According to the National Network of Depression Centers, depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States among people ages 15-44. Yet, it’s one of the least funded disease for research and treatment. Because of this, many people living with this type of mental illness are not receiving the type of treatment that they need to possibly save their lives. It’s a topic that’s talked about briefly and then swept under the rug.
Yet, if it’s not an important disease why was suicide the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-44? Why is there one death by suicide every 12.3 minutes in the United states? Why were there 42, 773 deaths by suicide in the United States in 2014?
It’s because we don’t talk about it until it’s too late. We don’t come up with solutions and preventions and safe spaces until AFTER someone close to you has committed this act.
The reason why I bring this up is because I suffer from depression. Is it serious enough that I need to be on medication? No, but I have noticed the symptoms. I have noticed that decrease in appetite in “random” moments; the seclusion I preferred to than to be around people, and the lack of interest in things that I used to be so passionate about.
WHEN DID I BEGIN TO NOTICE?
It was during senior year of college did I slightly begin to notice a change. I didn’t fully pay attention to it before and I can tell you that I wish I did. I might have made different and better choices if I did. Senior year was the time when I couldn’t wait to leave. I survived 4 years of homework, tests, and stressful exams and I was ready for the real world.
Or so I thought I was.
What I realize now was that I was ready for a break. I wasn’t ready for the world by ANY chance.
It was during that time, I was also realizing which friends were going to stay with me after college and which ones were going to turn into dust. I started off with dozens of friends my freshmen year; by senior year, I could honestly say that I ended up with two really good ones.
WHAT THE HELL HAVE I BEEN DOING SINCE COLLEGE?
For the past two years, I have worked as a manager for a car rental agency. I was in a field that had nothing to do with my degree. I wasn’t contributing to society and I had no time to myself. It was my first job after college and I remember when I received that offer. I was ecstatic because here I was: 6 months after graduation and I was able to get a job. I was able to beat the statistic of recent grads struggling to find jobs up to over a year. But I made it into a new statistic. I was part of the 52.3% of Americans who were not happy with their jobs.
I worked my ass off for a career that I never saw myself be in. I missed birthdays, baby showers, going away parties, and family BBQs. There would go weeks where I wouldn’t see my family that my mom would call me to see if I was still alive. I would reason with myself in staying in a job that made me miserable: the money isn’t that bad, it’s only temporarily, this new position will be different, this new office will be a change, the experience will be invaluable. No matter what I thought, it didn’t work.
Actually, trying to reason with myself actually made me MORE frustrated and angry at my situation. I felt trapped.
WHAT ELSE CAN HAPPEN?
Over the span of one month, I broke up with my boyfriend who I thought was going to be “the One” and was having roommate problems with someone who I knew for close to 6 years. I was miserable at work and at home. It was like a never-ending cycle.
One thing after another kept showing up and I felt like I was sinking. I couldn’t eat and sleep and everywhere I turned to was another living hell. It was like drowning in sea of fake happiness and smiles. I would stare off into space at random times and burst into tears on the ride to work and home.
My thoughts were constantly on what I did wrong and what I could have done to change the outcome of my life. I felt like a failure and that there was nothing I can do to come back from it.
WHAT I DID AFTERWARDS.
I looked into therapy and although I didn’t go I did do alternative forms. I knew I had to change the pace of my life or else I was going to go down a very dark place. Yet, you know what the funniest part was? It all began when I was contacted from a company I previously interviewed for. Although I didn’t get the job for the position I interviewed for previously, I was offered a new one.
I took this offer as a chance to change my life and I decided that for once, instead of complaining, I was going to do something more. I threw in my 2-weeks, moved back home, and decided to limit communication with my ex.
By moving back home, I was able to reconnect with my family and to be there for the special moments. I wasn’t alone during my grief and on the random moments when my thoughts would go dark, I had my sister down the hall to do something stupid that would make me smile.
By putting in my two-weeks, I left a job that had me working 12+ hours everyday, with random schedules, for one that was steady and gave me weekends off. I was able to sign up for Salsa lessons and reconnect with old friends from high school.
And by putting a time limit in not contacting my ex for whatever reason, I was able to discover myself again. It was hard at first. All I wanted to do was talk to him and to see how he was doing. Yet, I redirected that laser focus into me instead of him. I dyed my hair to a color I always wanted to try. I began to read and exercise again. This self-discovery led me to the decision to go back to school to get my masters and to come up with a plan to travel to Japan in the Spring.
To be honest, I still struggle with my depression. I have my moments where I can be watching TV in my room and then all of a sudden go into a crying mode. Yet, I’m working on it by working on myself.
Being aware and open about depression is important. It’s not a terrible thing and not the end of the world to say you have it. I think because I was able to admit that I have depression, my perspective in life began to change.
Everything happens for a reason. It’s just how you react to the situation that will dictate if the outcome is positive or negative.