Love, Life Stories

It wasn’t until I got to university that my depression took over my life – and I could barely fight it

No matter what I did, I never felt it was enough. I never felt I was enough.

Depression and anxiety are such ugly things. They deprive you of happiness, of contentment, of peace. They make you feel like the world is ending, and they make you feel like that without any reason. I know this because I have felt it for years now, though more severely in recent years. Countless moments have been tainted with the feeling of doom and gloom.

I would never wish it upon even my worst enemy.

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Mental health issues are so important, especially with the amount of near-constant stress everybody experiences on a daily basis. It’s no surprise how many people suffer from mental health issues. The amount of pressure on preteens and young adults to perform well socially as well as academically is ridiculously high.

I can strongly vouch for this, as I felt this exact same pressure throughout my time in university. However, the pressure that I faced and dealt with was not only limited to my parents’ expectations; there was also the pressure that I was putting on myself as well.

When I started my Bachelors, I was already suffering from severe depression, courtesy of terrible A Levels grades. I had never felt such a strong sense of failure and disappointment before; it was more than just having let my parents down. I let myself and my own expectations down, and I suppose this is where most of my anxiety and depression started to take a more severe form. I had extremely high personal goals and expectations, and the fear of failing to meet them was what caused my anxiety to flare up. Then the horrible thought process of “what’s the point of anything?” followed, and it all went downhill from there.

When I started my Bachelors, I was already suffering from severe depression. Click To Tweet
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Once I started university, my thought process started to change, and I could focus only on one thing: I never wanted to fail again, and I never wanted to feel that extremely ugly feeling of failure and disappointment again.  I worked like a maniac, day and night, to the point where the nights were merging into days; until I could no longer tell what date or day it was. The fact that I had long commute hours back and forth, every single day, did nothing to help my cause. There were days when I would get home at six in the evening, and without even bothering to eat or rest, I would get right back to work.

I lied to myself constantly, until it became an extremely toxic pattern. Click To Tweet

Even when I gave it my all, pushing and forcing my way through everything, I would still compare myself to other people. I would compare my work to theirs, my grades to theirs, and my criticism to their praise. No matter what I did, I never felt it was enough; I never felt I was enough. This whole thought process pushed me further and further into feeling unsatisfied and unhappy, and I spent days contemplating and comparing, analyzing every little detail. It was a whole process that started from me feeling anxious and eventually spiraled into feeling pathetic and useless.

I kept up this vicious and unhealthy cycle for over three out of the four years of my Bachelors. To be honest, I didn’t even realize there was something wrong with it. In my head, I was only being a hard worker, nothing wrong with that. In reality, I was spending way too much time running away from my friends and family, just to make sure that I didn’t feel anxious or depressed again. I didn’t want to face any of it head on. I lied to myself constantly, until it became an extremely toxic pattern. If I ever gave myself a break, no matter how small, I would start to feel extremely anxious and panicky, until I could get back to my work.

As long as that strength keeps pushing me forward, I think I'll be alright. Click To Tweet

I was told by a doctor to hold on until I finish my Bachelor’s, and then see where I stand with my anxiety and depression. He was implying that once the university was over, I would go back to normal. I graduated two weeks ago and nothing has changed. I still struggle with that sense of looming doom, that feeling of being useless and worthless. It’s very real, and still very much there.

But you know what? Even if it never goes away, even if I’m stuck with this for the rest of my life, I can say one thing for sure: my persistence and resilience is a force to be reckoned with. I put myself down all the time, but the truth is, I am much stronger than I’m willing to admit, and that’s okay.

As long as that strength keeps pushing me forward, I think I’ll be alright.