The first time I went to see a therapist, she asked me when all of this started. “All of this” is a very non-descript way to broach the subject of depression, by the way. The answer seemed simple at first. But then I gave it some thought, and what becomes clear is that this is something that I’ve dealt with for much longer than I realize.
At first I believed that my depression and anxiety began in college. My first year of college was very eventful – to say the least – and it took quite a toll on me. When I started my sophomore year and things settled down, that feeling of being emotionally drained persisted. I didn’t enjoy anything – classes, hanging out with friends, anything I was involved with. I would work out constantly because it would take my mind off the depression that seemed to creep in day after day. I began to distract myself as much as possible from the constant state of anxiety I lived in.
The next therapist asked me about my childhood. How were my parents? Did anything traumatic happen to me? Did I undergo any trials or tribulations that – to me, at least – couple help explain my current state? And the answer was…not even a little bit.
Is that something I should complain about? No, not really. It must really suck to have parents who would do anything for you and enough siblings to always have something to do (I’m one of six children – a big old Catholic family. That obviously afforded me plenty of alone time with my thoughts).
I don’t regret anything I did growing up; I loved all of it. But what I think it did was distract me from having to think – really think – about who I am as a person. Maybe that was just because I was a kid, and couldn’t comprehend the fact that at the end of the day, I always felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything. That what I was doing with my life didn’t matter. That everyone else was better than me. As long as I can remember, I never thought I was all that important. I still don’t. But that’s okay. Now I know that this is part of me, I can attack it just like I do everything else. And that makes me feel pretty good.