featured image via Panna Bagoly
It’s time to talk about something very serious and something that isn’t talked about as much as it should be.
Just that 10 letter word can scare some people and cause them anxiety. It may even instantly bring flashbacks of some dark times. If it doesn’t – I’m truly happy for you, because that means you didn’t have to go through this.
I have GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) ever since I remember existing, and still suffer with it to this day. It doesn’t have a cure and I know I’m going to have to live with this for the rest of my life. One thing that has to be taken into account – and that took me years to realise- is that the fact that I’m going to live with this forever doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to let my disorder define me or my actions. It doesn’t have to take over my life.
If you suffer from anxiety just like me, let me tell you that there’s plenty of ways of getting help. You don’t have to suffer in silence, nor should you. That isn’t healthy and will only make the big monster that is anxiety grow more and more as time goes by.
When we decide to stay in silence, to keep our thoughts to ourselves, to silently cry every night under the duvet… that’s when anxiety decides to call a friend of his. Depression.
I have no doubts that to some this might come as a surprise: the fact that anxiety actually affects people that much and the fact that anxiety walks hand in hand with depression most times.
Suffering from anxiety doesn’t mean you’re always going to be depressed, but if the disorder isn’t treated as it should if the person suffering doesn’t seek for help, that black and chunky monster will most likely make its way into the body and start messing with the mind.
I’ll give my personal experience as an example.
Like I previously said, I’ve lived with my disorder ever since I remember existing, and it has been a terribly hard battle to fight.
My anxiety has made it extremely difficult for me to make new friendships, to speak in front of a crowd, to ask for a drink in a bar… but there was one year when I was 12 years of age when things were different.
I knew that what I was feeling wasn’t just anxiety.
In 2012 I started doubting myself. And when I wasn’t doubting myself, or even actually feeling good about myself one day, when night time approached, I’d always find myself crying in my bedroom and listening to sad songs.
That summer I fell out of some friendships and was struggling a lot with my self-confidence. It came to the point where I looked at myself in the mirror and wanted to cry due to how I looked, my appearance. I looked at all my friends in their swimwear, so confident and beautiful, just to look down at my tummy and wish it wasn’t that big.
The friendships I had slowly fell apart thanks to my “friends” constantly making little remarks about my tastes and sometimes even how I looked or what I wore. They made fun of me, whether I was around or not. It made me feel little in comparison to them, and many were the days and nights when I cried because their words kept playing in my mind like a broken record.
That was when the depression started. It started slowly, with my self doubt, then it escalated to seeing the ones who were once by my side walk past me and not even say a word, or laugh.
This all happened during Summer, that time of the year where you’re supposed to have no worries, to enjoy those three months to the fullest, to have fun… but I wasn’t doing that. I remember that many were the days when after lunch I’d go to my room and cry.
I was sad every single day and rare were the times I could plaster a smile across my face.
My elder sister and mom were extremely preocuppied with my condition and even told me multiple times I should try and see a therapist. But my answer was always no. At 12 years of age, I was one of those that thought “only the crazy or really sick ones need to see a therapist”. It makes me cringe that I actually thought like that. Silly me!
But I did end up going to see a therapist. I only made that decision because one of my sister’s friends had a conversation with me. He told me he knew how I was feeling, because my sister had shared her worries for me with him. That made my heart hurt and that was when I started crying. I still have this episode very present on my mind. I cried for a solid hour, listening to everything our friend had to say and tried to explain what I was feeling. If you have dealt/are dealing with depression, you know how hard it is to explain what you’re going through when sometimes not even you understand.
It was by the end of that conversation that I made up my mind. I was, indeed, going to see a therapist.
As soon as school started in September I started seeing my school’s therapist.
I was there every week for two years. It helped! It really did, and that’s no lie. If you think that talking to a stranger won’t help – you’re wrong. Sometimes talking to someone who doesn’t know a single thing about you is just what you need. You won’t feel judged.
I stopped the therapy sessions because I was better. So much better. My confidence had grown a bit and my anxiety was more controllable. And the depression? It wasn’t there anymore.
