The Low-Down on Depression & Anxiety
Hey guys, so I’m new to this and I’m not truly sure on what my goals are in the blog-world, however, I just miss writing and the freedom that is released when I’m immersed in particular topics. My topics may seem random, but I hope you enjoy them!
When the words ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ pop up, some have this lack of understanding associated with a mental disorder and some disregard this for ‘attention-seeking’. Now, if someone uses a disorder as an excuse to get people to feel sorry for them, I feel sorry for that person for even having to go through all that effort just to receive sympathy. You may be thinking why is that and my answer would be because having a mental disorder sucks! Big time! The fear and stigma associated with mental disorders is starting to improve as more awareness is created for future generations, however, everyone still has their own experiences and ways of dealing with it. This is why I am sharing my story!
Recently, whilst being half-way through my University degree, I unfortunately got hit with this suffocating, lonely form of depression and social anxiety. This may seem like a scary, fancy term that you may not be familiar with, so, I will have to explain this in an easier fashion. So, depression is defined in a number of different ways and affects people differently depending on a number of factors. The symptoms can range between loss of interest in things someone used to enjoy, emotions running all over the place, feelings of hopelessness, loneliness and generally being unhappy with a lot of things. All of these symptoms have effected me in one way or another.
I’ve struggled with:
- Getting out of bed to attend lectures/meeting friends/making plans
- Waking up and feeling positive
- Being happy in general
- Over-eating habits
- Drug abuse
- Lack of motivation
- Respect for myself
- Balancing my emotions
- Feeling incredibly lonely even though realistically I’m never alone
And to be honest, this is just a short list of many more problems I’ve encountered. Social anxiety ties in with all of this in a way. By smoking too much and over-eating was a coping-mechanism for me whilst I dealt with the, what felt like, never-ending stages of loneliness and unhappiness in my life. The fear of just stepping one foot out of my flat and the worry of strangers in the street judging me absolutely terrified me. I was left each day feeling drained and fed up with what I had let myself get to. Oh, and the blame! I put it all on myself.
“Why had I let myself go like this?”
“No one would ever want me.”
“I absolutely hate myself.”
“I’m single because I’m unappealing to the eye.”
The lack of self-love and self-respect I had for myself left me at such a low. I felt like nobody truly enjoyed my presence, I didn’t have a purpose whatsoever, everything I did was wrong, I was likely to die alone and own 3 cats – you know, typical negative connotations of my life. Self-love and self-respect are the key parts of what makes someone with depression feel whole again. Now, I’m not saying that I have completely conquered my mental disorder, but I’m slowly starting to heal and I’m more aware of my emotions and how to control them. If I have days where I just want to lounge about in bed, I have to be strict with myself if I have priorities. Sure, I still have my bad days, but who doesn’t? Life is hard and a lot of obstacles get in the way of our success, but where does success come from if we don’t make mistakes and hard decisions along the way?
I try to find happiness in those around me and accomplishments that I make – even the easy, day-to-day stuff. For instance, just doing my washing! Sounds bizarre, right? Having clean clothes is easy to do, but for some this can be such a draining, frustrating task if all you want to do is lay in bed, cry and pity yourself. This is why I want to get back into writing; to let my creativity flow and give myself a stepping stone to recovery. I recommend for anyone who is struggling to try to find a therapeutic way of dealing with their frustration, anger, loneliness etc. Drawing, sketching – anything artsy is always a good first step. Audiotapes, relaxation music and meditation helps too – it helps me a lot. Perhaps playing an old instrument you haven’t touched in years or singing. Having positive, understanding people in your life is a must too. I’ve had to detach myself from people who make me weaker, who do no good for me except question myself. Sometimes you just have to be selfish and do what is right for you and nobody could fault you for that. And if they do, then they are not worth your time. Trust me. Sometimes even escaping reality for a while is perfect for the bad days. Don’t be afraid to go on day trips or weekends away – just, again, make sure you surround yourself with people who make you feel secure and don’t be afraid to speak out. Help is out there and sometimes it can be right in front of you; a family member or a friend or even your next door neighbor!
All I can really say to someone if they are battling a mental disorder is, be kind to yourself. You are not to blame and it is going to be OK. The world is a funny place and all you have to do is to live. Breathe. Just do what makes you happy. I struggle with all the negativity that consumes me, but I’m still here; I’m still pushing through my struggles. And you’re never alone, even though you may feel like the loneliest person on the planet. You’re not. You are beautiful and special and just need to find yourself again. After all, you never know what is waiting for you around the corner!
That’s it for now.
Love to all!