I was really motivated when I first moved out. I had a schedule for my laundry and cleaning, I did my meal planning and I even went to the gym regularly. For the first few weeks, I kept thinking ‘adulting is easy! I’ve got this’.
Then, the novelty of having so much freedom worn off and suddenly, adulting was terrifying. I had no-one to force me out of bed in the morning. There was no-one to force me to eat proper, healthy meals. I was suddenly, completely in charge of my own finances and I no longer had my mum around to raise her eyebrows at my questionable spending. I felt like I could handle it but it was a learning process.
Then, October rolled around. The days began to get shorter and the weather got worse. It was getting dark before I even got home from university: I’d get on the tube when it was still light and get off at my stop to total nighttime. That could mean only one thing; the start of my seasonal depression.
I’ve anticipated every year since I was about 15 (ironically, the same year I was diagnosed with the not-season-kind-of-depression). Whenever it gets colder and darker, it feels like my head does too. I lose all motivation to get out of bed, sleeping becomes an escape and my energy simply disappears.
It’s different to the other kinds of depression that I’ve experienced. There’s no invasive or scary thoughts, there’s no deep dark place that I go to. It’s just apathy. For example, I was able to force myself out of bed to go to my lectures at the beginning of the year. Now, I turn off my alarm and go back to sleep for ten more hours just because I don’t have the energy nor the motivation.
That’s why seasonal depression is scarier when you’re living alone or as an adult, especially the first bout of it. I’ve had to adjust and make changes to my regular solutions, mostly because a lot of them involved the help of my family.
There are some things I’ve learnt that can help: