Stephanie Nixon

@stephanie-nixon | contributor
I love reading some of the stories that get published by The Mighty! A very powerful platform to raise the voices of those who may be silent
Community Voices

To those I love

To those I love;

These are some of the things I wish you knew, when I was fighting #Depression:

I wish I could explain to you the turmoil going on in my head.

I wish I could put in simple terms what is happening

I wish you knew how much I hate myself when a depressive episode strikes and my temper flares and you’re on the receiving end of it.

I wish that I could feel ‘happy’ and ‘normal’ again – whatever they mean, as they are now just memories that seemed to have taken place a life time ago.

I wish you knew how I feel – that I no longer feel like myself anymore.

I wish I was no longer in pain

What I want you to know, is that I am fighting an unseen battle. A never-ending storm where my emotions drop, and am being dragged downwards in a never-ending spiral of despair, #Loneliness

I love it when you listen, and let me pour my heart out.

I love it when you spend time with me.

Thank you for your constant love and patience; I will pull through this.

I’m just fighting one day at a time.

Community Voices

Reliving Traumatic Life Experiences; top tips on self-love

TW: this blog post contains themes of sexual assault

Around June/July last year (2018) my #Anxiety spiked. During the anxiety attacks, I began having flashbacks to the sexual assault that happened when I was 13. One moment, I was getting on with my life, the next moment, I could hardly breath, began having palpitations, and my body felt as sick and weak as it did when the assault happened. It went on for several weeks, causing much concern for members of my family. I hated constantly feeling weak, and had no idea as to why, 11 years after the assault, it was coming back. After breaking down to my doctor, he explained to me the bio-psychological processes that were happening. He talked about the amygdala which is the non-analytical part of the brain, which deals with the fight/flight response. My body was reacting with the fight/flight response whilst having an anxiety attack due to the flashbacks.  He said that there may never be a reason as to why I’m having these flashbacks, and that there may never even be a reason. He further explained that this may occur again later in my life. Now that I have had this experience, these are my top tips on self-love when reliving traumatic life experiences. These are my top tips on self-love and care when reliving traumatic experiences:

Take deep breaths
Make yourself a cup of tea/beverage
If out and about, find somewhere to sit down and breathe deeply.
Recollect your thoughts and think of happy memories
When you’re at home, spend time with your family, friends/loved ones.
Engage in an artistic/therapeutic activity to distract your mind
Take some time out; have some ‘me-time’, recoup your energy
Have a long soak in a hot bath
Remember that you are loved

#SexualAssaultSurvivors

#MentalHealth

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Caroline

Depressed in College: Why I'm Celebrating Missing Class

I just missed English class for the third time in a row. Most college students would view this as a sign of failure, but I’m proud of myself, at least for today. Instead of going to class, I stood in line in the dining hall, walked back to my dorm, ate a chicken salad, and took my meds. This morning, I got out of bed, took a shower, brushed my teeth, got dressed, and brushed my hair. I haven’t been able to do those things in so long. A depressive episode has held me hostage for the past month. Yesterday, I had the worst panic attack I’ve had in years: I sat in place for two hours, disassociated, didn’t eat, and felt my limbs and mouth go completely numb as I tried to breathe my way out of fainting and stress vomiting. I felt like a ghost leaving the earthly realm for some unknown place. But right now, I’m human again. I’m here. The world may not understand how my doing basic tasks is reason for victory, for writing with the intent of sharing, but I do. As someone who has trouble functioning because of mental illness, today’s small steps towards normalcy make me feel strong. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo by grinvalds

