Submitted Date 03/08/2019

Let's cut to the chase: the best time to get help is now. College or post-full-time-job = best time to get help. The best time to get help is always. Every moment is the 'best time'. (In case you wanted to skip my ramblings and get to the point) And damn, looking back at myself in college, I hate her for not getting help earlier.

Working a full-time job when you have major depressive disorder isn't impossible, but man, some days it really sucks.

On my worst days, I wondered how anyone could possibly deal with everything and anything. The body aches, insomnia, oversleeping, lethargy, feeling like every movement is painful both physically and mentally is exhausting. Sometimes, I have no desire to eat, and sometimes I want to eat everything and have no energy to make anything and no sense of self-worth to spend money on myself for food. How messed, and jumbled up and my thoughts for that? My body is a demon of its own, punishing me for the imbalance that I cannot control, it thinks it's funny how easy it can push me down. I always wondered how anyone deals, I guess therapy? Medication? I've been told to do yoga. Work out. Go out more. Meet new people. I do, I've actually tried so much and taken every miniscule piece of advice someone is willing to offer me who doesn't reallt understand, I just believe, hey, maybe it'll work...

Navigating through life when you're thrown right in.

Throughout college, I didn't have the time for therapy, which kinda means that I didn't make the time. I wanted to graduate earlier and took up more than thirty units a semester usually (which by the way, I don't recommend, it only made my depression worse and almost killed me). I was hospitalized one semester after attempting to kill myself (sorry, got kinda dark there). My justification for the doctors not to send me back to my hometown in an ambulance to be stuck at another hospital for inpatient was that I needed to go back to college and finish my finals. I downplayed my story of what had led to the moment of completely giving up just so that I could be discharged and left alone. And well, so that my parents could still have a small inkling of trust for me to go back to school. I also didn't want to break their hearts completely, because they looked like they were holding on a thread as much as I was at the time.

After staying home for about a week, I was back in college and I even somehow, decided to apply to jobs and took on the early mornings and late nights as a barista. I mean, I kept chugging on from them, and I thought I got the whole adulting down, I'm a fairly independent person, too. I got off my medication that I was previously on and continued to ignore the word 'therapy'. Though I took up yoga and read various cheesy 'self-help' books, they did nothing for me but serve as distractions instead.

When I graduated, taking time off from college or work never crossed my mind. I had a whole month of worrying over trying to find a full-time job in the area so that I wouldn't have to move back home, I also had stupid thoughts that staying in the area meant that a relationship would work out. I honestly didn't think much about it being 'too much' to hop right into work because I had graduated earlier like I wanted to, while ignoring all my mental and physical health, so I thought that proved a point that I was OK to keep chugging on.

Living in denial is the easiest when you have a lot to distract you.

The way I got through it in college was the distraction I got from events and distraction by people. I used stimulants to get me out of bed and into class, or firstly, able to shower and brush my teeth. Then, I usually drank so I could sleep. I was essentially a very sad and broken robot with a slot that I shoved pills and booze in too often to just survive when really, it was killing me. But I really saw it as helping me live. I couldn't function without stimulants, and I couldn't smile without booze, it was just how things were.

In college, I had this deadline in my head of when I would graduate, so I knew that the routine would eventually end (or, ignorantly thought it would); I just wanted to get out, I didn't think getting out of college would be the same routine in a different, lonelier matter. I had foolishly thought that all my problems would be left cemented in the buildings of that college, but they easily floated with me post-graduation, they were not building blocks I could leave behind, they're always going to be underneath me.

In college, I already knew I couldn't keep doing what I was doing to my body because I felt like it was already breaking. But, as I said, I thought I had this deadline of when the pain and pills would 'stop', but it didn't.

How do you live with major depression and work a full-time job when help seems so far away?

Post-grad I got my own health insurance in hopes to find therapy in the area, and I still haven't been able to find anyone who is accepting new patients and has extended hours or weekend hours to work around my job. I do want to finally try therapy and have realized how it'll take some time to 1. Find a therapist in the area who is accepting new patients (slim) 2. Find a therapist that has the right office hours to schedule me in to fit in with my lovely full-time job (slimmer) 3. Click with the therapist and be able to build a relationship with them so that I don't have to keep switching from one to the other (unsure). I had a hard time clicking with a couple of therapists offered at my college, and I can't imagine wasting my time again on finding one and having to pay actual money this time only to jump from one to the next.

