Turning twenty-one should come with a warning label. Whether everyone goes through what I went through, I have no clue, but it was the worst time of my life. The sad thing is there was nothing wrong happening at that time. My last night of being twenty, I went to sleep looking forward to my birthday. The following morning, the atmosphere of the day was dreary. It was muggy and raining and I felt horrible inside. What my expectations were for the day, I don’t know or remember, but it sure as hell wasn’t that.

To make matters worse, that feeling dragged on for the rest of the year. Maybe a little longer, but by the time I was twenty-two, I was emotionally and physically better. I’d started going to school again and I was focusing on writing more.

Looking back, it was a mix of things that triggered my depression. For one, I’d been spending time with people who weren’t going anywhere in with their lives. I won’t go into detail with them, but the last I saw and heard they’re exactly where I left them when I cut the from my life. I’d also thrown myself into working at my retail job for two, nearly three, years. Not onc during that time had I taken a moment to consider what my future would entail.

My original plan had evolved from law to psychology, at some point committing to my real passion: writing. It trailed off when I decided to work for a year. Before I noticed it, I had stopped drawing and writing and caring about my future altogether.

Despite the inner turmoil I experienced that year, I think back with a smile and know full well that I needed it more than ever. That morning, I think I woke up expecting more of life and myself. I realized I was failing and there was no one to blame but me. The rest of being twenty-one was spent trying to reason with myself that working all the time was fine and ignoring my unhappiness. And then I had enough of pretending.

It was like a waking up from a bad dream. I was lucky to have my husband who was loving, patient, and supportive through the whole ordeal. It makes me happy to reflect on all the good that had been going on during that time, though they were few. All I can say is I’m grateful I woke up. I know depression isn’t something that you go through once, but I managed to come out on top that round. Now, every good thing that happens to me or comes my way, I can take the credit for.

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