“you may have to fight a battle more than once to win it” -Margaret Thatcher
I experienced my first episode of depression in 2017; I was 16-years-old and nearing the end of my sophomore year in high school. I’ve discussed my anxiety in great detail, but I’ve avoided discussing my depression because it was a dark point in my life, and revisiting it brought back pain. After two years of being symptom-free, Imagine the fear in my head when red flags started coming back.
I touched on my depression relapse what I talked about my transition into college, but the details I provided did not scratch the surface. Relapses can be triggered in many different ways; significant life changes, aka college, personally triggered my relapse. This post is everything from how I started to recognize it, how I coped, and how I got on track for recovery.
I’m not exactly sure when the symptoms first started appearing, but sometime in late September. I felt everything piling up on me all at once, and it weighed me down. I lost my motivation, and my grades started to slip a little, luckily, I was able to turn them around in time for the most part. I had difficulty concentrating on my assignments. Playing volleyball brought me no pleasure and became more of a hassle than anything else. I stayed in my dorm room too often, isolating myself from my friends. I felt alone and empty; nothing could light that fire in my eyes.
Early red-flags that you may be experiencing a depression relapse can include: depressed mood, loss of interest in activities that are usually enjoyed, social withdrawal, fatigue, restlessness, changes in sleep patterns, changes in appetite, increased irritability, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, concentration and memory problems, physical aches and pains. Symptoms vary by person.
I coped enough to get by on the outside, to the point where no one had any idea what I was going through. On the outside, I didn’t appear all that different. There was no way for anyone to know I was struggling. When I finally broke down, talking and just letting everything out helped relieve weight from my shoulders. By opening up, I wasn’t trying to get someone to fix things and make me feel better, but to be there for me when I needed it most. I wish I would’ve opened up more because support was all I needed to get me going towards recovery.
Early intervention is key; being able to identify warning signs as soon as possible can help prevent a severe episode from developing.
I was able to get ahold of myself before I started to fall back into my old habits, which made recovery much easier. I swore to myself that I’d never let myself get as low as I once went, and I wasn’t allowing myself to brake that promise. Recovery for me consisted of counseling, something I was disconnected from when I moved away from home and into college. I took everything step by step to find myself again.