Finding your purpose is something almost all twenty-somethings struggle with…
and it’s a huge topic of conversation on this blog. You might already know this if you’ve read my About page, bu Uninspired is all about helping women in their twenties build their futures without sacrificing their now. And it’s specifically because you’re all so stressed about finding your purpose that you forget to enjoy this part of the journey. That’s why stories like Ana’s are so important. Yes, it’s a cautionary tale that warns you not to stress so hard over jobs and finding your purpose. But it’s also a story of hope and overcoming immense hurdles. Not everyone’s path is the same length, and you certainly can’t compare your chapter one to someone’s chapter ten. But everyone does have a destination.
Before I turn it over to Ana,
I want to explain a little bit more about Mental Health Monday for anyone who hasn’t joined us before. If you’re new, welcome! I’m so happy you dropped by my little corner of the internet. Since you’re here, you’re probably a woman in her twenties looking to become a better adult. The biggest part of that, in my opinion, is self-care. You can’t be your best self in any aspect of your life if you’re not taking care of yourself first, but a lot of you struggle with that. You either feel guilty about putting yourself first, you don’t know that you should, or you want to but you don’t know how. Well, Mental Health Monday takes care of that.
The Mental Health Monday series is a series of guest posts by writers who have something to say about mental heath. It can be literally anything! We’ve had posts about autism, insomnia, postpartum depression, practicing gratitude, and tons more. Each posts opens up a conversation for people struggling with those issues, and urges them to help themselves. Sometimes they offer super actionable advice, like Millie does in her post on how to process pain and negativity. Other times, like in Courtney’s case, they offer hope, which can change lives just as easily.
This week’s post, as I said earlier, is about what it feels like when depression gets in the way of finding your purpose in life. Our guest blogger, Ana, knows exactly how it feels to get dragged down by the weight of planning for your future. She’s a severe burn victim, and yet it was trying to figure out what to do after college that landed her in a deep depression. Her post explains her emotional experience in detail and, unfortunately, it might look familiar to a lot of you. So, with that, I’ll turn it over to Ana and her fun, bubbly writing style! For someone who has suffered so deeply, she sure still radiates positivity!
When Depression Gets in the Way of Finding Your Purpose
“damn, these loans are coming up, so I better get ready to pay them off.”
So, I made a plan that I would find a job. I spent a couple nights in a row just googling jobs left and right, and right and left. I literally went down the list of all possible careers or jobs I could attain, and applied to them all. But as the days passed, I got no results. I began worrying heavily, and my sleep began to diminish little by little. What was I going to do with my life? Here I was, twenty-four years old with no career, no degree yet, no car, no nothing. If I couldn’t even get a crappy job, how would I ever get a career? Figuring out what I was going to do with my life was crashing and burning like no other.
I hadn’t realized it myself yet, but this was the start of the depression that would turn this summer into the worst four-month period of my life. Really quickly, I was spending entire nights just thinking in this negative perspective, to the point where I was only getting an hour or two of sleep. I didn’t have any medical coverage, so seeking medical attention wasn’t at my disposal. I did use over-the-counter sleeping pills when I couldn’t take it anymore, but they barely had any effect. My symptoms were way more severe than the over-the-counter meds could handle. At some points, I literally thought I would have a heart attack at any point, because my heart pumped so rapidly it felt like it would pop out of my chest at any moment. I had lost my appetite completely, and I experienced constant shaking that I couldn’t control.
I hate to admit it, but eventually the depression was so severe that I became suicidal.
In addition to actually being depressed, I also had a really hard time accepting that I was depressed. There was an extra layer of pain.
I didn’t want to accept that I had driven myself to this point with all the negativity I constantly thought. I constantly blamed myself for being weak. Not only could I not get a job, I made myself so upset about it that I put myself through hell. And my family, because they had to care for me. They literally forced me to go outside, when I didn’t even want to look out a window. I couldn’t even make simple decisions of what to wear, because my negativity made me feel like everything looked awful, and I was ugly. As a burn survivor, I was used to the stares, but during this time, I knew they could just see the emptiness on my face. I just wanted to die peacefully by the depression or end it myself.
So, how did I get here, talking to you guys about what I went through?
I thank God above all, because His mercy upon me has been overwhelming. That, and the support of my family were the two key ingredients in my survival. Basically, I came out of depression by resorting to my faith. Believing in something bigger than you can be a really great help in finding your purpose. Another motivational thought was that yes, I fell into depression, but so had many others before me. And they came out of it, so I probably wasn’t the exception to a road to recovery.
Little by little, I slept more hours, and weaned myself off the sleeping pills that were only supposed to be very temporary. I began facing my situation instead of hiding from it, and eventually I did seek psychological evaluation. This was a booster to a full recovery as my therapist made me realize that I DID have the potential to achieve my goals in life despite this huge bump I had to encounter in my life.
Overall, depression is an experience I wouldn’t wish upon the worst criminal.
Nobody deserves to experience that kind of mental and physical pain and agony. Depression kills the mind, but as I learned in the darkest part of that summer, it can also kill the body. But even so, it is possible to stop someone from experiencing this sever depression, and it is possible to recover yourself. I survived raging flames, so I know recovery is a reality to all that seek help, and most importantly seek help from above.
Thanks for taking the time to read this super long story of my life. The biggest takeaway is the one thing my mommy always says to me:
While there is life, there is still hope!
Looking for more on finding your purpose? Check out this hilarious yet amazingly poignant post by Mark Manson on the subject.