My story with severe depression and anxiety. Lets talk about it.
When you see those posts floating around social media to be kind because you never know what people are going through is something to really live by. I always try to speak for myself but I feel safe speaking for others on this as well because I know majority of us if not all deal with so much on the inside and when you're dealing with something internally it's very hard. A lot of us are fighting battles nobody else knows about. You don't have to be physically hurt or abused to know what pain truly feels like, to know how it feels to suffer from something.
Summer 2013 shortly after I graduated high school, I just got a job working at Comcast and I remember I was in a training class still. We were all leaving to go on break but for some reason I couldn't move; my heart was racing, I started shaking, I felt numb, I was having chest pains, and I couldn't breathe. I remember feeling so terrified but I couldn't even express it to anybody. I still remember this day like it was yesterday and it's still a bit traumatizing for me to revisit. I was in the emergency room and I remember every time I got checked the nurses kept saying that I was stable and my vitals were perfect, I remember just looking at them confused because that is not how I felt inside, I really did not understand. When they came back with my diagnosis they also referred me to see a therapist and prescribed me medication, now I am really confused. My mom was there and she really doesn't believe that mental health is a thing, she put it in my head that I didn't need medication or anything that the doctors were suggesting to me and that all I needed to do was pray. For the longest time I really didn't want to accept what happened to me so I didn't, thinking that panic attack would never happen again and boy I was wrong. How do you explain this to someone? It's not like I could show a scar or anything like that. How do I explain that vitally I am completely healthy but yet there's still something wrong? I did not know how to explain that and feel comfortable. I felt invisible and isolated because of it, I felt as if I was on this rollercoaster ride by myself that kept going and going and going. It wouldn't stop or make a different turn to let anybody else on, it felt as if it wanted to trap me and only me every single day.
Acceptance is freeing. I had to really study and understand the diagnosis I was given but trust and believe that didn't make anything easier as I was still up against a lot. Although I accepted it myself that doesn't mean that the people around me would understand, like how do you explain being an adult but not being able to express what's truly going on with you? It sucked so bad. People would ask "what's wrong" all of the time and there was yes indeed something wrong but it was something that I really couldn't explain. It got to a point where people didn't even bother asking anymore because my answer was always the same, that was hard but how could I even blame them. I felt so alone and tense all of the time, sometimes I would go weeks not being able to find peace or comfort. The stigma around mental health is that if you have a mental illness you are crazy and if you go seek a therapist or lean on medication for that there is seriously something wrong with you so for YEARS I avoided that but I knew deep down inside that this wasn't just minor anxiety or depression, it was pretty serious. It was so hard to be transparent about what I needed because of what people would think and say or how they would look at me, I didn't want people to think that I was incapable of still being me although this was really taking a toll on my life. I knew in my heart that I had to seek professional help because it was effecting me THAT bad, I kept having panic attacks and I wasn't able to focus on anything let alone having any type of interest to do much.
EXPERIENCE WITH MEDICATION AND SEEKING PROFESSIONAL HELP:
I will not sit here and tell lies because it was so unbelievably hard to start therapy and even be open to medication but I did it. I couldn't stop thinking about the stigma built around doing so and it really bothered me to the core. I had to really pray my way through it, I asked God everyday to open up my heart and mind to accept the help that I need. It took me 3 years to find a medication that actually helps which is one I take when I start to have a panic attack but as far as a daily one? I still have yet to find one that really works for me. I have tried the sit down therapy sessions and I am not a big fan of it at all, I know this may sound crazy but that shit gave me anxiety! LOL I really did try though (3x to be exact). I then switched over to over the phone therapy and I really love it. It's still just as effective and honestly way more convenient for my life. From experience - if you are looking to seek professional help allow yourself to open up because that is the only way ANY of it will be effective. Also know that it will be a process and things are not going to be perfect or even work the first time around; give yourself and the people that are trying to help room for trial and error. Last thing, don't be afraid to tell them what you need because it's really easy for them to have you there taking the assessments and suggesting the same thing over and over again. Be honest about what you need or what you think would help.
LIVING WITH ANXIETY NOW:
After years of researching and allowing myself to really go through certain stages I can finally say that I got a point where I know how to manage it a lot better, I can finally say I have more control. I still deal with it every single day though that has not changed but now I know how to keep pressing forward (I'll share tips in another blog). Just like everything else there's bad days and good days, some days are better than others and other days are flat out just tough to get through. In a sense I had to redefine my life and in order to do that I had to allow myself to feel certain things and go through dark times, so dark that I had suicidal thoughts. It also took A LOT of deep self reflection. It was tough but I had to take myself all the way back to things from my childhood to really figure out what my triggers are. I realized that for me a lot of it was about not knowing how to let things go, not knowing how to let myself go through things so instead I would just avoid it but it wouldn't leave my mind. I walked around every single day carrying so much baggage, always expecting horrible things to happen, I was always preparing my body for some emotional trauma. (hint: the anxiousness, being tense, worrying, can't focus, etc). Gotta watch out for those triggers and I can't stress that enough; I was in a relationship for about 2 years and had no idea that it played such a big role. My anxiety and depression was probably at its highest and I couldn't figure out why; I obviously wouldn't automatically think that the person that I love would be a trigger but I was wrong. The relationship was so toxic it fucked with my entire being. I had to go through that tough breakup though, I had to feel, and then do some deep reflection and that was a hard one to accept. It wasn't until after the breakup that I began the process of rebuilding myself; once I learned how to rationally look at my surroundings and myself I became capable of controlling my emotions and my reactions to those emotions. Let me tell y'all the REAL reason why that suicidal thought didn't go through or why I'm still even here... the GRACE OF GOD. Having a true relationship with God, having a strong faith life, and prayer life is what got me through. When I couldn't afford sessions with my therapist God was my therapist. Through his word I was able to get my mind out to keep fighting another day. He was my help.
I don't know what it looks like on social media but I am here to tell you that no matter what I post I still have anxiety and I still deal with depression. I talk to a therapist and I still take medication. I'm here with you and I'm showing my scars to let others know that they can heal, to let them know that there is a God that heals.