I’m trying to be as raw and truthful as I can. So I will say that maybe the decision myself and the therapist made wasn’t the best. I shouldn’t have left Therapy. I should’ve kept going every week, even if I only went to talk to her about my day!
But I didn’t and things were good for a good couple of months! Maybe a year.
But there’s something people need to understand about anxiety and depression: it comes and goes.
And that’s what happened to me. Depression eventually came back, and I was back to crying alone in my room, to doubting myself, comparing my figure to others… But I didn’t go back to Therapy. I dealt with it myself – and that made me grow into a much stronger person.
I should’ve dealt with those two monsters by myself? No, I shouldn’t and I don’t think it is recommendable. But was by my own that I learnt to deal with my anxiety in situations no one was going to be able to help me. It was like I injected some postivity into my brain.
Now, if you’re going through one of these dark phases and haven’t gone and look for help, I don’t want in any way to encourage you to stay that way. Please do seek for help. Talk to someone, whether that is one of your parents, a therapist, a friend… someone you know that’s going to listen and try to understand you. Someone that’s going to be there for you along the way.
Anxiety walks hand in hand with me everyday, and it doesn’t matter if I want it to hold my hand or not, because it’s tied and glued. It won’t leave, but I’ve learnt to deal with it. To control it.
One thing I still have to quite learn to deal with is my depression. It’s the monster that still scares me every time it appears.
If you’re dealing with depression, please don’t let it spread. I can’t stress enough the fact that you should look for a Therapist, seek for help and take care of yourself.
We are all unique in our way (no matter how cheesy that sounds) and we’re all worth it. We were all put into this planet with a purpose and if you haven’t, you’ll eventually find yours.
Depression isn’t just feeling sad. The word is actually thrown around like something with litte significance, when in reality it is something very serious and complicated.
Depression can start with people doubting themselves, to hate the way they look, the way they speak, the way they walk. People think no one cares for them, “no one would miss me if I just disappeared”. People are going through a very delicate and storng pain, and gain pleasure from causing even more hurt to themselves, because they feel like they deserve it. Depression leads to anxiety, to suicide… Depression isn’t a joke and it sure isn’t something to be used as a joke. It’s an illness that just keeps on getting more current in our society and it needs to be taken in count just as seriously as other illnesses.
We have to raise awareness for mental health. People who suffer with any sort of mental health illness have to feel comfortable talking to someone, have to understand that they’re not alone. And in our generation, I think we still have a long way to go for people to feel like that.
If you suffer with depression and have an anxiety disorder/panic attacks or any sort of mental illness I just want you to know that you’re not alone, ok? You’re not. There’s a way out of all this mess and even though it won’t disapeear and will always be a part of you it doesn’t have to define you. It doesn’t define you. Just like my therapist once told me “You are not your disorder”.
No matter how hard it might be to understand this and believe it, everything is going to be fine, eventually. You just have to treat yourself.
Us humans are like plants. We have to keep on watering ourselves in order to keep flourishing and keep on getting healthier and healthier!
I know that my words aren’t going to cure anyone, and that that are some that might feel confused or frustrated because the depression they’re going through isn’t exactly like this. But I hope most of you find some smiliarities in my story and understand that it is possible to get better and that seeking for help is crucial. It’s that click we have to take in order to start the journey that is trying to make that huge black monster get out of our body and mind. It is possible, and you can do it.
I’d love to hear some of your stories and to help in any way that I can.
Feel free to leave a comment down below telling me your story and journey living with anxiety, depression or both. Who knows maybe there’ll be people who read it and identify themselves?
If you relate to any comment, why not reply and spread a little positivity?
I’d love to read your stories and try to contribute with my words as much as I can.
And always remember: you’re not your disorder, you’re not your depression – these things don’t define you. You are a human that needs to be taken care of and that needs to be watered in order to keep on flourishing. You are unique and needed in this world. Stay strong and remember that nothing’s impossible. You’ll fight this battle and kick anxiety/depression in the ass. I believe in you!