My story is not a new one, but I want to tell it regardless. This is not intended to be a high of my horse warning to the reader, but instead a very personal and emotional account of a couple years in my life.
As of writing I am twentyfour years old. I have had a depression for at least six to eight years and counting now, of which I’ve had two years of therapy at a psychologist. The therapy didn’t end the depression, but it gave me some tools to be able to live with it. That’s quite an improvement considering where I was a couple years ago.
I started this project because at the time of my depression, I was very lonely. I wished for an extended hand, somebody who could tell me exactly what to do to escape from my shitty life and be normal again. That person never came and I came to the bitter realization that I had to do it all by myself. Someone else couldn’t make me a better person, that was my own responsibility.
During what I call my darkest years, I was lonely and sad and angry at the world and at myself. I had failed at a couple of important (to me) lifegoals in the past and that made me disappointed in myself. I started to despise and hate the person I had become. To escape from these negative emotions, I took refuge in alcohol. It started reasonable with a couple beers a day, but soon I was drinking about two crates of beer per three days.
That was by far the worst time in my life. It cost me two friendships, three studies and about twenty thousand euro in college loans.
To family and friends, I tried to keep up a mask by pretending to do well in studies, sports and hobby’s. In reality I did nothing of those. Instead I took to an alluring but utterly destructive regimen of buying alcohol, playing video games, turning in bottles of beer for the deposit and buy a bit of junk food with that. Drink more alcohol, play more video games, eat more junk food and so on and so on.
I genuinely can’t remember anything I did during a whole year and a half. I know I tried going to a psychologist once during that year, but quit after the first session because alcohol was more enticing than boring sessions and facing the cold, hard real world.
In the end, I managed to visit another psychologist. The reason I went a second time was because a friend of mine invited me to go to a little festival. There I saw a promotional flyer from a college in the city that offered a study in a particular kind of social work that also involves taking care of the spiritual and social needs of people. It struck me that I was in need of someone like that! I grabbed a flyer, went home, put it on the table and forgot about it for two months until I found the flyer again while cleaning up my room for a visit from my parents. On a whim, I decided to go for it! In hindsight I still don’t understand what pushed me to take the decision to enroll in that study, but two years later I’m incredibly happy that I did just that. It was a life-changing decision. I went to the intake interview, got accepted, decided to visit a psychologist and from there on I slowly managed to improve my life.
Mind, it’s not like my depression disappeared or the symptoms got less. Absolutely not! I failed about half of the subjects of the first year and almost got kicked out of the course, but in the second year I sort of managed to catch up. I’m still struggling to work and do stuff, but at least I generally manage to keep up. I lost weight, started learning Spanish, do volunteer work and generally try most days to become a better person than yesterday.
I’m starting this project to make people be aware of their options when they’re lonely, depressed, have debt problems or addictions. Many government websites about depression, addiction or other problems are not easy to understand because of their technical language, which in turn can and does discourage people to take the first step to improvement.
If this website can help only one person to take this step, I have achieved my goal.
Edit: after writing this post, I spiralled into a dehabilitating debt situation. I accrued about 5000 euro worth of debts to many different collection agencies and companies and the collection fees kept adding up and up to create an seemingly unsurmountable hill of debt and dues. It escalated into me getting a letter with an court appointment to be expelled from my own home.
This emergency situation kicked me into overgear and forced me to find professional help with my debts pronto, asap, right then and there. And this helped! I managed to pay everything off and start with a clean slate.
I imagine depression as a snake, and these consequences as it’s long and dangerous tail. I’m not entirely sure if this metaphor works as well as I had pictured it in my head, but it’ll do for now until I find something better, anyways. Be more mindful of the baggage that accompanies depression than I was. Find help. It’s out there.