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Following my graduation from University, I moved back in with my parents for the summer. After countless job applications, I was struggling to find a job which presented itself as interesting to me. I quickly accepted an unpaid internship which I had little desire in but was told would direct me into a promising career within a government organization. Initially, I had turned down an opportunity with a tech-startup in a different province, for this unpaid opportunity which I was told would be the better choice of the two. Two days into the internship I quickly came to the realization that this wasn't for me and proceeded to quit once I arrived home from the lengthy commute.
Luckily the start-up I had previously declined a position at came back to me with a better offer. I told my parents and my friends that was it I was packing my bags and moving. I got my first apartment without my parent's financial support, had the ability to decorate my place without a student budget nagging me, and was no longer worried about where I stood in terms of my career. My job was a dream, I loved my team, and unlike most, was excited to go to work every day. It was safe to say I lucked out with my first job out of university. BUT my dream came crashing down 5 months into my new career. The risk with a start-up is obviously financial stability, after being reassured that I was doing well in my position, I was blindsided and laid off along with half of my team due to lack of funding. I held back the tears as I closed the door to my independence. The city I now lived in was small, and lacking opportunity within my field, I called my parents and knew in a few months I would be moving back to suburbia.
Fast forward and here I am writing this within my childhood bedroom, after experiencing a major depressive episode the day prior. Now I have gone through hard times as has everyone else, my emotional well-being has been tested time and time again, but as soon as I moved back home I can safely say I have never struggled this much mentally before.
I have suffered from depression since I was a child, after losing my best-friend, but I had never experienced anxiety until these past few months. Moving back home has really pushed me to numerous breaking points. This is not a direct effect of my home life; my parents are my best friends and the most supportive people in my life. What crushed me was my loss of independence and my re-instilled reliance towards my parents. During my job hunt, I struggled to find a position that I was passionate about, so instead, I began freelancing with my parents supporting me to do my own thing. Unfortunately because of my mental health running my own business came to be extremely difficult and stressful, to the point I would stay in bed all day, with lights off and crying.
It came to such a point that I dreaded socializing, I couldn't sleep, I was overeating, and would break down in public places after feeling fine for a majority of the day. My productivity was shot, I lost contracts because I couldn't find my motivation, and was so drained both mentally and physically. I began to have pain in my lower back and neck to the point where I could barely move my neck, my depression at its worst displays itself through physical symptoms.
With the loss of my independence, I lost myself. Yes that sounds cheesy, but I always thrived off my independence, going from a successful 23 year old who provided for herself, had a nice apartment, and my own life was what kept me going. Losing all of that and struggling to start my business, then realizing that I wasn't in the right state to do that, and re-applying for jobs but being told it is in my best interest to stay at home financially was too much pressure, it still is. Although I receive a ton of support from both my friends and parents in my hometown, depending on other people specifically financially causes me so much anxiety that I succumb to my depression. I love my hometown and the people who surround me, but I have come to realize even though the endless love I receive here should help me mentally, it drains me more than being 1,000 miles away.
Even when you are told you shouldn't be suffering mentally because everything you need is right there to be happy, that is not always the case. Being on my own, in an unknown city, a new job, is what gave me strength. Financially being able to provide for myself, and securing my independence is what gets me up every day. Moving back in with my parents, and being surrounded on a daily basis by what I had thought I had left in the past is a constant reminder that I failed. Even though I know I did not fail myself being here feels like I have and it takes a toll on me mentally. I have spent more sleepless nights in my bed, days barely moving from the couch, and sobbing under my blanket. I have experienced my first panic attack, and have been throwing up almost every other day because I am consumed by the stress of living at home.
This isn't the case for everyone, but I am happy that I came to the realization that I have been struggling. I ignored the symptoms both mentally and physically for many months, but it's time that I come to terms that the loss of my independence sent me through a downward spiral. It isn't easy moving back home when you are the type to thrive off of your independence.
I wish I had come to the conclusion earlier that this wasn't a phase, moving back home triggered my depression and anxiety, and resulted in me losing myself for a number of months. I tried to accept living at home, reassuring myself that everyone has done it, although is tends to be true it doesn't mean its right for me. My independence is crucial to my well-being and I lost that when I was laid off, and moved back in with my parents. I should have recognized the signs earlier, but I justified my actions and feelings as a phase, because I have experienced much worse. Anxiety and depression can be onset by anything, and I failed to realize that moving home took a larger toll on me than I would have liked to admit.
Losing your independence is hard, but losing yourself is harder.