Dealing with Post-College Depression

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While many kids can’t wait to “grow up,” it’s not that adulthood has some kind of special allure for them other than freedom. Adulthood comes with the responsibility of jobs and bills and taxes and voting and all other sorts of things that go hand-in-hand with “stay up as late as possible.”

For many, it doesn’t get much better than college. You aren’t all the way grown-up, but you are unsupervised, perhaps for the first time in your life. The ensuing four (or five or seven) years are filled with fun and friendships, maybe a little learning, and the promise of “what’s to come.”

Post-college depression can hit anyone in the months following graduation, leaving many young adults wondering if the best is all behind them. But all is not lost. Here are some tips for dealing with the post-secondary blues.

Figure Out What’s the Same

If you’re still living like you’re a college kid after graduation, you are experiencing the feelings that go along with clinging to something that’s past its time. Perhaps what’s happened is that you need to make an even cleaner break than you already have from school. In some cases that change made hasn’t been drastic enough.

Figure Out What’s Changed

There is a difference between being “down in the dumps” because a particularly fun chapter of your life has ended and being clinically depressed. If you’re simply missing your friends or even classes, there are options. Continue studying things that are interesting to you, finding like-minded folks online or in local groups. Reach out to friends and get together with them whenever possible, or writing letters or video-chatting with them often.

Figure Out What’s Next

Sometimes it’s a lack of job prospects. Other times it can be that the job you thought wanted wasn’t what you wanted at all. For many ex-students, they often flee back to academia, using graduate school to put off rejoining the “real world.” Take the time to figure out your goals. For years they were defined for you: get good grades, get into a good school, get more good grades, graduate. Graduate school may be a good option if you want to teach or want to pursue a specialized field. Or you can abandon your college studies altogether and pursue a dream. Either way, you need a plan.

Get Help

Despite all we know medically now, the exact cause of depression is still unknown. While “brain stuff” is all inherently tricky, depression is a disorder that many can dismiss as a simple crisis of mood. If you have a history of clinical depression or even if you don’t, it can’t hurt to seek professional medical advice.

Sources:
NIMH Depression Website

Photo by Sacks08
via Flickr Creative Commons

 
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