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How Depression Affected My College Graduation

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I just recently graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. One would expect that I would be super excited to be ending a chapter of my life. However, I can say this was one of the most mentally challenging times in my life.

As time grew closer and closer to graduation, I began to get sadder and sadder. I saw all my peers around me celebrating and getting excited while I dreaded leaving the house because I knew someone would ask, “Are you excited?” and “What’s next?” When I was asked if I was excited, I would respond, “It’s definitely bittersweet.”

I knew I would not be able to feel the excitement of my peers around me because of depression.

Graduation day came around and I was filled with stress and terror. Does my hair look right? What if I trip walking across the stage? What if I mess up my speech? And so many other worries I didn’t want to think about. I wanted to be able to enjoy the moment I worked four years for. But mostly, I wanted to be as excited as my friends around me.

Between the burn out from the semester and the negative thoughts, I made it through commencement. Being around my family and close friends really helped a ton.

I’ve been a graduate for about a month now and I still feel less than one, because I was unable to feel the happiness I know I deserved. I do know I have accomplished something others would kill for and I am appreciative I was able to accomplish this, but I also know I will never be able to experience that happiness because of depression.

The moral of the story is: Depression changes your life. Never compare your emotions to others. Just because everyone else around you seems a certain way does not mean you have to have these emotions as well. Depression is an individual journey you must travel with yourself in focus, without judgment of yourself.

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Unsplash photo via Sylvain Reygaerts

Originally published: May 31, 2017
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