The Truth About Post Grad Depression
Post grad depression hits you after the adrenaline from the graduation celebrations ends. When the "congratulations" calls, texts, social media posts, and cards stop rolling in. When you run out of graduation pictures to post and graduation parties to attend. It creeps into your life in the quiet moments when the celebratory festivities have ended and real life begins. The moment you look around and realize that everything has changed and now you have to re-find yourself in the world. In the still moments of the night when you're up alone with your thoughts, when the excitement for adulting turns to panic when you realize you have no idea what the hell you're doing, and when the happiness fades.. post depression sets in. And it is relentless.
Post grad depression feels like drowning in an ocean where everyone else is swimming with ease. It's like getting swept up in waves that only you seem to see. It's like getting caught up in a current and not being able to swim out of it, but being able to swim just well enough to not drown.
Post grad depression is like forgetting how to dream. It's forgetting the sound of your own laughter and no longer being able to recognize how it feels to smile. It's constantly doubting yourself. It's being terrified to fly because you no longer trust your own wings.
Post grad depression is having days that you feel so insignificant and unworthy that you can barely stomach yourself. Some days you feel so behind that you can't even dream. Days that you're so engulfed in darkness that you don't think you'll ever find your light again. And no one knows. No one knows that behind the tweets, "I'm greats," and fire instagram pictures that you are crawling up on cold bathroom floors. No one knows that your bones are growing tired from swimming in the relentless sea of self doubt. No one knows that your heart is heavy from trying to love yourself through your own darkness. No one knows that your soul is weary from constantly fighting internal battles you can't even begin to describe. No one knows that you feel like hopelessness in motion.
Post grad depression is spending a couple hours out in public and coming home completely exhausted from pretending like you have it all together. It's the feeling of your cheeks aching from faking smiles and lying through your teeth about being fine. It's scheduling your breakdowns between work and happy hours. It's praying that someone will tell you that you're not alone and you're not crazy for feeling the way you do. It's praying to God that someone, anyone will tell you that it'll be okay..even though you don't know what okay is anymore. Because okay feels light years away and you are too tired to try to get there.
Post grad depression is a different kind of tired.. a kind of tired that sleep doesn't fix.
A kind of tired that you feel in the depths of your soul. A kind of tired that you can never really seem to shake no matter how many naps you take, how early you go to bed, or how many cups of coffee you drink. This kind of tired comes from the daily internal wars you're fighting while simultaneously smiling and saying "I'm fine" when people ask how you are. Because people don't want to know the truth. You're embarrassed of the truth. The truth about post grad depression is ugly. It's a daily fight for your sanity, your peace, and your happiness. Post grad depression is an often silent struggle that no one ever prepares you for. You're prepared to get a job, to be a functioning citizen of society, and to handle the daily responsibilities of adulthood, but not how to process the transition from college to the real world.
And all the while fighting for your life you're told to be grateful.
We are told to be grateful. Grateful to have a college degree, grateful to have achieved a milestone so many of our ancestors weren't able to reach, grateful to be young and educated. And we are grateful, but that gratefulness does not invalidate the other feelings. That gratefulness does not replace the feeling of being unsure. It doesn't replace the feeling of being lost, the feeling of re-finding your place in the world, or the fear we feel as we begin creating a new life. We can be both grateful and warriors in the battle against our post graduate depression. We are not ungrateful. We are humans struggling to find ourselves again in a world that is cold and lonely. We are fighting every single day to remember what it feels like to dream, to laugh from our souls, to answer "I'm fine" when asked how you are and really mean it.
We are fighting every single day to get back to happy. Whatever that happy may look like for us.
And all the while still trying to make it look sexy.