Yes, I Have Anxiety, And Yes, I Have Depression

Yes, I Have Anxiety, And Yes, I Have Depression

Miley said it best, "It's always going to be an uphill battle."

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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.

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Understanding What It's Like To Live With An Anxiety Disorder

Having no control over your own mind is scary.
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Anxiety disorders are no fun for anyone. Most people don't understand what it's like to be someone who suffers from one. They come without warning and without reason. As I am writing this, I am awake at an ungodly hour due to this stupid battle my mind is having with itself.

Let me help those of you who do not understand what this illness is like.

At random moments, I will get this building worry and fear that something isn't right. Everything could be just perfectly fine, but my mind will trick itself into believing that something is wrong.

It will convince itself that my life is falling apart. I will worry about one thing one minute and talk 90 to nothing then start to worry about another thing. My mind constantly switches back and forth and will convince itself that things are worse than what they really are.

All the while, I'm trying so hard to calm myself down... but it is impossible.

It will send me into a depression. A depression that causes me to hate myself for being so crazy and irrational at times. This depression is the worst part. It causes me to want to space myself from the world and everyone around me. It causes me to feel alone with my illness, and it will cause me to be too terrified to talk those that are closest to me about what it is that I need from them.

I feel needy, and I'm repulsed. But I can't help it.

The hardest thing is for me to find peace with myself during the depression stage. Most times, it switches back to worry and will keep me up all night. Staying up all night causes me to feel irritable the next day, which in turn causes those around me to steer clear. Which in turn causes me to go right back into depression and battle myself for being mentally ill.

You see, there's something those of you who don't suffer from anxiety need to understand: WE CAN'T CONTROL IT.

No, it doesn't make us crazy. We don't need you to tell us that we are acting crazy. We are already well aware of this and telling us that will only make our condition worse.

It will come at the most inconvenient times. When it happens, just please be patient and understanding with us. The attack will eventually pass, and when it does, we'll be back to normal. The worst thing you could do is bring up anything we were previously worried about.

Doing so will only trigger another attack. Understand that it's you and us vs. the illness. We hate it, you hate it, we're on the same team here. The best thing you can do during an attack is to just listen, and know that there are times we need you to hold us, and times we need you to leave us alone. Know that sometimes you'll be the trigger for the attack.

Don't take it personally. And please, for the sake of humanity, don't tell us that we're overreacting, that we need to calm down, or that worrying isn't going to make anything any better. If we could stop worrying, don't you think we would have already?

Dating someone with an anxiety disorder isn't easy, at all. It requires giving that person a lot of attention that you normally wouldn't have to do. That doesn't mean the sufferer constantly needs you to be stuck up his or her butt 24-7, but it does mean that when he or she is under attack you need to be there.

If someone you love is having an anxiety attack, ask them what they need. Most of the time they know what they need from you to help make it better, but they're too scared to tell you. Let them know that you genuinely want to help in any way that you can, and be okay with it if they tell you nothing and to just listen. Get to know their illness better.

Everyone's anxiety disorder is different.

Try to understand what it's like to have absolutely no control over your mind, and be there for that person. They need you most when they feel as though they have turned on themselves.


If you or someone you know is battling an anxiety disorder, seek help.

Cover Image Credit: ankor2 / Flickr

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6 Ways People With Major Depressive Disorder Live Life Differently

The trauma I experienced in my early teens has prevented me from having close relationships with new people. I want to be friendly and outgoing but sometimes it seems damn near impossible.

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Being told at the tender age of 14 that you have major depressive disorder is not how you want to start your freshman year of high school. I've missed some of which was supposed to be the best years of my life. I have written and probably deleted this article at least seven different times due to the fear of judgment. There are no words I can put into this article on how to describe the daily struggle myself, and a majority of people struggle with major depressive disorder have to deal with. How do you explain to strangers, the reason I'm being standoffish is that I automatically think you're judging me. "What could possibly be wrong in your life?" is a common phrase I'm tired of hearing. People who haven't struggled will never understand.

It's time to educate the "normal" people on this topic and why it doesn't define us as people.

1. Wanting to be social, but you just can't

The trauma I experienced in my early teens has prevented me from having close relationships with new people. I want to be friendly and outgoing but sometimes it seems damn near impossible. I'm not intentionally trying to be a bitch, but that's just how it comes across when I am feeling shy. If you feel as is if I'm being standoffish, don't assume, just ask and I'll explain.

2. Freaking out over situations that haven't happened yet

In my friend group, I am notorious for this. If someone close to you is experiencing this, instead of telling them to relax, explain to them it's all in their head and hasn't even happened yet.

3. Missing out on sleep

I normally only get around three and a half hours of sleep at the most during the night, which is why I'm always so tired during the day and sometimes a little grouchy. So when you tell me I look rough, I'm well aware. When you tell me I'm moody, I'm most likely groggy and just not caring about the day anymore at that point.

4. Having a bigger heart then most

Being in this state of mind, I will always be sympathetic with others feelings. I am normally a friend who can relate to just about any situation. I will never judge anyone when they confide in me.

5. Not always being in that state of mind

This is the biggest missed conception of being depressed. I have my moments, days, or even weeks but this doesn't mean my whole life is a depressive episode. I do have really great days.

6. Feeling harder for other people's emotions

I've only been in two relationships in the last four years, which made me feel very good and then very bad. Even in friendships, I tend to be more charismatic. I never want someone to feel underloved. When someone else is feeling an emotion, I will feel it with them. This can be a great thing in friendships, or it can affect me negatively depending on the emotion being felt.

* * *

These are all just qualities that come with this disorder, but not one single one of them define me as a person. Next time someone close to you has one of these symptoms, stop making them feel like it's their fault. Try to understand them better. Always check up on your friends and family.

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