Today’s post is probably one of the most important things I will ever write. It will be the start of a week long series of posts related to something that has affected my life in more ways than one. Today, and for the following week, I will be talking about my personal battle with depression and what it means to thrive in your twenties, despite it.
Let me make this clear: this post and the series that follows are not just for my fellow twenty-somethings. They are for everyone. If you live with depression or love someone who does despite age, then this series is just as much for you as it is for the twenty-somethings.
My Personal Struggle with Depression
I was a 21-year-old college junior who thought she knew everything when a psychologist looked at me and said, “You have clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder.” This sent my world into a tail spin. I know, a bit dramatic, right? But try having someone tell you that the reasons you didn’t try out for things in high school and spent more time taking naps and shut away in the basement rather than hanging out with friends are all actually because of something. It drastically changed the way I looked at my life and at the world. I spent the coming days and weeks going over past decisions I did or didn’t make, relationship struggles, binge drinking, etc. Anything you can think of that I could link to my newly discovered depression and anxiety. Did I make a lot of excuses for myself? Absolutely. But I finally had something to rationalize the way I was… the way that I am.
So why am I telling you this? Well, I think it’s important that I share with you how my diagnosis affected my life before I start telling you how to change yours. Anyways, there’s a growing trend of twenty-somethings being diagnosed with depression (and anxiety but let’s focus on the one for now). I mean, when you think about it, it’s really not all that surprising. We’re paying for school we can’t afford to get jobs that don’t exist, and then struggling to pay back debts we can’t possibly pay back. We’re children of divorce, children who have experienced immense loss, and children who experienced a rapidly evolving technological world. The dramatic changes, the ups and downs, and societal pressure would make even the most chemically well-balanced individual get a little down in the dumps.
So how do we thrive in our twenties with depression? Here are a few tips: