Life has been so hard lately. I believe I am clinically depressed. I haven’t felt this low in a very very long time… close to rock bottom. This whole transition of moving back home after college was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. I hate it when my mom tells me that I have no reason to be depressed, that I should be grateful that I can live at home and not have to pay for rent, food, or ubers, and that I’m getting free acupuncture treatment and better access to mental health care. Yes, I am so grateful for all those things. But that doesn’t mean this transition isn’t difficult, for so many reasons.
For one, I left behind my entire social circle when I uprooted my life in LA and moved back to my childhood home. I left behind my college friends, my boyfriend, my students from the dance fitness class I taught at the school gym, my dear students and coworkers from the figure skating rink I worked at. My social life completely imploded when I moved. I went from being a social butterfly in college to having virtually no social stimulation in the Bay Area. There’s no one my age here, and I have never felt lonelier in my life. What hurts me more than not having friends in the Bay Area is the realization that the friends I made in college were not truly my friends. How do I know this? I was in LA a few weeks back, and I made a group chat where I messaged my “close friends”, asking if they wanted to go to karaoke and spend time together. Not a single person replied my message, despite having read the message. They didn’t even have the common courtesy to say, “Sorry Belicia, I can’t go tonight but thank you for the invite, and let us know next time you’re in LA!” It’s like, wtf? That is NOT a way to treat a person, let alone a friend.
One may well ask, why don’t you try to rebuild your social circle in the Bay Area? Join a church group or be proactive about attending alumni mixers and things like that. Honestly, I don’t know what is stopping me from rebuilding. Maybe I’m still bitter about having to leave my life in LA, and a part of me still wants to cling to the past, instead of moving forward. I’m going to try harder to make friends in the Bay Area. Maybe join the Stanford LDS ward and meet new people. Either way, I can’t stay like this—a homebody and social recluse. It’s not me, and this lack of social stimulation is definitely contributing to my depression.
When I’m not binge-watching American Horror Story, I find myself either stuffing my face with junk food or wallowing in self-pity. Cooped up in my room, door locked and curtains drawn. It’s a miserable existence, and I hate every second of it. I never imagined the transition into post-grad life would be so freaking difficult. In fact, I thought it would be quite the opposite. I was excited to graduate college, to finally have the time and resources to focus on my creative passions and projects. I was excited to finally be able to pursue my dancing and writing and see how far I could go. I had so many goals—fix my mental health, get back my physical shape, throw myself into dance training, build my website, write my book, the list goes on. But alas… my only goal now is to survive and get out of the hole I dug myself into. I know that if I don’t change something in my life, I won’t be able to go on. That’s how bad my depression is right now.
I just feel… trapped. Hopeless. I wanted to travel and enrich myself during my gap year. Visit a foreign country. Dance in NYC. But because of my intensive acupuncture treatment every Wednesday and Saturday, group therapy every Tuesday and Thursday, and work every Sunday, I can’t go anywhere. I am completely and utterly stuck in the Bay Area with no friends. My mother loves me, but she is insufferable at times. She can’t seem to get it through her head that I am no longer the same person I was three years ago. I am not a kid anymore– I am 21 years old and just graduated from UCLA. I need my freedom and space, and I can’t stand it when she yells up the stairwell every five minutes to tell me to do something, or expresses her disapproval of my long-distance relationship, or explodes at me when I refuse to drink the tea she made because it doesn’t suit my taste. To top it off, I have this irrational fear of driving (especially on the freeway), so I am very limited in the places I’m able to transport myself to. Hell, I can’t even drive myself to the movie theaters because I don’t want to drive on the freeway. I know I need to get over this fear, but it’s just another item on my growing list of things I can’t do, because of my crippling depression. Honestly, depression is such a bitch. You are depressed, so you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed. The do-nothingness makes the depression even worse. And so, the vicious cycle continues.
The only thing that’s keeping me alive right now is my boyfriend, who has been the biggest emotional support during this dark time. We talk on the phone and Facetime every day, and our conversations are all I look forward to when I wake up each morning. He’s been through depression before, so he understands what I’m going through. He comforts me in a way that my parents cannot. I’ve recently started reaching out to my brothers as well, who have been surprisingly supportive and non-judgmental about everything I’m going through. Austin kindly offered to talk to my mom about how I need to be treated with compassion in my current vulnerable state. Chris told me that the path to recovery takes time, and I need to be patient with myself.
At this moment, I am totally regretting moving back home to the Bay. I know that living in LA was expensive, and that I wasn’t receiving adequate mental health care there. My parents heavily pushed for me to come home. They say it was for my mental health, but honestly, I think they didn’t approve of my friends or lifestyle, and wanted me to return to the safety of their nest. I wish I had the courage to stand up to them and fight for what I wanted, which was to stay in LA and make it work down there. But alas, I cannot go back in time. I renounced my spot in the apartment lease. I quit both my dance fitness and skating rink job. Even if I were to move back to LA, I wouldn’t have anything to go back to. My only option now is to make do with my current situation, change my perspective, and focus on the good that has come from moving back home.
- no need to pay for rent, food, uber
- free acupuncture treatment (courtesy of our family friend, who is an acupuncturist)
- better mental health care (group therapy twice a week, a good-fit therapist and psychiatrist)
- work (mostly tutoring and college essay editing)
- time and resources to pursue dancing
- family support
Alright guys, that’s all I have to say at the moment. I think once I start exercising gratitude and turning off the negative self-judging voice in my head, I will start feeling a little bit better. Easier said than done, but the least I can do for myself is try.