Looking back to my college days, living a few hours away from my immediate family was not easy, even though I was staying at my aunt’s house at the time. The people there were nice to me, but I did not feel quite close to them. I would mostly stay in my room, either studying or talking to my then secret boyfriend.
Before the last semester started in the university, though, my life began to fall apart. My relationship ended up not working out, and I could not tell another soul about it. I realized while doing my thesis as well that it was not the path I wanted to take, but it felt like I would disappoint my parents if I told them that. So, I had to stay quiet and act as if nothing’s wrong.
According to Dr. Mitch Keil, clinical psychologist, “Mental health is complex, and it would be a lot easier if we were like cars.” The problem was, the more I thought of my situation, the lesser times I left my bedroom. Sometimes I would remain awake for several nights; other times, I would sleep for 14 hours straight. It became common for me back then not to eat for a few days too because I was always exhausted and my body was in pain. I also stopped going to the university, giving random excuses whenever my friends or professors asked for my whereabouts. The decision to open up to my younger sister about my situation only came when I started having suicidal thoughts, which scared me so much.
Upon consulting a psychiatrist and receiving the diagnosis that I indeed acquired a severe form of depression, I felt the need to return to my family home. It happened to be the best resolution because going back to my roots allowed me to:
Face My Fears
My biggest worry before even stepping into the house was, “How could I inform my parents that I quit school due to depression?” While some moms and dads might understand readily, my folks were a bit the old-school type. They did not believe that mental disorders exist; they assumed that anyone who’d come out with it might merely be saying it to gain attention. Of course, despite knowing that, I had no choice but to tell them the doctor’s diagnosis.
To my surprise, however, my parents did not scold or disown me for being depressed. Mom was the one who wanted to know all the why’s and how’s. As for my dad, the sole thing he said before hugging me was, “I don’t want to visit any daughter of mine in a mental hospital, so you should do what makes you happy.” That comment, to be honest, reassured me that I could get through my situation with my senses intact.
Have A Strong Support System
Perhaps because I was great at acting chill before I went back home, even my aunt and other housemates had no clue about my depression while I was there. They only found out after I moved in with my parents again, and they were sorry for not noticing that I did not leave their place for two months at all.
If I’m honest, though, I have no hard feelings towards them. It was not anyone’s fault; I hid my symptoms as best as I could because I did not want anyone to think that I was a failure. Nevertheless, when the news broke out within the entire family, I received a lot of calls from cousins, aunts, and uncles who all told me that they would always be there for me. It showed me that dealing with the depression won’t be as hard as I imagined because I had – and still have – a strong support system that I could count on anytime. “By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone.” David Klow, licensed marriage and family therapist says.
Fast forward to five years since the day that I talked about my condition – is the depression gone already? There is genuinely no scientific method that can say I am entirely free from the disorder. Still, I have not felt any inclination to do something morbid to myself or stay cooped up in my room in a long while now. I am happy most of the time; I get to write this blog and other similar stuff, which is what I have always wanted to do. My parents may dream of hanging my college diploma on the wall of the house someday, but they both agree that the decision to go back to university is up to me this time.
“Depression is different from passing sadness or temporary frustration with life’s issues. There are number of common signs for depression and they tend to be persistent.” Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC said. And so far, life has been so good to me. I have a family that cares for my welfare regardless of my flaws. There’s no need to face my issues alone because they volunteer to help no matter what it may be.
Nonetheless, if you have depression and you don’t know how to deal with it, just be with your loved ones too. Though they may not have an idea of how to help you immediately, the mere fact that they want to support you may soothe your hopeless self. Give it a try to get rid of your troubles soon. Good luck!