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    Hey Katie. I’m so sorry to hear that you are struggling. I’ve recently transitioned out of a deep depression myself that stemmed from similar circumstances (I went abroad to work on a master’s degree, fell into a depression that continued for six months after I got home, so probably a year of major depressive episodes, though I’ve struggled through it in the past, like you).

    First of all, if you haven’t considered therapy, please do. As soon as I returned to my home country I booked an appointment with my therapist. I see him monthly and it really helps me put things into perspective.

    Like you, I also stopped caring for myself physically and talking to my friends. I felt like a failure for various things – mistakes I’d made over the last year, etc. I felt very worthless. Worse than I ever had in my entire life.

    I was waiting for my depression to simply end, but I knew it wouldn’t without my own intervention for my well-being. So I started small. I would promise to brush my teeth once a day. I’d shower every other day. I’d try to wake up fifteen minutes earlier. I’d text back one friend. Then I gradually added good things. Eventually these habits became routine and the more I did them, the better I felt.

    Regarding friendship – reach out to your closest friends first. Apologize if you feel you need to. Explain. Ask for help. Tell them what you need. They can help. Depression always seems bigger alone.

    Finally, try to forgive yourself and not feel shame for your experience. This is so difficult to do, but you deserve it. I try to think of how I would treat a friend or a child and try to treat myself that way. Read Pema Chodron for lessons in self-compassion. She truly helped me. Watch Eckhart  Tolle on You Tube. My therapist turned me on to both and they’ve been great. Spend time doing things you love. And give yourself time – don’t forget to love the person you are now, even if it’s hard. You deserve that love and you need it. You will get through this. Sending big hugs.

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