Mental Medicine: We Need To Talk About Post-Grad Depression

Among college students, mental health problems are not only common, but they often persist for several years...60% of those who had a mental health problem at baseline continued to report at least one mental health problem two years later.
— Paola Pedrelli

We grow up believing that college is supposed to be the best 4 years of our lives. After rolling up to 8 AMs coffee in hand and pulling all-nighters in the library, receiving that diploma makes it feel like it was all worth it. Then, with a heart full of pride of accomplishment and a head full of ideas we're ready to take on the real world.

Right. Right?

For many people, post-grad depression is a real thing. It can show up a few days after graduation or stay dormant and erupt a full year after graduation. Me? I'm experiencing the latter.

I graduated in May 2017 and I was definitely the graduate with a twinkle in their eye, excited for adulthood.

And then I was unemployed for 2 weeks. Then for 4 weeks. I was sending out about 10 applications a day and revamped my resume about 2 times a week. 

Then I received one request for an interview and I jumped on the opportunity. It was for a job that had nothing to do with my degree and I would be put on a trial period before they fully hired me but I didn't care, I was desperate. I was used to working 2 jobs at a time since freshman year of college so unemployment of any kind didn't sit right with me.

During my trial period with one company, I received an email from an online pop culture company for an editor position. Right up my alley! THIS is the opportunity I've been waiting for.

But.

I didn't go to the interview. Why? I didn't feel as though it was professional of me to request time off of my trial period for my current job. I got nervous and anxious and turned down an opportunity. Who knows what my life would of been like if I went on that interview. But I've learned that dwelling on the past doesn't help my present.

The job I stayed with was, for lack of a better phrase, trash. I was stuck at a desk from 9-5, 5 days a week not doing what I loved. I also experienced slight racial jabs, which didn't help my mental health.

Fast forward 8 months when I finally got up the courage to leave a job that wasn't benefiting me mentally, emotionally and physically. Listen, if you'r'e not enjoying your job, that commute from NJ to Manhattan everyday really starts to drain a person's body.

So there I was, essentially unemployed...again. I had freelance production and TV reporting gigs and I was working on my blog more than ever but money wasn't consistently coming in. The next few weeks tested my mental strength and determination.

I was back on Indeed.com applying for jobs and with each cover letter and resume I sent, I attached positive thoughts to it.  Maybe if I spoke it into existence, I would get hired.

Within a month-span I sent out 39 applications. 39. Most of which were followed by the generic "Thank you for applying to *insert company name here.* We will contact you if you meet the qualifications." There were a few bites on my line but after phone interviews they went ghost. I would follow up and I never got responses.

I started to question and doubt myself. Why won’t anyone hire me? Am I not good enough? When will Maya have her moment? (See what I did there?)

This was such a weird feeling for me. All through college I interned and worked for major companies such as NBC Sports, the NBA and News 4 New York. Everyone who saw my resume said it was beyond impressive for my age. So if my experience was so stellar, why wasn't anyone giving me a chance? I felt as thought I couldn't match the highlight moments of college in the real world.

Even though there is no specific diagnosis for post-grad depression, it's still a necessary topic of discussion. I didn't want this post to be "6 Ways To Battle Post-Grad Depression." Because let's be honest, there are no six picture perfect ways to fix this. But I wanted you guys to know that it's okay to feel how you feel. It's okay to be lost, confused and unsure. You don't always have to be strong.

As millennials, we face this quarter-life crisis. We think we need to have it all figured out by 25. It's hard to shake this mindset when we see 19 year-olds traveling the world and living in their own apartments on Instagram. I fall into this constantly. But their journey isn't my journey. 

We put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to the standards set by people we don't even know.

My loves, take one day at a time and try to make and take positive actions while coping with your situation and circumstances. You got this!