Every day I wake up to a briskly drafted sunroom full of light. In the summers, it used to make me smile, but as the months grew colder, my smile seemed to dissipate with the warmth. I used to never be a grumpy cat in the mornings, but it's become easier and easier to fit into that new role, on behalf of my newly found companions, anxiety and depression.
Wow, did I just admit that? Out loud?
The second semester of my sophomore year in college hit me like a wrecking ball. I played field hockey for the school, I had great friends, and life seemed okay. I had taken on nine classes, equaling 17 credits, with days as long as 6 A.M. to 9 P.M. most days out of the week. Academically, I was in for a firestorm of material I didn't believe I would ever be able to pass.
On top of having such a heavy workload, I was required to be at Spring season workouts, practices, and whatever else we had on our agenda as a team. I had spoken to my coach about my situation, and she, of course, understood the circumstances that I had been dealing with and agreed, classes came first. Some of my teammates just couldn't understand my absence and took it for skipping rather than class.
It all started to become a lot. I was trying to please my parents, my coaches, my teachers, my teammates, even myself; and I couldn't do it anymore.
I remember calling my mom in a complete frenzy of panting and crying all while trying to get my point across of, "Hey, I'm losing my mind." I remember her telling me to calm down, and she had called my coach asking for her to call me in, sit me down, talk some sense, but my coach did something even better. She did sit me down, but we just talked about anything and everything.
I remember her telling me pieces of her life, and things that she had gone through, and I remember just opening up and telling her pieces of my life, and what I had gone through. She asked me if I'd be willing to take a test online, and I agreed on the kind of knowing what it might be, but not really knowing. We switched seats, and I took the test.
More and more, I found myself agreeing with so many of the questions that, by the end of the test, I had a more clear understanding of why I had been feeling the way I'd been feeling. These attacks I'm having are anxiety attacks. I was relieved, yet at the same time, I was so scared. I had heard so much about mental illness, but I never thought that I myself personally would suffer from it.
While the talk with my coach had saved my life at the time, I had bigger problems now that I didn't want to face.
On my campus, I lived in an apartment building where your personal room had a lock pad. None of my roommates knew my passcode, and it made hiding away from the idea of my classes, people, my friends, and life a cakewalk. My anxiety soon turned into crippling depression, and my mom finally found herself taking her 21-year-old daughter to face her demons.
I was at a point in my life where I had no control, and I was a mess. I was given medication, and I was asked to forget and rebuild, by myself. I needed to find a way to build myself back together, and I never wanted to be the person that needed a pill to do it, but I realize it's more than that.
While I still try to ignore all traces of these monsters because that is what they are to me: monsters. I find myself carrying their weight with me everywhere I go. It's a constant feeling of fear, paranoia, anxiousness, nauseousness, and crying. A lot of crying. It's never easy, and every little accomplishment feels like it deserves every bit of award.
For me, when it comes to depression and anxiety you always feel alone, but you're not. My friends and family may not know exactly what I'm going through. I wish they did; it would make explanations a little easier, but ultimately they don't. But my heart is so full of gratitude to have people around me that are always constantly willing to hear every ounce of madness in my mind.
My moods can swing from so cold, all the way to too hot, and somehow my friends, my boyfriend, and my family still find ways to navigate through them all. The people in my life really make me question what I did to deserve them, but maybe they just love me for me.