10 Things Not to Say to Someone With Depression

Depression is not an easy thing to live it. Combined with anxiety, it can be immobilizing and even cause major disruptions in people’s lives. Although depression is an unpleasant thing to have, what is even worse is when someone who does not understand it makes a comment about it. Here are 10 things people have said to me about my depression that I wish they hadn’t. It is purely based on my own experience, and I am aware this will not necessarily be the same for everyone I know who has/or has experienced depression. 1. Snap out of it! Depression is a real mental illness. In my case, depression for me was catalyzed by loneliness and transitions, which, as you can imagine, really took a toll on my mental health. I cannot just “snap out” of dealing with the mental turmoil of depression. I also can’t “snap out” of the current situations that played a role in my depression. Transitions are a part of life and are to be embraced. I intended on combating the loneliness I experienced by spending my time with others. However, I was lonely within the crowd, which did not make things any easier for me. So I found myself trapped, and I did not know how to get out of it. This was the start of the downward spiral of my depression. 2. Oh cheer up! So you seem to think I can just think my way out of depression? Well, sorry my love, it does not work like that! I will not cheer up at your say so either. Just like my previous point, I cannot just cheer up when a depressive episode hits. I have to run with it, learn to manage it and use my coping strategies (painting, walking, watching a film and playing X-box) to distract my mind and feel better. Also, unless you have experienced depression, you are in no position to tell me to cheer up. 3. You don’t look depressed. Depression does not have a “look.” You cannot assume depression is where people always look sad and miserable. I was a fake person for a number of months. I smiled and pretended to be happy even though I had what I call “numb” days when I don’t feel any emotions. This was how I managed to hide my depression, and no one really knew about it until I became more vocal and was in a better position to manage it. 4. It’s not that bad. Oh really? Well why did I not think of that? Unless you’ve experienced months and months of being in a mental prison, where you constantly feel guilty, low, frequently tearful for no reason and constantly go through this downward spiral of suicidal thoughts, self-loathing, self-harming and suicide attempts, then you should not tell me depression “is not that bad.” 5. Why are you depressed? I always have to take a pause whenever I am asked this. What actually was it that triggered my depression? Was it the loneliness? Was it the transitions of my closest friends graduating and leaving while I’m still here? Was it the fact that I was running on three to four hours sleep every night, which meant I woke up feeling groggy every morning for months on end? Was it the media and the focus on hate crimes and other serious things happening that all of a sudden was extremely triggering to me? Usually, I just tell people life has been tough, and I am still making my way through it (only I now have an amazing support system in place to help me). 6. Get over it! Do you really think getting over a depressive episode will happen within the moment you tell me to? No! I cannot just get over a drop in my mood or when a depressive episode happens. If I suddenly feel unable to do something because of the episode, then please help me. Do not make assumptions that it is something I need to get over because, quite simply, you cannot just get over depression. 7. You need to get out more. You think by getting out more, I will magically be “cured” of having depression? Of course not. Given I am generally out and about for much of my time anyway, why on Earth would you assume I need to get out more? My actual diagnoses is severe depression with anxiety. Unless you’ve had a panic attack trying to sleep, waking up, walking into a building or as you attempt to go shopping, then you are really not able to understand what is happening to me physically and mentally. Yes, I enjoy going out for walks. Yet, when my anxiety levels skyrocketed and my depression worsened, going out was the last thing on my mind. 8. Depression is for weak people. In my opinion, this is the biggest insult to anyone coping with a mental or depressive disorder. I am not weak for having depression. In case you were unaware, depression affects a third of the world’s population, and 1 out 4 people will be affected by a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Are you implying that a third of the world’s population is weak because of an illness? Are they weak because they are constantly fighting an invisible battle that worsens over time? Depression made me the stronger person I am today, and I am now stepping up to be more of an advocate for others who are in the same position. 9. I’m not happy you’ve increased your medication dose. As much as I understand your concern, it is not really your place to say whether or not you’re happy about the dosage of my medication. It is a decision I am making after discussing it with the doctor, who is in a much better position to advise than you. Plus, it’s not like this decision affects you either. Why complain about me strengthening the dose on my medication, when instead you could text, call or email me, follow-up and see how I’m doing? That’s a better plan. Remember, depression affects everyone differently. Some people are able to come off medication sooner than others. Respect my decision. 10. You’d better not have a breakdown when we’re out! When a depressive episode hits, it hits. There is no escape from it, and I have to cope with it. If I have an anxiety attack or a severe depressive episode where I end up losing myself in the mental chaos happening in my head, then poor you! The most you can do is put up with it, given I have to live with it! Think before you speak. Do some research too! If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here. Image via Thinkstock.