Post graduate depression is real. As real as the midlife crisis that strikes when a person realizes that he/she has lived half the life without ticking off many of the “to-dos” in their bucket list. Though not formally recognized as a medical condition, youngsters who are just out from college are caught up in things beyond their control. While they are raring to go, they suddenly realize that they do not have the wings to soar. They feel a sense of despondency on realizing that their wings are not yet developed for the flight.
One of the reasons why youngsters experience overwhelming stress and depression in their early twenties is because there is a wide chasm between college and the life thereafter, and in many instances college life does not prepare youngsters for transition into adult life. The process can be scary as youngsters realize that they would be well on their own. Their college friends move to different parts of the country, and expectations from parents regarding later life might be just a bit too much for the youngsters to cope with.
As explained by Juli Fraga, a psychologist based in San Francisco, “If a student’s college experience is mostly positive, college provides a cocoon of sorts: a community of friends, teachers and mentors who are mostly readily available to offer support or advice. Graduating symbolizes a leap into ‘adult’ life, which is a huge transition.” Students are expected to shoulder many of the responsibilities of adults, which they might be wary of taking up. After experiencing freedom in college and being in the company of like-minded people, the sudden thrust into the real world can be jolt for many.
Though post-graduate depression is common, it is rarely talked about in the same length and breadth as a midlife crisis. According to Sheryl Ziegler, a Colorado-based psychologist and professional counselor, “Young adulthood isn’t a population that is well studied at all. From a research perspective, it’s hard to categorize them.”
The condition could be characterized by prolonged sadness, functional problems, persistent negativity, lack of confidence and substance abuse, some other visible symptoms are:
Inability to get out of bed: Most millennials are addicted to the social media, which in turn can be quite depressing. For example, posts of a successful friend from college could throw a youngster into the cycle of depression as they feel that while the rest of the world has it all figured out, they are still clueless. Instead of getting out of bed and seeking a job, they go back under the covers.
Feeling lonely and isolated: One may feel lonely once the golden period is over. College offers a close-knit family of roommates, sorority sisters and frat brothers, and close pals but the network shrinks as everyone begins the new journey. The much-loved events and local interest groups are also left behind. Youngsters might also resent the fact that their parents are more demanding than ever before and constantly keep a check on their whereabouts. Feeling lonely and isolated, they might turn to drugs.
Fear of joblessness: Until the time a youngster settles into a job, the future looks uncertain. Though things get sorted in time, the probability of having to do one’s chores on his/her own and living apart from parents, who provide financial and moral support, could be depressing for many.
Getting help at the earliest
The inhibition to step out in the world to start a living is not an easy task at all. One may encounter endless frustrating experiences. But remaining isolated or staying inactive is not the answer to life’s miseries. It is essential to seek help from family and friends, and a counselor who can help deal with stress and face life. Depression is a treatable disorder and before matters go out of hand, one should get the right support.