I've struggled with depression the past couple months, since we (my family) moved to a different country. It's a longer story which would need more context, the point is that we had a lot of changes which created a lot of stress: all my friends were gone, all of the places I knew well were gone, my love at that moment was gone.
3 days after this transition finalized, I got a job as a summer camp counselor. This really helped, because it kept me busy, I was doing something I enjoyed and felt like I was making a good impact. I was active, outside all the time, and with a lot of people (good for a social person like myself).
Still, this was more like a band-aid over a bullet hole. I would go home, tired and sometimes sore, with an empty hole in my heart. At camp I was always the center of attention, always happy, very popular, but at home I was miserable.
It probably didn't help that I was a communist in America, the center of capitalism. I couldn't express myself, yet being out of the country for so long I had become... desensitized, to how things are generally ran here. So much plastic, so much social media, so much advertising, so much pressure to buy shit all the time, the godforsaken imperial system, and on top of it all knowing that it was built upon the backs of less fortunate countries, who wound up on the wrong end of imperialism. Being in a positive place like a summer camp, generally away from capitalism, definitely made the transition easier. I still felt it though, even in a summer camp.
The summer ended, and school started a few days after.
Same problems, but amplified. The community that the summer camp offered disappeared, replaced by the pressures, stresses, and competition from the school. Since then I've found my niches, but I still only know a couple other socialists, one's an anarchist and one I had a bad first impression with. I'm in the Social Justice Club, Environmental Club, and Gay-Straight Alliance, as a materialist I believe it's important to try and make progress however you can. It's not currently possible in my rich suburban environment to make socialist progress, but I can fight capitalism from the fringes without socially isolating myself.
My mood's been good lately. I have been tracking it since returning to the States, and January is by far my best month (4.5 out of 5 for average daily mood ratings). I'm happy, or at least that's the trend. But today I kinda slipped a little: I made a list of everything I hate about America. Looking back at the note I made, it had 13 bullet points, 13 things which I hate about America in particular (or 13 things about my life in America, there are many more than 13 possible reasons to hate America). But I didn't go any further than 13, although I could have.
I realized that by focusing on the negative, I was perpetrating this concept that there is nothing good about America. That's not true, there's a lot to like about America. Where there was community in New Zealand, that's been replaced with opportunity here. I can do almost anything I want here, and recognizing my privilege that I have in a well-off town with lots of such opportunities, I can use those opportunities to do good, perhaps create the community I want, maybe later creating change from above.
Focusing on the bad is the reason why I was so miserable after leaving New Zealand. I was under a lot of stress, sure, but the quicker I could have been happy where I was the better off I would be.
Hope this helps anyone going through something similar.