I like to think of depression as a really, really bad roommate. Imagine: the powers that be sling you and depression together, and for the foreseeable future, you two are stuck sharing the same space. You kind of have to interact once in a while, just to be polite, but it’s not that bad at first. Depression stays on its side of the room, and you stay on yours. You don’t love the way depression took charge of decorating, but you’re not one for confrontation. Living together is all about compromising, right?
Except depression doesn’t compromise. It plays its sad, weird music at 1:00 AM and Skypes with its annoying hometown friends when you’re trying to study. Plus, it leaves its stuff all over the place, including on your side. The space doesn’t really feel like it belongs to you at all. That’s not cool, man. You guys signed a roommate contract!
So one day, you decide to say something. “Hey, depression, I’ve noticed your side of the room is getting a little messy, and–”
“THE ROOM IS MESSY BECAUSE THE WORLD IS MESSY AND THE BETTER DINING HALL DOESN’T DOESN’T TAKE MY MEAL SWIPES ANYMORE AND EVERYTHING IS AWFUL FOREVER.”
“Okay, well, I don’t think that everything is–”
Nothing depression says makes any sense, but you back down anyway. Dealing with this guy is harder than you thought it’d be.
Life goes on, and things don’t get any better. Depression isn’t just leaving its stuff everywhere; it’s using yours. You stop inviting friends to hang out in your dorm, but, for some reason, you hang out there pretty often. Fighting with your sulky little roommate is exhausting—you don’t have the energy to do much else but plow through some reading and sleep. It doesn’t help that, day in and day out, depression talks and talks and talks, giving unsolicited commentary about you.
What a jerk.
An unfortunate amount of college students end up living with this super rude roommate at one point or another. Handling depression on top of the thousand and one other things college throws at you can be overwhelming, and not a little aggravating. I’d recommend dealing with your unwelcome houseguest the same way you’d deal with an actual unsavory roommate situation: getting outside help. Friends, family, your RA, your school’s counseling center. No one should, and few can, cope with this alone. Depression can be incredibly difficult to live with.
(And it never makes its bed.)