My freshman year of college was everything that I had hoped it would be. I had a scholarship to a decent, albeit unknown, liberal arts college. I made the Dean's list while taking upper-level classes. I made friends with people that I respected and were interesting, but also spontaneous and fun. I was one of three freshman on the editorial board of the literary magazine (which was weirdly a "cool" thing at this school). I was taking classes that I enjoyed, learning things that I was genuinely interested in. Everything was new and exciting and wonderful. I remember myself for the majority of that year as very calm, content, and excited for the future. These are probably the best and most recent memories of happiness for me.
One night in the spring of that year, while at a friend's birthday-turned-house party, I got too drunk. I lost my phone and keys (having placed them in a closet when the party got busy) and I ran into a guy that I had a few classes with. According to an acquaintance, he offered to walk me home because I seemed tired. The next morning, I awoke on his bed, clothed except for my pants on the floor, and him asleep on his couch.
The next year and a half is a fog for me. I began skipping classes, transferred schools, barely made an effort to make friends and get involved, and didn't tell anyone about what had happened. This culminated in a major depressive episode of about a month in which I did not leave my dorm room, I did not shower, I slept erratic hours (when I wasn't watching seasons of HIMYM or Bones), and I only ate food that I could get out of the vending machine at 3 in the morning, afraid that I would have to see another human being. During this entire time, my family and therapist all thought that I was doing "so well." I didn't want to burden anyone with my problems and I felt guilty about everything- convinced that my friends' and family's lives would be easier and happier without me. I showered, dressed, and smiled for appointments with the therapist, and I forced an upbeat voice on the phone with family. Only after planning a suicide and then deciding against it based on the guilt that some poor person would have the horror of finding me, did I admit to anyone that I needed help.
Fast-forward five years. I'm now medicated and the lows aren't so low. I've graduated from an amazing university, I'm gainfully employed at a promising job, and I have the support of a wonderful family. But every single fucking day is a struggle. I've been late to work a few times because I have trouble convincing myself to get out of bed. I'm in a new city, and I'm finding it difficult to meet people and make friends post-college. I eat my lunch alone in my car sometimes because I don't feel like I'll even be able to handle small-talk with co-workers. Most days, I feel awkward and ugly, wishing I could close my eyes and just go back home, crawl into bed, and stare at the wall.
I know that I have some control over this. I can exercise, I can force myself into social situations, I can tell people that I'm happy, and I can try harder. I can climb out of this well. I know I can because I've done it before. But most days its all I can do to keep my head above the water-line. I know that I'll live with this for the rest of my life- and that is what truly terrifies me.