Life is great so why am I sad?

I was eighteen, and it seemed as though I had it all. I had just started University, studying a degree that I loved and my grades reflected my enthusiasm. As well as studying full-time, I juggled a range of extra-curricular activities including playing badminton, volleyball, running track, and attending dancing classes. Outside of Uni and my extra-curricular activities, I had a great group of friends, supportive family, and a thriving social life. On paper, my life seemed great and as though I had everything going so well. So why was it, I felt so sad all the time?

I was confused and found myself asking the same questions repeatedly. Friends would surround me, yet why did I feel so alone? My family were supportive and understanding, yet why did I feel I could not voice how I felt? Despite all these activities I did, why did I feel so unfulfilled? Why was I crying at random? Why did I wake up every day feeling as through I had a dark cloud over me? As well as the sadness, there was also an intense feeling of guilt that never seemed to subside. Guilt, over the fact that my life was going well and I had so many things to be grateful for, and yet I could not seem to be happy no matter how much I tried.

On the outside, it was impossible to tell. When I was with my friends I smiled and laughed, and made jokes. When I was with my family, I joined in dinner talk and shared funny stories. At University, I was excelling and because of all my extra-curricular activities, I was in the best physical state I had ever been. Yet, underneath it all, I was miserable. This continued for nine months.

It never occurred to me, even at that point, that I could be depressed. I thought depression only affected people that were going through something difficult or stressful or had something bad occur to them. Back then, it did not seem possible that depression could randomly affect someone when everything was going great in his or her life. I only truly I understood it was possible when we were learning about depression in my university class and I found myself mentally ticking the checklist of symptoms. Tick, tick, tick, tick.

There were too many ticks for it to be coincidence or accident. I found myself in a daze as I walked to the train station after class. Was I really depressed? At first, the thought of it seemed scary and overwhelming but then underlying those emotions there was relief. Finally, I knew why I felt this way. Finally, I knew what I could do. I told my close friends and my family, and I made an appointment with my family doctor who arranged a number of supports and resources for me.

That was several years ago, and nowadays I am much happier. However, that would not be possible if I had not recognised what I was going through, and had reached out for support. One of the biggest lessons I learnt from that period of my life is that depression does not necessarily affect people after something bad or traumatic has happened. Sometimes there can be no particular trigger, and it can affect anyone and at any time. Even, when things are going great. It also made me realise the importance of checking in with yourself, and with your close ones and asking if things are okay even when they seem perfectly fine or happy.

If you would like some extra support or something is just not feeling quite right, please give LETSS a call at 1800 013 755 or start a webchat via


(photo by Caleb George)

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