If I could go back in time to myself in college and say "hey, the best time to get help is right now", I know I'd laugh at myself. I ignored so many people telling me this because "I don't have time". Except before, I said that with pride or something. Like, hey, I don't have time, I have class, a job, and a social life I am trying to upkeep, and I am still able to function and do all those things, so it's OK. Now, I usually scroll online to search for some help, telling myself "hey, get help", and my "I don't have time", "I can't find anyone", is a deflated ball with a big ol' hole in it. My "I don't have time" is flat, mumbled, and something I can't stomach. Now, it's scary.

So, I don't know, another rant on mental health or something that someone somewhere out there can resonate to, but the best time to get help is now. Really. Because the more you put it off, the worse it gets. And although I believed many times in my life I was fine, I wish I would have just gone, or committed. I can't tell you how dark some days were back in college, and then a few days later I looked back at myself thinking I was so glad I didn't try to get help or that I didn't commit to any therapy, because I felt fine on those days. But depression I guess has a funny way of tricking you. There were so many days that I felt I could just deal with it on my own, and the bad days were just for a while that I could wait out. Which, you know, sometimes it's like that. But with major depression, I can feel myself spiraling downwards and none of the handles that I used to hang on to are to be found.

It's easier to put work and assignments and friends and a fun time out in front of your health/mental health because, in a sense, they are distractions, even if you call them the priorities in your life. At the end of the days, it's just you and your body and mind that's been neglected. Everything else you put first isn't going to be there to be the comfort that surrounds you in just moments. This sounds harsh to even me, but I also need a push towards telling myself my whole life isn't my full-time job, the one who works that job is my life. The fact that I have been feeling like I can't even work some days isn't because I don't enjoy my job or I want to be doing something different, it's because I have ignored my health for so long, not because I hate my job at its core. I just feel like a real small candle wick, drowning in the wax instead of lighting it up. Hey you, put yourself and your health first. It's always the right time.

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  • Nina Appasamy 2 years, 5 months ago

    Thank you for writing this. I'm currently at the end of my undergraduate career. I've ended up taking 6 years to finish my degree because I have major OCD and depression. I waited a while to get help, and, even now, it's hard for me to talk about it, even with all of the supports that I have. Yet, I think that talking to people and getting yourself help is the most important thing to do during upticks in your mental health. I commend you for writing this piece, as it takes a lot of courage to share one's experiences with mental illness with others.

  • Regina M Basile 2 years, 5 months ago

    My body is a demon of its own, punishing me for the imbalance that I cannot control, it thinks it’s funny how easy it can push me down.
    This line really hit me, as someone who has dealt with depression since I was 10 years old and having extremely bad postpartum with a second child I understand. It takes so much coverage to be able to share a story like this, I commend you so much. It's like you jumped in my head and got it on pen and paper.

  • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 2 years, 4 months ago

    Hey you, put yourself and your health first. It's always the right time.
    Melanie, thank you so much for sharing your story. I understand far too well the "I am fine" that comes with depression. Mine is bipolar. I have depressed day, angry days, and some very good days. It was hard for me to see what was really going on until tragedy struck in my life and made me take time for myself. This is a hard realization to come to, but an important one. I wish you the best and hope that you have the support you need. You are absolutely right "It is always the right time".

  • Tomas Chough 2 years, 4 months ago

    This is awesome advice. It's unbelievable how we put so many things before our own well-being. At the same time, it's crazy how normal it is. Some more or less than others, but most people have had moments were we simply put ourselves off for later. I can imagine it has to do with a million different reasons, but you're definitely right when you say " it's always the right time". Once again I thank you for sharing your personal story, experience and advice with us. Many people need it.

  • Miranda Fotia 2 years, 4 months ago

    Living in denial is the easiest when you have a lot to distract you.
    So true! Great advice! Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sure someone will benefit from reading it. It's a very mportant message.