What I learned dealing with depression in my 20s

I remember sitting on a swing overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I was 20 years old, sitting on a swing feeling like a failure. I needed to ask for help, and that was torturing me. Yet, At the same time, I sat there reflecting on the past 6 months and how amazing they had been. I had proven many people wrong by simply trying. I had proven that I was way stronger than anyone had ever expected.

However, sitting there knowing I was about to move back in with my mom to work on myself felt like a stab to the chest. This was a blow I wasn’t expecting. I had spent the previous year struggling with school, a long distance relationship, managing my money while also dealing with anxiety attacks and feeling hopeless.

Everything within me wanted to hang on a while longer, yet I simply didn’t have the strength to do so anymore. I could no longer wake up and go to my retail job that I hated. I no longer had the energy to write a single word, even though for years I had written with ease. My friends had all gotten frustrated with my sadness and had started to move on. Any remnants of stability I had at this point, had all been destroyed.

I made the call late one night to my mom, who lived in another state. I needed to catch my breathe and asking for help was the only way to do so. My hands trembled as a I dialed her number my voice squeaking as I asked her to make the trek to southern California to retrieve me. I never told her how bad it had gotten, how much I was struggling to find a reason to wake up. She obliged and was there the next morning to get me.

Over the next three years, I tried to rebuild myself. During this time, I took on various “identities” trying to make myself feel better. I had spent so long in pain that I was determine to put it all to an end by climbing up out of my hole. I failed numerous times. I talked to people, and got help. With time things got easier because I could suddenly confront myself and find that my reason for getting up was simply to live and enjoy my life.

I started a new career for myself in marketing. I volunteered, painted, went to church, traveled, experienced life in a way I had never thought was possible. After being in such a dark place for so long, I was around people who lifted me up and didn’t know how much I had failed or how I had grown up in poverty and managed to escape it with education and amazing teachers.

After years of doubt, stress, anxiety, panicky thoughts and burning bridges, I was beginning to feel better. At 24, I became strong enough to not only dig myself out, but be able to open discuss how there’s more to life than failure or even where you come from. Life, no matter how much you fail, is about how you recover and the difference you make. Even when everything seems hopeless, there is always a light somewhere within you that will bring you out of the darkness.

Leandra is from California. She works in marketing by day and is a writer by night. On her spare time, she loves Netflix, hiking, volunteering, taking improv classes, and writing in her blog.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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