Last year, I began my first year of college. Everything went amazingly well (like almost suspiciously so).
My roommate was perfect, my classes were amazing, my grades were great, I was strengthening old friendships and forging new ones. Then, winter break came… and so did my dear old friend, Seasonal Depression.
Suddenly, even the easiest tasks seemed impossible. Getting out of bed was a nightmare, socializing was a pain, and I stumbled through every day in a thick, gray fog. People usually think of depression as someone wallowing in tears and self-pity, but I think that’s rarely the case. For me, depression was a perpetual state of numbness. I didn’t care enough to be happy, so why would I care enough to be sad? I didn’t feel anything, at all.
I’d experienced depression before, but this was– without a doubt– the lowest point, in my life. And it made no sense! But depression is a senseless beast. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve accomplished, or where you’ve been. Depression can latch itself onto anyone.
In my first semester, I’d achieved all A’s, made new friends, and found new interests. But by the time January rolled around, none of that mattered. All I knew was that I couldn’t get out bed, everyone and everything irritated me, and life seemed pointless. The day before I was supposed to move back into my dorm room, I finally confessed to my mom exactly how I had been feeling, and that I had been planning to drop out for a while.
The next week was one of the longest weeks of my life.
Instead of dropping out, my parents convinced me to move back home and enroll in on-line classes at Winthrop. This meant that– in the grips of the worst depressive episode of my life– I had to plan an entirely new class schedule, drop all of my old classes, enroll in entirely new classes (all online), move all of my things out of my dorm room, and convince the school to let me move off-campus. Next, I had to see a doctor for anti-depressants and begin counseling sessions with Winthrop’s Health & Counseling services. All the while, I had to maintain good grades if I wanted to keep any of my scholarships.
Fighting my depression was, arguably, harder than the depression itself.
In HMXP, a class required for all Winthrop students, we discussed The Myth of Sisyphus, in which Sisyphus’ fate is to push a boulder to the top of a mountain, every day, only to have it roll back to the bottom, moments later. This perfectly describes how I felt. Every morning, I got out of bed, I brushed my teeth, I washed my face, I ate my breakfast, and I did my schoolwork. Then, the next morning, it started all over again. It was a mundane, pointless existence.
Except… it wasn’t.
Every day, that thick fog of depression that had swallowed me whole seemed to thin. With every mundane task that I completed, I gained a bit more energy. Then, before I knew it, I was actually looking forward to the next day. For the first time in a long time, I was excited about something. And it didn’t matter that that “something” was merely waking up to my morning cup of coffee and a bagel. I had a routine! Just like Sisyphus, I had found meaning in the seemingly pointless cycle that had become my life.
Before long, I published an article on (you guessed it) Her Campus about my experience as being a survivor of sexual assault. I didn’t expect anybody to really care, but I was wrong. So many people reached out to me or my family members and expressed their love and support. It was incredible.
Since then, I’ve had my ups and downs, but I am in an incredibly amazing place, emotionally and physically. I’m happily commuting to school, I love my classes, my friends, my family, and my life. I feel a sense of purpose again, and I’m excited to see what the future has in store.
While this past year has been the rockiest one of my life, I believe that I have come out of it a much better person. I appreciate myself and my life so much more. By no means is my depression “gone”, but I now know that I don’t have to face it alone. I have a support system and healthier coping abilities for the next time depression tries to drag me down.
As the greatest band in history once said:
“With your love, nobody can drag me down”
(One Direction- Four)
National Rape Crisis Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
Winthrop Health and Counseling Center/OVA : 803-323-2206