I believe that depression and anxiety have always been something lurking just in the edges of my life. But these obstacles didn’t truly manifest in full (devastating) force until I graduated from college.
Senior year was hard, but it was also a time when I was on top of the world – I was accomplishing great things academically and professionally, had a couple opportunities to travel, and my social and love life were good.
Then I graduated and moved to a new city and while it was only two hours away from home, I still lost a lot of things: the safety and support of my friends and family back home, my roommate (I was living alone for the first time ever), and my boyfriend (we had a hard, messy break up).
I felt alone.
I had a few close friends in my new city, but they were busy with their own lives and I didn’t want to be a burden on anyone (hello anxiety). So I stayed silent and sad and I felt myself slowly being consumed by the feeling of being completely alone.
I can’t tell you the number of nights I cried myself to sleep this past year, an inexplainable crushing feeling of sadness physically manifesting on my chest, making it hard for me to breathe.
And while the abrupt changes in my life might clearly be reason enough to have triggered my depression, it still didn’t feel justified to me. I felt weak being unhappy – I had a good fellowship that paid well, I had nice a place to live, I had some friends in the area and lots of family and friends across the country.
And so I sucked it up, I put on a brave face and I suffered alone.
I suffered alone for longer than I’d like to admit, until finally I broke down and called one of my friends sobbing. She dropped everything and drove the 20 minutes across town to see me. She held me as I cried and babbled about how empty I felt.
That was the first step I took toward opening up, asking for help and putting myself back together.
This website is the second.
It’s a diary of sorts, a therapeutic way for me to process my experiences, the good and the very bad. It will also eventually be a professional project, where I hope to host my own reporting on mental illness. I hope it will become a place where people can share their own stories and have open discussion about mental illness.
I hope you join me on this journey of healing and learning.