Some of you may have noticed my absence on our channels for a while, but there is a reason for it. Although this is a very personal part of me, I decided to share this anyway, because it happens to so many people in today’s society and almost everyone gets to experience a form of it in a certain period of their lives. I got to experience it for the first time the last 6 months. At first, I was confused and thought it was just a temporary thing until it began to drag me down like I’ve never known before.
The jump from a worry-less and free way of living to a fixed and narrow life messed me up. I knew that rolling back into a professional working field would be challenging. I had zero working experience after graduation and being away for so many years wasn’t really helpful as well. So you may guess what happened when I started working as a psychologist. I got confronted with my insecurities and shortcomings as the unexperienced professional, self-studying like crazy to keep up with all the work that was being thrown at me. In the meanwhile, Farhang was still working super hard to get his company going, but he was struggling as well. Living in Amsterdam is very expensive and paying living costs with one salary wasn’t possible. I was stressed. It felt like I was just living to pay rent. Although a psychologists’ work is super interesting and every day I get to learn new things, working circumstances were suffocating, making me feel as if was caged. Every day the same office, same days, same hours. I was neglecting my true self by not being able to combine work with my creativity due to my job’s requirements and productivity demands. The pressure was extremely high.
I got depressed. Ironic, huh? Being a psychologist helping others and then having it yourself. It totally caught me off guard. Many days I would feel extremely sad and get emotional talking about it. I couldn’t enjoy the things anymore I used to love doing. Being someone who’d never had sleeping problems, I was suddenly not able to sleep. Every night I would wake up around 3-4 AM in cold sweats and stay awake worrying till my alarm went off for work. I was fatigue, nauseous, almost life-less at work. My colleagues would notice that something was wrong and that this wasn’t the same happy girl that came in for the interview a while ago. I wasn’t into social gatherings with family or friends anymore, I just wanted to be left alone. Only person I wanted to be with was Farhang, because he was the only one who actually understood what I was going through.
I put up with this for almost 6 months, but then something snapped and I decided things had to change. It’s okay to have downs in life and it’s also okay to feel sad sometimes, but when a depression kicks in and it makes you feel miserable for such a long time, you need to take things into your own hand. Once you figure out the reasons that could be responsible for your negative emotions, you take actions to change the circumstances you are in. So we did. I gave my notice at work. Farhang got himself a new job until his company gets going. We are probably going to move again. Change can be frightening, because it brings uncertainty and not knowing what direction we are going, but it is necessary to move forward.
People nowadays are ashamed of experiencing mental illnesses or issues (whatever you want to call it). It’s a taboe to show your vulnerability or that others may see you’re having bad times. Because it’s normal to ALWAYS feel good and extraordinary, right? Super unhealthy way of thinking. Not talking about it or ignoring your emotions will not help to overcome depression, neither does doing things that give temporary happiness. These are just things we do to avoid our actual problems.
Ups and downs are part of life and it’s comforting to think that we may need those downs to appreciate the ups just a little bit more. And remember, we all learn from hardships, not only regarding ourselves, but also which relationships are actually valuable and which not.
I hope, by writing this piece, I could reach others who can relate and know that they are definitely not the only ones struggling. And how they can take the first steps towards change. We are all responsible for our own happiness, things won’t change if WE don’t do something about it. Cheers to new beginnings!