Don't Do This Alone

Don't Do This Alone

it's okay to ask for help!

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I always hear people saying "anxiety and depression aren't real, it's all in your head." I just want to point out that it's not made up, it's a real thing and people struggle from it every day!

People just like you and I struggle from this every day, it might not seem like it, on the outside, but on the inside, they are so broken. People sit here and wonder why there are so many suicides and things like that, it's because no one takes the time to actually get to know someone and what they are going through.

People never take the time to fully understand someone with these issues and sometimes these people never get the help they need or get left out of friend groups because of these issues. They find out you have anxiety and depression and all of a sudden you are weird and this and that.

Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions - just as real and serious as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States.

Many people think of depression (MDD) as simply being sad, but it is actually a much more complex medical condition and everybody's experience of it is unique. Part of what makes depression complex is that people with the condition experience multiple symptoms. Depression includes emotional, physical, and cognitive symptoms.

I know i personally struggle with these two things on a daily basis. It is not made up, I can promise you that! They are very hard things to deal with. I know what it's like to not be understood and to be left out. It really sucks when you are in a room full of people and feeling so alone. Or sitting there having so much to say and not having anyone to talk to about it!

I personally try not to let my emotions show on the outside, but it's not always easy dealing with these things so it's hard to not show my emotions sometimes.

I saw this post on facebook today that said, "Reminder to ANYONE that my house will always be a safe zone. Coffee can be put on in minutes, or if you prefer tea, soda, or alcohol, no problem. I will always be available - even if we haven't talked in a while. Even if you think it's weird. Text me, call me, message me, anything. I will be there. I am always a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. Nothing is worse than being alone and going through things alone."

It reminded me that it's okay not to be okay all the time! It's really important to be there for others, some of us need all the help and support we can get even if it's just a friendly hi, how are you doing kind of conversation. Let them know you are there for them!

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I Asked Hundreds Of People How They Cope With Anxiety And Depression, Here's What They Had In Common

Old, new, and out of the blue. This is what everyday people do to cope with their anxiety and depression.

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Anxiety and depression can ruin some of the best days of your life, or every day in general. When I reached out to social media, I got some of the best advice I've ever received. Maybe it's so great because it's not coming from a therapist, the internet, or a figure of authority that I may feel doesn't "understand" what people with mental health issues go through.

These responses were raw, real, and used on a daily basis by people ranging from 16-28 years of age. I took their answers and made them into more broad responses, and this is what they said.

1. Nature Walks 

Sometimes all it takes is a walk through the woods to help you see life clearly. Anxiety and depression among many other mental illnesses are caused by things that happen in hectic everyday life situations. If you separate yourself from society, it can do wonders.

2. Delete all social media for a week

Among many other things, this would help you stop setting social media standards for yourself and your life. The standards set by social media cause worry, insecurity, and at times insanity.

3. Find something you look forward to after a 10/12 hour work day

When it feels like you are working your life away, it can get depressing and maybe even make you a little anxious. If there is something other than work to look forward to in your life, it could give new meaning to waking up every day. Finding hobbies isn't always easy, but even if you don't seem fit for any particular hobbies there is no bad place to start.

4. Learn how to breathe/count your breath 

This is simple and one of the best tricks in the book.

5. Reading

Reading can take your mind off things for quite some time, especially if you pick up a good motivational/ self help book. By reading, your mind is engaged in another reality rather than what is going on in the outside world. Other than being a distraction books can help you learn about anything you could possibly think of.

6. Don't be scared to let it out, someone will listen 

Finding a good friend that you can trust with your mental health issues is important. Often people are afraid to talk to someone. They are scared that they will not understand or they will dismiss their emotions. This is where having a good friend or finding a good friend comes in handy. This is also one of the benefits of social media, you can connect with people going through the same things you are. Be sure to utilize that.

7. Keep busy

If you don't give your mind time to wonder, often it will just stay focused on the task at hand.

8. Weight lifting 

When I was younger this was especially helpful for me to do. Weight lifting gives you a hard physical task and can possibly distract your mind from whatever is bothering you. By working out you are bettering yourself physically and mentally. You are building mental strength by pushing yourself to continue a workout, which in turn can help you combat your mental health in the future.

9. Tending to plants after work or just sitting in peace with them

Growing up, my Papa had a garden. We took care of it, admired it, sat in the middle of it and ate strawberries until we were sick. Having a garden is a goal of mine and that is only one of the hundreds of reasons why. Being able to come home from school or work, take care of something that is living and that is yours, and admiring all the hard work and beauty that comes out of it is priceless. Aside from being priceless, it can also provide a distraction or a calm setting to spend time in.

10. Listen to music

Listening to music and even playing music can be such a positive gateway. Music activates things in your mind that other activities don't touch.

11. Writing 

Writing is something that I've always used as a stress reliever. As much as you may have hated writing in high school or college, you won't know if it helps to do it willingly until you try it. When I write, everything else around me disappears. I get to sit down, focus my thoughts on one thing, and write whatever I want. I can display every emotion, good and bad that I feel.

12. CBD oil or other CBD products 

The proof is in the science.

13. Medication

If you are thinking about getting medicated I want you to know there is no shame in that. We have to stop treating mental illness like it's not a serious problem in society. It is, people do need real help, and it is a real thing.

14. Therapy

Just like I said for medication, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. At one time or another, everyone I know has been to some kind of therapy.

15. Yoga

Although I've never been able to be dedicated to yoga, I know it works wonders for my peers. You can find yoga tutorials on YouTube and videos for beginners or experts. Yoga goes hand in hand with meditation, and you can find that on YouTube as well.

16. Validate your own feelings 

It's important to stay away from a cycle of thinking you are overreacting because that's what social media and society say. It's OK to be sad or hurt from something, as long as you don't let it consume your entire life. If it begins to do so, reaching out for help isn't a bad idea. Neither is searching for new coping techniques.

17. Grounding, or counting all objects near you 

This is a good way to bring your mind back to what's happening in the now, instead of letting your mind wonder to the future or the past.

18. Walking your dog/getting a dog

Aside from dogs, people said they spend time with their horses and cattle too. Having an emotional support pet was one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. My dog isn't registered as an emotional support dog, but he's become that and more. Getting your pet registered means that you can take them into public places where other animals that aren't registered are not allowed, which is what I personally recommend.

19. Simple distractions

Watching a movie or hanging out with friends can distract your mind from the bad when it starts to take over. If you catch it in an early stage and decide to go hangout with friends instead of letting it grow and fester, it could save your day.

I'm no expert, but if you know a friend with anxiety or depression some of these techniques may be something they've never tried or heard of. You may have friends that you have known your entire life, yet you have no idea that they possess a mental illness. Be nice to your peers, friends, and family. You never know what they are going through.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.

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Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?

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