It’s a completely shitty experience. You become so negative in your views and thinking that it just feels that everything you do is gonna result in just 1 thing: failure. It just becomes a habit to just laze around killing time, and never having the courage to do anything. And you can’t do anything about it. It’s a vicious cycle; you get tensed and all worked up because you are doing nothing; and you do nothing because you are so tensed. In all, you are totally f***-ed up. You just can’t even maintain proper relations with the people around and spend time being alone rather than socializing with people and friends. All in all, a shitty and a horrifying experience.
Detailed Answer: (Sorry, it’s a bit long…)
I went through depression for about 1.5-2 years just after entering the university. So, I’ll list down everything that I experienced.
So, against my wishes, I opted to choose to pursue engineering right after my secondary school. My family gave me just two options: to pursue engineering, or to go for studying medicine. I was never into studies much and always wanted to be a sportsperson. But I was not given the option. So, I chose to pursue engineering. It was also decided that I’m gonna try to crack IIT-JEE, supposedly one of the toughest undergrad exams to enter IITs (IITs are some of the prestigious institutes in India for undergrad in engineering). I somehow slugged it out for 2 years and managed to crack it.
But, it all started when I entered college. For the first time, I was away from the comfort of home and my set of close friends and that too in a remote area with absolutely no proper facilities to stay or to study yet (I got into one of those ‘new’ IITs). Plus, there I just felt people were just involved in a rat race to succeed (I may be wrong, but that is what I felt at that time), and just couldn’t manage to have a heart to heart conversation with anyone. Plus the introvert that I am, it was always going to be difficult to make new friends. I started to feel very lonely; felt I had already taken the worst decision of my life. And the next 4 years are going to be terrible.
All this started to take a toll on my mental state. I became too negative in my approach. I just couldn’t imagine that I could succeed in any field at that point of time. People in the society thought I had achieved a great feat by clearing this exam. But I felt my life was all so fucked up. Frustrations grew up. Even started picking up fights with people around for no apparent reasons; even with my roommates in the hostel. Felt terribly homesick. Couldn’t even concentrate on any particular thing. Result: poor grades, just no commitment to studies, growing pressure from home to perform well, and ultimately losing my confidence. I was so frustrated with myself that I just couldn’t play cricket well at the university either, the sport I loved so much. I just couldn’t bat well as I had lost all the confidence. I just couldn’t concentrate on anything. I had no idea what the fuck I was doing with my life. Here I was, suffering away from home, with no friends around due to my attitude.
The worst part was, the pressure from home to perform well just grew up as they had no clue what I was going through. I developed some weird fluctuating eating habits. One semester I would overeat so much that I would grow really fat. The next semester, I’ll starve myself so much that I grow too skinny. Life was a complete mess. I had developed a habit for being sad.
The only people whom I got support from was from a close group of friends back home. I used to talk to them over phone (thank God I at least wished to talk to them properly). But even with them, I just used to go on complaining about the college and the situation around. But, they listened to me and never complained. I was indeed really lucky to have such good friends back home. They were a huge support for me during that time. I don’t know how I would have survived without them.
How I got out of the rut:
After about a 1-1.5 years, one of my friends just made me realize what I was doing with my life. He was calm and understood my situation well, but also made me realize that I could seriously get out of the rut and do something well. Now, this friend and his wise words somehow really made an impact on me. I realized that I was the one who was all responsible for this. And I could improve it. It might sound a bit silly, but those words really gave me a lift that I needed so much. I decided that at least for one semester I’m going to try being happy and try to do well.
And the next semester did go well overall. I tried to be active and participate in a variety of activities. My attitude with people changed. I became more approachable and started helping people out. I also made some friends along the way. Overall, I felt I was really getting my life out of the mess I was in. But, of course there was a relapse.
There were a couple of moments during the semester where it just felt really weird to me that I was indeed feeling happy! (I know it sounds so stupid; but yes, it had become some sort of a habit to always feel sad). And then once, I started feeling terribly homesick all over again. I felt I was again going to go back into that situation and I just couldn’t do anything about it. Luckily, we had a good counselor at our institute, and I just mustered up courage to go to her and seek her help (in India, unfortunately it’s still a taboo to seek a help of a counselor/psychiatrist). I just went to her and poured my heart out. And it was indeed relieving that she listened to me patiently and gave some obvious but soothing advice. It was indeed a relief to take it out of my head and to have someone who was willing to listen to me and understood my situation.
After this incident and a couple of other weak moments, I realized that it was high time I took care of my life. I decided to completely shut those feelings off whenever they came, by getting busy with some activities during those moments. And slowly and gradually I improved.
It’s been about 1.5 years from that phase and fortunately I’ve worked hard enough to have some really good achievements that anybody in the institute can just dream of. But all of it did leave a lasting impression on my mindset. But I’m happy being out of that phase and I’m in better control of my life than ever before.