I've recently come to realize that I may have depression. My mind has been back-pedaling, trying to figure out when it started. Looking back on things, parts of my life make more sense when viewed through the lens of depression. Some things even worked in my favor because of depression.
First, here are my recent symptoms:
-feeling lethargic, disengaged, apathetic, listless at times, devoid of emotion
-variable appetite; sometimes eating less but mostly eating more and not always healthy either
-erratic sleep patterns; sometimes sleeping less sometimes sleeping more
-not wanting to do anything; not wanting to interact with people, talk with others, etc.
-unable to enjoy things
-lost interest in things I used to enjoy
But by far the biggest indicator to me was when I began to lose interest in yoga, which is what I'm most passionate about. That's when I knew something was wrong.
I've been trying to figure out when it started. I can't pinpoint exactly when as I may also have social anxiety, which would be a contributing factor. But I think it may have started after graduating university. Sounds strange, yeah? But hear me out.
All through school I got good marks, honours, and scholarships. I was proud of this. However, after finishing university I could no longer identify as a student. Who am I now? And what am I supposed to do next? School never taught me much about living life and job searching. I wasn't sure what I wanted for myself but was told by my parents that if I did well then I would have many choices.
That first year after graduating I kind of floundered about, not sure what to do with myself. I put out a few resumes but couldn't get work at anything relevant to what I studied. Ending up working a couple of jobs in the service industry. So, yeah, that's depressing in itself.
Interestingly, it was around this time that I started doing yoga regularly, 5-7 times each week. So perhaps it alleviated/masked any depression I had.
Up until this point I had never traveled outside of my home province. I figured that if I never get my life sorted out I at least want to have traveled, even a little bit. This is partly why I went to college in another province for a one year program. Also, maybe the extra education and experience would be helpful. Though looking back I can see that that decision was largely made out of depression - I didn't care what the consequences were or if anything bad happened along the way.
The first semester I fell back into old habits of trying to do well and getting good marks. Second semester I got out more and explored the area. I had some good experiences and that in itself was worth going to another province for school. So I kind of have depression to thank for that.
After that year I moved back home and was more earnest with my job search this time, having put out over 100 resumes with very little success. What happened to the many choices my parents told me about? Hell, even some choice would have been good. I realize that perhaps they were giving advice based on what would have worked for them in their time, that perhaps their advice doesn't reflect current reality: the economy isn't great and there are more people graduating with a higher education, which means more competition. A bachelor's degree today could be the equivalent of a high school diploma in their time - now even higher education may be needed.
Needless to say, job searching does very little for ones confidence. I had a higher education, good marks, completed a Dale Carnegie course, and participated in Toastmasters public speaking. If none of that helps me get a job, doesn't even give me choice, then what is the good of it all? It felt like all I had done was for nothing. I lost faith in myself, my intelligence, my abilities, and starting thinking maybe I'm not good enough.
Originally, I had wanted to find work at home but ended up expanding my job search to other provinces. I didn't care if I had to move away or if anything bad happened to me. My life couldn't carry on as it was and I would risk it all for a chance of getting to live. I think a short life well lived is better than a long life drawn out.
At the rate my job search was going I would have to take whatever job I could get. Slowly I started putting out fewer resumes, losing hope, feeling like nothing I did mattered. But as I was giving up I got an interview (only my second one by that point after over 140 resumes) and ending up getting the job. I would have to move to another province though, away from family, and be on my own. Sure I was scared but I didn't care what happened to me. I accepted the job and made the move. So in a way depression helped me get employment.
You'd think I would be happy by now. I have a job with decent pay and benefits, and good living arrangements. But my self-doubt has lingered and I'm not sure I'm good enough for my job. My job search has kind of ruined any confidence I had. Also my job isn't quite what I had in mind.
Perhaps that's cause enough for depression but I also want to talk about the social anxiety I briefly mentioned at the beginning. I was raised in a small community and lived a fairly isolated life. Coupled with my introversion I was never really able to connect with people. Since moving for work three months ago, I haven't made any friends and don't know how to. Here lately I don't see the point in doing anything if I don't have anyone to do things with. But to find someone to do things with I have to go out by myself. So with my social anxiety I've found myself in a catch-22. Then with depression a part of me doesn't even care as I'm more used to being isolated. I'm stuck. I keep waiting to feel better to get out and do things but I'll never feel good enough. This is my new 100%, my new normal.
If you took the time to read this, thank you. I wanted to get this out somehow.