Life’s biggest transitional periods are accompanied by feelings of anxiety. This includes entering marriage, the infamous quarter-life crisis, empty nest syndrome, and retirement.
A less commonly discussed transitional phase is the change that follows after college. Students may feel nostalgic after having to leave behind the familiar academic environment — friendships with peer groups, being a part of a tight-knit community, participating in local interest groups, and attending parties.
It’s more than just heavy-hearted nostalgia for others, however. Sometimes, fresh graduates experience post-college depression, or the extreme sadness and impaired functioning during the transition from school to the workplace. A person’s inability to move from student life to adult life is an issue that requires serious attention.
Post-Graduate Depression Is Underreported
Therapists claim that post-college depression is understudied and underreported. Sheryl Ziegler, a licensed professional counselor, believes that young adults can be difficult to study and categorize from a research perspective. On a similar vein, some people shy away from talking about post-college gloom, because culture dictates that graduation is a “joyful time.”
Furthermore, studies about post-graduate depression are difficult to find. There is a multitude of studies analyzing the causes of depression among individuals between 18-25 years old, but data on the blues that students experience following graduation tends to dramatically dwindle.
The symptoms of post-uni depression include lethargy, pessimism, a general sense of hopelessness, and in some cases, substance abuse. Usually, those who experience the blues are unmotivated to find a job.
When Expectations Fail to Meet Reality
Statistics show that Millennials have the highest rates of depression and anxiety than any other generational group. Job hunting and workplace issues, in particular, fall high on their list of concerns.
A study from the University of Pittsburgh concludes that Millennials showing signs of depression are also prone to be more active on social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. The habit, however, only creates feelings of helplessness and the narrow view that everyone else has their life figured out.
Getting Out of the Post-Uni Slump
Suffering from depression while unemployed can make a person feel like they’re stuck in a slump. Seeking out professional help and talking to a psychiatrist in Westport is one way to deal with the situation positively and proactively. Experts also suggest overcoming feelings of depression through the following:
- Being realistic – New graduates need to acknowledge the current market and where their skills fit in. It’s impossible to reach one’s professional goals straight out of college, after all.
- Focusing on skills – People shouldn’t feel discouraged if their college successes fail to make an impact on the “real world.” It helps to focus on how past triumphs were achieved, and then think that current issues are just a new set of challenges to face and overcome.
- Recognize improvements – Sometimes, life doesn’t go according to plan. Try to stay positive, though. Focus on areas of improvement to avoid making the same mistakes again.
- Communicate with family and friends – Parents and peers can provide support to struggling individuals during major, life-changing transitions. It helps to be open about job hunting and the frustrations that come along with it.
If you’re experiencing post-college depression, you can count on The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health for help. We treat depressive disorders using evidence-based psychotherapy and techniques to improve your quality of life.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.