Hi Mr Ajax
I can deeply empathise with you. I’ve been in a very similar position in the past, and am under a lot of stress right now which has been making me very unhappy for the past several months.
First I’d like to encourage you to analyse your feelings and step away from the word “Depression” and “Feeling depressed”.
While this is a valid medical condition, the medical disease includes a wide range of emotional feelings and symptoms.
to highlight just a few:
Deep dissatisfaction with yourself. Very low Self Esteem
Very low satisfaction with your current situation in Personal &/ work/study &/ social life.
Feeling very “Sad” a lot of or most of the time
Feeling very Worried or anxious a lot of or most of the time
Unable to feel happy most of or any of the time.
Irrationally unable to cheer up even when you have good cause to feel happy
A total lack of feeling not happy or sad or worried etc. just emotionally “Numb” all the time
A chronic lack of energy - physical or emotional
Unable to sleep
Unable to stay awake even though you’ve got enough sleep
Not wanting to socialise even if you have good opportunities
the possible list is long. This is just part. I assume that when you say you feel depressed that you mean you feel “Sad” you feel “Lonely” - you have described very good reasons why you may be feeling these things, and you sound very rational in your descriptions.
Based on this I guess (I’m not medically or psychologically trained so take this however you like) I suspect that if you are able to directly challenge some or all of the factors leading to the low emotional state that you should find your moods and your ability to enjoy life should improve rapidly.
You say you will be attending College in the Fall. Will you be living away from home?
May I strongly advise that you make significant effort to find and develop friendships there. I would suggest you join one or 2 new societies, and seek to “Let people in”.
Seek out the Catholic Chaplaincy or Newman Society. Try to make social connections there. Pray with them. Talk to the priest or other Chaplains about what you’re going through. They can and will help or point you in the direction of those who can.
If your description of the level of family life and support is unbiased I would not disconnect that from your emotional state at all, but it could in fact be a significant contributing factor. However I would caution that determing whether you are seeing the situation in a rational and unbiased way is very difficult to judge, and impossible for me having just read a couple of paragraphs from the far side of the atlantic.
In terms of sleep: A lack of sleep will cause tiredness which makes feeling happy extremely difficult. It can directly cause symptoms of depression and other mood dissorders. If such dissorders are already present, lack of sleep will make them worse.
On the other hand as listed above, unable to sleep, or a strong urge to sleep too much can be a significant sypmtom of depression in many people. (It’s a 2-way street, where the symptom can make the disease worse, and make recovery far harder)
I would strongly advise you to address this matter with great urgency.
Avoid all caffine drinks after lunch - or eliminate them entirely. - that goes for all stimulants whether Legal or ilicit (unless prescribed by a doctor).
Therefore no Coffee. no Cola, no Red-Bull etc. (Or at least none after lunch)
Set yourself a morning wake up time, and a bed time, and really try to stick to them.
Even if you don’t get to sleep, try to get up at your normal time anyway. Never sleep in past mid-day. (I’m assuming your not on shift work)
Always try to go to bed at a set bed time. Probably somewhere between 10pm and midnight.
There are things which can help induce sleep: A warm bath or shower, just before bed causes a slight drop in body temperature, which induces the early part of the sleep cycle. (because in early sleep the body temperature naturally drops)
Calming the mind helps. Choose late evening activities that don’t stimulate adrenaline - i.e. no computer games. No Action Thrillers on the TV. Don’t exercise in the late evening.
A warm drink like Chamomile Tea, or hot Milk flavoured with Cinnamon or a malt drink can help.
Consider getting a hops pillow. This is a bag stuffed with Hopps (one of the raw ingredients used for beer. It’s the fruiting body of a bush) The dust from the hops is natural a sedative when inhaled- which makes working with the stuff difficult as workers will often fall asleep on the job from inhaling the dust. These pillows often contain a mix of Hops and Lavender.
Pray a meditative prayer at bed time. Night Prayer from the Divine Office, Lectio Divina, The Rosary, and other meditations or forms of contemptlitave prayer are suitable.
If you wake in the night, and don’t go back to sleep easily, then get up and do something relaxing. - Remember that until artificial light became common, humans commonly would have 2 4 hour sleep periods with a relaxed night time period between when they would read, pray and / or socialize. The structure of the Divine Office, and most monasitc traditions reflect this, with the “Office Of Readings” having been renamed from the hour of “Matins” which was typically some time between 3 - 5 am. - Note this was a time for meditation on the scriptures and other spiritual writings.
If you aren’t able to pray, select activities that are calm and restful. - maybe read another book you enjoy (but isn’t too exciting.)
I hope this advice helps.