Why being unemployed caused my depression to get worse

The first time I admitted I was depressed was when I was 21. I’d had depression for most of my life at this point but this was a period where it seriously affected my life.

I had finished university, moved home and I couldn’t get a job. I’d also split from my university boyfriend, a relationship that had been dysfunctional and I’d had problems with my contraception.

It was difficult to be at home. There were no opportunities in such a small town and I didn’t get on well with parents. I need freedom and I don’t cope very well with being stuck in one place. I also hate not being busy.

I started to learn to drive, which I hated and I started trying to learn Spanish for my upcoming trip to South America.

I tried to write and I tried to read but I had no inspiration or focus. I kept sending off job applications, hoping for the best. I sent off 75 in total, mostly for office admin or retail roles. Both of which I had experience in. I also signed to a temp agency. I only needed a job until October but it proved almost impossible.

I couldn’t get paid work so I applied for work experience and I interned at 3 different local newspapers. I got some articles in these papers and I hoped it would help me get work elsewhere. It didn’t.

I had to rely on nepotism in the end as my auntie helped me get a weekend job at the newsagents where she worked. It didn’t pay very much but it was good to have some routine. Luckily, I had already saved my money to go to South America and paid for my flights otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go.

I was so stressed at home that I started taking calms tablets to stop me getting so upset by my parents. They just made me tired which didn’t help. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t try to understand and I didn’t seek help at this point.


I carried on working at the newsagents but it was difficult to see my friends when I was working weekends. The sense of failure was something I just couldn’t shake and there was nobody who I could confide in at the time.

I missed Manchester so much, I think at this time in my life I needed the city. I needed my friends, my routine and a job. Being at home was like going back in time and I just felt totally worthless. I had moved out at 18 and started a life in Manchester for good reasons, cities have so much to offer, especially when you’re young.

Now that I have a firmer grip on my numerous mental health problems and mental illness, I know that this was a bad time for me. One of several really dark times that I’ve lived through.

Going travelling really saved me, all the new experiences gave me something to get me through the day. Being with my friend helped me, even though we didn’t always get on. It was hard to stay sane whilst travelling and I certainly started to feel down towards the end but it provided me with so much inspiration, which is why I decided to write about it.

I was going to hit rock-bottom again, a few more times but at least I learnt how to ask for help. If you feel the same then you should too.

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