Hey all, sharing on a throwaway in hopes that this helps some folks out there who might be struggling.
I started law school during lockdown at a t14 school. Lockdown had been hard on me, I’m a pretty social person and I had a ton of travel lined up for my gap year(s). I was also coming off the conclusion of a long term relationship. I think with some distance that was for the best, but it sure hurt.
Anyhow, during the first semester I did my best to socialize with people and met some cool friends. Still, I felt pretty adrift and I wanted to just ignore it, but it was really hard. I felt very insecure, from my looks to my intelligence to having any idea of what I want to do with my life. I cried all the time over the simplest of things (I once saw a reddit post about a guinea pig looking for its lost mate and cried to myself for an hour). I like to think of myself as a decently put together dude who embraces the highs and lows, but this was just an absolute bear of a year.
In the spring I started pulling away from my friends, not even really noticing that I was doing it. I picked fights over stupid things, like housing or perceived slights that I now realize was a huge overreaction on my part. I had had some rough spots before, but I had always pulled through so I thought I could just white knuckle though this. I lost a ton of weight which in and of itself isn’t super unusual as I tend to fluctuate a bit. But I realized my belts were on their tightest loop and yet still couldn’t hold my pants in place. I hardly recognized myself in the mirror. My hair started falling out and I just lost it. I went home for a bit during finals before I headed to my firm job in London. I thought getting out would help, but I just kind of kept my head down. I was hardly seeing my friends and going through my texts now, I realize that I had withdrawn pretty severely from those I hadn’t already burned with my irritability.
So, post-finals I focused on moving for the summer and waiting for things to get better. Spoiler: they didn’t. I couldn’t do the crying or the just deep sadness that felt like a 100lb weight on my chest. I missed feeling connected to other people and also to myself—I hardly recognized who I was anymore. I couldn’t eat, sleeping was a joke (despite I wouldn’t leave bed until 2pm every day). I had laughed of (and toward the ends snapped at) my friends who were concerned and asked if I was going to hurt myself, but I realized that I was hurting myself. I was a shell of my normal self, I had alienated those I cared about, and I was doing myself a disservice by not reaching out.
Navigating healthcare several thousand miles from home is certainly not something I wish on anyone, but I did it. I reached out to my family and friends and tried being honest for once. I started medication and despite being super resistant to it at first, it has helped a lot. I’m not sure what I thought antidepressants would be like, i think despite all education to the contrary, I pictured them as ‘happy pills’ or something, I’m not sure. I didn’t like the idea of something messing with my head. They make me feel normal again though, and I hadn’t realized how off I was until I took steps to correct them. My friends have been so supportive, despite how uncomfortable talking about this sometimes makes me, they’re understanding. I think soon, once I know I’m on some more stable ground, I’m going to reach out to those I hurt and apologize.
The point is: it doesn’t have to be like this. I feel like such a weight has been lifted. I’m not 100% yet, but I am not just sleepwalking through my life anymore. If this sounds like someone you know, don’t give up on them. I know I needed that while this was going on, whether I admitted it or not. It’s definitely an uphill battle, but taking actual steps forward is important. My sulking and moping helped no one and only hurt myself. Waiting it out isn’t real. Sometimes your brain chemistry just gets a bit topsy turvy.
Get help, I promise, it’s worth it