.
Don’t get me wrong, all of those things I did to help myself, really did help. But depression is a chemical imbalance, a serious disorder that needs medical attention. The internal pep talks just aren’t enough. Exercise won’t cure the numbness, and an increase in spirituality will not relieve the darkness. You need help.
There are various methods of treatment available depending on each individual and circumstance. There is hope. I can’t express the relief I felt after my diagnosis, knowing I could get help. I didn’t have to be that tired, lifeless person forever. That wasn’t me.
Now, with the medical help I have received and my continual lifestyle choices, I feel great. I still experience ups and downs on a daily basis, and I’m working to alleviate the causes of my depression. But I feel like my happy, ambitious self again, and I have every reason to be excited about life.