Anxiety and Depression: Sharing My Story Is a Step Toward Healing
I’ve lived with anxiety since as early as I can remember, and I was just diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) two years ago. However, I have yet to open up about spouts of depression to anyone, let alone a professional. Anxiety has been my loyal partner for years and years; it’s a toxic relationship, really. You can give me any situation and I will overthink it in a million different ways and drive myself into a deep depressive and anxious state where I can no longer cope. Yes, putting on a smile for all to see is a great talent of mine, but sometimes you can’t always fake it till you make it.
My GAD has greatly affected my friendships and romantic relationships. It forces me to push people away so I can stop the idea of becoming vulnerable from entering my mind. It has ruined so many precious friendships of mine that I can never get back. Essentially, my anxiety tells me it has made me a one-man band for the rest of my life. My GAD comes into play a lot during social situations. Although I love to meet new people, the thought of it makes my skin crawl with worry and my stomach churn. A big goal of mine is to maintain close relationships without overthinking and dwelling on every text exchange and face-to-face interaction. However, I think I may need to get back into therapy to help me with that.
In terms of my depression…well, I haven’t exactly been diagnosed yet, but I just can’t help feeling this hopeless, sad, lonely and physically sick and fatigued 95 percent of the time is something related to depression. This feeling of depression began my freshman year of college. I am now a senior ready to graduate (you can imagine my level of anxiety about this). I went to a community college my first two years of college because I was too anxious to be on my own at 18. Well, at this college, I was lonely, sad, and I felt sick from being so down. A lot of bad thoughts would rush through my mind, things I’m not ready to talk about yet. But long story short, I felt like I was nothing to anybody, not because of anybody, but because of my mean mind. I felt like a martian, like I didn’t belong anywhere or to anyone. I would sit in my bed and watch the clock in the dark, praying the days would end so I can go to bed and not feel so guilty about it. I would cry; that’s all I could do.
Now, I go to school at a university farther away from home. It has been fun, especially my junior year. Sure I had my terrible anxious moments, but my sad moments seemed to diminish; I thought it was over, and I was thankful and relieved. I couldn’t imagine feeling that way again. But, since my senior year started, it has all come back, and it has come back strong. I always think this time can’t be worse than the last, but somehow it finds a way. I think the fact that I’m soon entering the real world has sent me down a downward spiral at a million miles per hour, because I feel nowhere near ready, nowhere near smart enough, and nowhere near capable
enough to succeed. My anxiety has been making me so physically and mentally sick, and my depression has torn me apart in ways I cannot explain.
Although this story only captures a little of how I feel day to day, writing about it and sharing it with those who can relate is a part of the healing process for me.
This year has been a very tough year for my mental illness and me. But I pray every single day that I will become better and that I will stop being afraid to ask for help and ashamed for admitting I have issues I need to deal with to recover. If anyone deals with these problems, please know you are never alone, and that although it may not seem like it to you at times, you matter!
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Thinkstock image by RossHelen