He's graduated, has a great job, nice friends and he's depressed

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-21-2004
He's graduated, has a great job, nice friends and he's depressed
10
Wed, 01-30-2013 - 9:02pm

my son is suffering from depression.  He's aware of it and says some days it's very tough, and other days he feels okay.  On paper he's got it all going on.  Engineer, great job, nice place to live, good salary, but he says he's miserable.  He says he really does not like the job and yet he's not sure it's the job as much as it's the 8-5 grind so he's not sure he feels like job searching.  He lost his girlfriend and that he says shook his world, but now that months have passed and he's aware she's not coming back, he's not sure if she did, if even that would make him come out of his funk.  He finally made an appointment and went and talked with someone, once.  He said it felt contrived and kinda cheezy.

He point blank asked me for some guidance.  I listened to him and asked him what he thought would help.  He had a few ideas but they were kinda far fetched (even he thought so, as in quiting everything and taking off on some extended trip of sorts).  I acquiesed that it wasn't completely crazy, he is young, but an exit plan he's thought out a little more might be better than just up and leaving (although it's been done many times over right?)

The guy he went to might just not be the right person for him.  I recommended that he try a few others.  

Be open minded to some sort of medicine if need be, but talk therapy with the right person can be a God send.

Any thoughts?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-1998
Fullmom, First of all I responded to your post (finally i saw it) on the teen board a few weeks ago. I wasn't ignoring you, I just don't visit the boards frequently due to all the problems. Is this the son that you've mentioned before or an older son? I do know that there is a type of depression that is less severe (dys..?), don't remember exactly. I agree with others that talk therapy should be the first way to approach anything, then go from there. If he has just graduated, I do remember that time of life as not being my favorite. I had my boyfriend (now DH), and that kept me sane. But I know if he hadn't been in the picture, I wouldn't have been as happy. Becoming an adult with all the responsibilities can be overwhelming. If you're not a party animal that has TONS of friends, you can find yourself almost starting over again in the friend department. College friends are scattered, high school friends are mostly long gone, you don't necessarily like the people you work with. Life can just not be fun the way it was in school. I bet more young people are depressed, they are just not so honest and seek help. Thankfully he is so open with you, I think that's wonderful. Big Hugs. I wish I had more suggestions for you. Conmama
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-21-2004

Thanks everyone.  Spent some time with him this weekend.  Did not go with my bag full of advice, although eventually I did share some stuff that I thought would help.

He's not as bad as I envisioned.  He is getting out, he is doing stuff.  And he's struggling, but it seems to me more of a life thing and not full on depression.  But on the off chance that I'm wrong, in other words, all is well, but he's clinically depressed, I told him to try talk therapy for a bit and if nothing changes he may have no other choice but to try medication.

I assurred him that this time of life can be tough for some people.  Mostly I told him to "let go" a little more and not put too much pressure on himself to find the perfect balance.  I told him that we'd see him through this, and while I didn't have his solution, we'd be there for him, no matter what.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2003

I agree with the ladies here.  A different counselor might help.  And if it really is the 8-5 grind, maybe he can plan some great activities or getaways for his weekends.  Maybe that'll give him a way to get through his work week.  How long has he been out of school and working?

I went through some anguish and burnout in my junior-senior year and was probably depressed too.  Went to the counselor's office on campus, but nothing eventful happened at that one visit.  I ended up not going back to school for Spring semester and really didn't want to go home and have to explain to people why I was home.  I took a co-op educ job out of town (actually 20 miles from campus) for the Spring and Summer.  Can't really say I was happy, but the change of scenery helped me a lot.  I came back and finished with a vengeance, without the feelings I had before.

I hope your son can find help and peaceof mind soon.

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003

Depression is so hard. I pray he will find some peace. My dad suffers from it and it's hard. Just keep talking.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

The thing about depression is that a person can look from the outside like everything should be fine but they still feel depressed, which is what other people don't understand.  My exH has bipolar disorder so I did a lot of reading on depression.  There is actually a book called something like When Someone you Love is Depressed, which is interesting reading.  If he just graduated last year & started working full time, that is a really big change.  My DD graduated 2 yrs ago and has a job she likes but she had to move to a different state--she isn't depressed but I know she misses her friends and because her BF stayed here, they basically broke up.  I mean college, even though you work a lot, is also a lot of fun--you're surrounded by friends, there are all kinds of social activities going on, then you're in the work world, it's sometimes boring, you aren't with friends as much cause they are working and you have to plan to see them.  Plus then you have the breakup--you say it's been months but it might not be long enough for him to have really gotten over the breakup.  I remember having a BF when I was in law school for 1 1/2 yrs--we had talked about not being ready to get married, but heading in that direction in a few years, and then he broke up w/ me basically by gradually drawing away, not a sudden breakup--I thinkhe just didn't want to be the bad guy.  I think it really took me a year to get over it.  I do think he should go back to therapy.  Tell him that it takes a while to adjust to therapy--the first few sessions are always getting family background and asking what the problem is so you think nothing is really getting accomplished until you have gone a few times.  He should think about what kind of therapist he could relate to best--male or female, young or old, maybe it should be someone who speclializes in treating young people--and it might be better to go to a LICSW rather than a psychologist.  If he need medication, he'll need to go to a psychiatrist for that anyway.  Good luck to him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006

