A Short Account Of Living With Depression And Anxiety

A Short Account Of Living With Depression And Anxiety

I'm no expert, but this is what my experience has been.
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A friend of mine said to me once: "Medication isn't made to make you happier; it just makes life livable."

Sometimes I wonder if I am allowed to feel the way that I am—maybe that's the anxiety speaking. The thing about having that and depression is sometimes I don't know where my thoughts are coming from. Is it the depression? The anxiety? Is it normal? Or am I not normal?

That's what happens. You doubt yourself constantly. You're scared to speak up. You're scared to ask for help. You're embarrassed.

SEE ALSO: What It's Really Like To Have An Anxiety Attack

I don't know what it's like to not live with the symptoms, but I wish I did. I wish I could "just stop thinking about it." I wish I could "just be happier." I would kill for a chance to not have my own thoughts haunting me as I go throughout my day.

I don't like to talk about this because I don't want people to get tired of me. I don't like to talk about this because I know the stigmas. I don't want people's pity. I don't want people to feel sorry for me. The important thing to understand is that I am normal. People who suffer from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are perfectly normal—but that doesn't mean we aren't in constant fear that other people don't think so.

Some days, I can't get out of bed. Others, I can't wake up.

Some nights, I can't fall asleep. Others, I can't at all.

I often forget to eat or practice self-care. It takes active reminders for me to do so on some days. No, I'm not sad all the time, but there are days where I am overcome with hopelessness. There are others where I am overcome with panic. There are days where I am overcome with both.

I'm not an expert on this; I just live with it. I can't compare my experience with someone who doesn't have anxiety and depression because I don't know what that's like.

I'm not going to sit here and sugarcoat what my day-to-day life is, but I don't want people to think I'm throwing myself I pity-party. That is the paradox that has always persisted throughout my life. Even though it is a valid reason for me to be upset, sad or anxious, I am afraid of people thinking I'm weak or annoying.

Articulating this experience, even now, has always been difficult, because I don't fully understand it myself.

Have I ever tried ignoring it? Yes. It's impossible.

Have I ever tried just not thinking about it? Yes. It's impossible.

Have I ever tried to just be happier? Yes. I can't.

This isn't to say that I lie around sad all day, but when these feelings of anxiety and depression come creeping up, it's not like I have an on/off switch to prevent it. If I did, I wouldn't be taking any medication.

Depression and anxiety aren't just mental. There are physical symptoms: heart palpitations, sleeplessness, lethargy, fatigue, loss of appetite.

It is a constant war between hating myself, hiding that hate, feeling hopeless, hiding that hopelessness, panicking and hiding that panic. Maybe it's not constant, but I can never tell when those lingering feelings will become stronger.

This isn't a call to action; it's a call to understanding. I don't want to feel bad for myself, and I don't want people to think that I am. I don't want people to think I'm weak. I don't want people to feel sorry for me. I just want people to understand what it's like to live with this. I certainly am not claiming to speak on behalf of anyone else, but if I can provide some account of what it's like, then maybe I can also provide an understanding for those who don't suffer from these symptoms.

It's also absolutely vital to understand this: I will be OK. It's not like I'm completely falling apart or need someone to come save me, or anything like that. I am fine now, and I will be fine. People worrying about me actually increases my stress—it would just be nice for people to stop asking that I cheer up.

Cover Image Credit: everydayhealth

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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There Are Some Key Things To Remember When Trying To Counteract A Panic Attack

For the random attacks that seem to always come at the worst times of the day.

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Let me add in a disclaimer first and foremost by mentioning that I am no professional and that everyone experiences anxiety and panic attacks very differently. These are just a few of the techniques I have found over the years that have worked for my random attacks that seem to always come at the worst times of the day.

The easiest way I can explain what type of anxiety I have is describing it has something situational. This means that I can get very easily triggered by either event that is currently happening, or my mind likes to convince me that a situation is ten times worse than what it actually is. So if you or someone you know seems to experience their attacks in a similar way, I hope these techniques are useful in overcoming them when they come to you in the worst part of your day.

The first technique that I like to use is what I refer to as grounding. Since most of my attacks come due to specific events happening, I like to establish my surroundings while focusing on my breathing. For example, taking a step back and focusing on little things such as each singular sound around me, things I eat today, and even facial features of the people around me seem to help a lot. I would assume this is a way to distract my mind from the attack and with how weird it is, it often does the trick.

Another technique I have found useful I tend to practice when attacks come in cases where I have been thinking about something way too much. This is most likely the result of insecurities or just worry about failure in general, so to counteract those thoughts, I think about people and hobbies. I make a list of all the people that care about me in my head and remind myself of all of my favorite hobbies. Remembering that you are loved and cared for is a great way to counteract dark thoughts that creep into anxiety attacks, so try to keep them in your mind even in the darkest of times. Hobbies are a good distraction from negative thoughts and ideas, so surrounding yourself with music, art, outdoors, or whatever else makes your heart happy is highly important to your state of mind.

The last technique that I have found the most helpful is always having someone just a phone call away. This is sometimes the most difficult technique to practice, especially when you are already buried deep into an attack of some kind. You feel like a nuisance to anyone at that moment, but try to push past those negative thoughts. Friends and family are always going to be there for you when you need them most, especially when you only surround yourself with positive individuals. Talking about what you are going through in some cases can not only make the attack go away faster but allow all your worries to be uplifted, even if it's only for a few minutes.

I hope that if you or someone you know that finds these three techniques useful will practice them whenever you need them most. Even if you experience anxiety and or panic attacks and do not find these specific techniques useful for your situation, don't be afraid to experiment and find the tools that are the most beneficial for you and your needs.

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