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Depressed

Question:

Well, I was admitted to a university for a 4 year degree. In spite of the fact that the university was quite expensive, my father (who is my strength) allowed me to go there so I can fulfill my dreams. I was doing great, had a great GPA always above 3. After 1.5 years, last summer I got depressed. I had a serious condition as I lost my mind for sometime until I was medicated and given treatment from a psychiatrist. He said this can happen to anyone without any reason as it’s a disease. During summer I had issues with friends because I did the weirdest things. I fought with them and they bullied me a lot. There were friends who supported me well even when they didn’t know I was having a rough time but these friends who bullied me. They thought I was a retard. I had a very strong personality but after I got well and I saw those chats I had with them, it embarrassed me like hell. I left university at the end of last year and was trying hard to face everyone after the most horrible summer of my entire life. I left university and all my age group cousins and my sisters are still studying. I miss my university a lot sometimes because I had my achievements there. It all got messed up after that depression phase. It wasn’t my fault but I had to bear the consequences. Why? I lost my friends. I deactivated my account from FB. Even if I make a new account it won’t be any fun now. I am doing a private BA now which can never replace what I was studying. I need social approval but in my state what I have been through has taken all my self confidence. I can’t face my relatives now. I am scared to meet people and I was totally opposite of that. It’s hard for me to sit among my cousins because they talk about studies and goals and I have nothing to say. I was very happy after getting into university because everybody in my family, relatives and friends started admiring me. Suddenly, it all got screwed up. My parents are really supportive but I find it hard to be happy again. I don’t like to do anything now. Just a small thing relating to uni comes up and I am all down. I think if I’ll keep myself busy it will be okay but I don’t have much activities as before and I stay at home. Here, where I live there are no communities for home studying students. I feel sad. It’s hard to escape from the past and regrets and it’s even worse when you didn’t know what was wrong with your own self. It won’t happen again and I won’t let it happen to me again–the depression.. but all I know right now is I am suffering when it wasn’t my fault. I want to study again, hang out with friends and live like before but dad can’t afford to do that for me. He says he will try to when he will have money… but I can see myself losing everything even myself :(

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hello friend!

It sounds like you went through a very hard time in your life while at university.  I think it’s wonderful that you say your parents are really supportive. You are very lucky to have the support of your family. I think it is really important that you understand that depression is a disease and that it is no one’s fault. I’m so glad that you said this.  But you also mentioned that you “won’t let it happen” again.  Unfortunately, since it is a disease, it is not something that you can necessarily control. What’s important is that you understand the symptoms and know when you need help. When you’re depressed, it can be very painful to feel and can make you isolate from your friends and family, cause you to be tired all the time and take away your motivation to do things, make you not enjoy the things you usually like to do, make you sleep and eat much less or much more than usual, and make you see everything in your life in a negative way.

I know you mentioned having a psychiatrist and taking medication for depression. If you are no longer seeing him, perhaps there is another therapist that you can talk to about what you are going through. Even if you are not in as bad of a place emotionally, it still sounds like you have a lot of painful things to deal with, such as being bullied by your friends. It can help to have someone to talk to.

There are also many things you can do on your own to help alleviate your symptoms.  Try to eat healthy, and even though you may not want to, be active and exercise. Even taking a walk outside can be helpful. You might want to start a journal so you can write down your feelings.  You mentioned not having many activities and staying home a lot. It can be very isolating to study at home without being around others your age. Is there any group of young people near you that likes to do an outdoor activity? a book club? a volunteer group? Maybe you can look for a part-time job so that you can get out of the house, have an activity that keeps you busy, and also make some extra money so that you can help your father pay for university if he is able. I know you said you were afraid of meeting new people. What about Internet communities, if there is no one near you or you are afraid to meet people in person?  Of course I don’t know anything about your friends, but maybe once they also realize that you are suffering from an illness and regret the things you said to them, they will be able to forgive you.

Depression is something that a lot of people go through, and you do not have to ashamed or embarrassed of it. There are two websites that might help you as well: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen_teenagers.htm    and: http://us.reachout.com/facts/depression   I do not know of many resources in India, but found that there is a help line at this number:  91-22-307-3451.  Over one-third of people in India have depression at some time in their life, and I’m sure there are other local resources. You are not alone in this.

~Trevor