This is really annoying.  I can't post unless I click "quick reply" instead of "reply".  But when I use "quick reply" it comes out as one, big paragraph.  I tried editing to add the spacing, but it still didn't take.  I wonder if there's some way iVillage can just scrap this whole new system and restore to a point 6 mos. ago.

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http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/october/meet_the_new_health_.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQTBYQlQ7yM

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006

Even if he might not think his break-up is causing his depression, I would definitely suspect that with either of our sons. I agree that he should seek the advice of a therapist, and maybe pay for some career testing/counseling if he thinks he may have chosen the wrong career.

Last night I spoke with our DS29 who was a civil engineer for 6 yrs before quitting to go full-time for his MBA. Now, after one semester, he sees that the MBA/back-to-school-life is much more work than he thought it would be. After studying engineering, with all the math & science, he thought the MBA curriculum would be a breeze. Not so, surprise,surprise! Not only is he bogged down with coursework, but he is preparing for interviews for summer internships. A couple of weeks ago he told me, "I don't need to earn a ton of money. If I can just get a job that pays $100K I'll be happy. I just want a life!" Mind you, he's had more of a life in his 29 yrs than I have in my 57, mainly because he is such an extrovert.

If your son is not much of a socializer, I can also understand that personality because our DS23 is more like that. And I can see how he might one day feel just like your son, esp. if he and his gf break up. I know that he would take a break-up much harder than his older brother who is always surrounded with plenty of friends, and I'd push him more to seek counseling. Tell your son he is not alone. There are many young grads out there who are not happy with their positions in life right now. The one benefit they have that we don't is their youth, and that is important. He has time to change what he isn't happy with. If it's really the 8-5 grind that's getting him down, this is what my sister always says: "It's called work for a reason. If everyone enjoyed his job, they wouldn't call it 'work'."

It really hurts us parents to see our children unhappy. I hope he soon figures things out or meets someone who puts the spark back in his life. Hugs to both of you.

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http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/october/meet_the_new_health_.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQTBYQlQ7yM

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997

I guess the one time in my life that I could consider I was honestly depressed was when I was dumped by a guy I'd been dating a couple of years who 'cheated' on me (we weren't engaged but had talked marriage and at the beginning of our relationship he broke off an engagement so it was a long climb to get where we were). Anyway- a girlfriend from work told me to put in a personal ad in our local newspaper (not the big one, just the trendy one) looking for a guy, and she helped write it.  I got 53 hits or something like that - the ego boost was amazing and I had a blast reading the responses (it was one where it listed a box and the paper collected responses and then mailed them so it was totally anonymous). I did meet a couple of the guys and dated one for almost a year which was nice.  I highly recommend that (it felt very awkward but was very empowering).  (I was also getting professional help but compared to what my friend did to help, it was pretty useless)

Job-wise - he can always look, send out feelers to friends, get on LinkedIn on the engineering job sites groups and just poke around.  If something comes up, great.  If not, can he explore internally to see what the options are or see if there's an additional thing he can work on while doing what he's not thrilling to (happens to me a lot as an engineer) and thus at least have ownership of a small portion of the job that he enjoys?

Sue

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997

There's being in a funk because you're alone, and then there's depression.  Obviously none of us here can diagnose depression, but I have to say it sounds more like depression than a response to a bad break-up.  If he has a great job, and friends, but he feels hopeless and sad, then he should be seeing a therapist.

Therapists come in all flavors.  If you don't click with one, the sessions do feel contrived.  If you find someone you click with, however, it can be eye-opening.

Sometimes medication is required too.  There is no shame in recognizing that your brain is malfunctioning and needs medication to work the way it should.  If you had high blood pressure, you'd take medication.  There's really no difference.  Just because it's your brain doesn't mean you can just will it to be OK.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000

Sorry your ds is struggling. I think you're right that he should talk with another therapist if this one felt 'cheesy'. Also he should talk to his family doctor or a psychiatrist as they are the ones that can prescribe meds if needed. It sounds like - even though he may not have a desire to get back with his gf - that the break up is what triggered all this and it would be good for him to talk it through. Keep us posted.

Pam