Recently I just came back home early from a 2 months study abroad in Europe. I came back to the states earlier because I felt severely depressed being all alone in Europe handling with rents studies food and traveling plans. When I came back home, both my grandparents had passed away. I went to their funerals and wake but I felt grief and sorrow from it. I have many regrets about my lousy decision to study abroad at this time of year. Ever since I got back home, I’m not my usual normal self anymore like how I left the states. I came back a different person. I have the feeling of emptiness and lots of regrets. I was an optimistic, talkative, outgoing and friendly person, now I’m pessimistic, depressed and antisocial. I’m straying away from socializing with my friends, families. I feel fatigue all the time, I just lay in bed all day with loss in appetite and do nothing all day. Everyday is a struggle for me even when I was living alone in Europe. I feel like there’s no point in my life anymore. I’m just not my usual self. What is going on with me? (age 20, from US)Not Feeling like Myself Anymore
Not Feeling like Myself Anymore
Thanks for writing in with your question. I’m sorry for your loss. You’ve been through some major changes in a short amount of time so chances are that they are catching up to you. Grief can mimic clinical depression and cause all the symptoms you mention. The fact that you didn’t adjust well to your travels abroad and felt lonely and isolated may have set the stage for a difficult adjustment coming back home too. Grief is a normal response to loss and change and usually gets better with time, but it is important to allow yourself to feel your feelings, even the sad ones.
Even though you don’t “feel like yourself” and don’t have as much interest in the things you normally would, you may benefit from pushing yourself anyway. Get some exercise, go outside when the sun is shining (to increase vitamin D), make plans with friends and family, etc. At first it may just feel like you are faking it and going through the motions, but eventually doing these activities may bring you back around. If not, it would be wise to make an appointment with your doctor for some blood work and to see a counselor. If you don’t want to wait, there is no harm in taking these actions right away. I hope you feel better soon.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts