My Anxiety & Depression

Today I was having a ‘down’ day: I’ve been having a lot of those lately. I think, for me, the worst thing is the thought of ever going back to that dark place I once found myself in.

Slowly, but surely, I lost myself. I’m currently doing everything in my power to find myself again and feel like the girl I once was. When I was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety – I genuinely did not think I would ever escape it (I still don’t know if I ever will). In saying this, I have found ways to combat it and try and live with it as much as I can. I have good days; and bad days. When I’m having a ‘good’ day, it’s almost as though it’s too good to be true. And then the bad day comes down on me like a ton of bricks. Like today.

The thoughts. The overpowering oppressive thoughts are there constantly like a shadow in the sun. They never leave me; they never fade. It’s a case of me battling and fighting them every day, without fail, inside my head. It’s exhausting: I’m exhausted. It drains the life out of you.

Nowadays, on social media, I see constant claims of people suffering from Anxiety, Depression and the like. It’s crazy. In this day and age, why is this happening? Why are we all falling apart? I want to talk in detail about some of the ways that I have tried to overcome my Depression and Anxiety – and some of the things that have helped. If I can help at least one person then I will be very glad.

Medication: This may not be for everyone, I am fully aware of this, it wasn’t for me either at first. But I needed it. I tried to come off it once and I realized just how much it was helping. It won’t be forever – but for the foreseeable – it is a baby step to help me get through day-to-day life. I’ve been on anti-depressants for well over half a year now. My doze has been put up twice and I guess I do rely on it most days. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t. I’m a 19 year old girl – why has it come to this? I always ask myself. I just need to keep reminding myself that I’m better off with it for just now and that it will not be forever.

Exercising/Going to the Gym: Exercise is the most potent and underutilized anti-depressant. When I go to the gym – I let my mind run free – I work up a sweat and I try so hard to just embrace the moment and let it all out. It really does help. It was my counsellor that advised me to start going to the gym: I was too nervous – I’d never worked out before. She coaxed me in to it and even came along to my induction until I started going with a friend. I am so glad that I joined the gym; I’ve found somewhere that I can go and just let it all out. It’s a hobby now too – and therapy.
Psychology/Counselling: This was something I was extremely tentative about going to. My doctor referred me and I just never thought that my mental health was this seriously needing help – but it did. Going to these sessions at first was the most nerve-racking thing ever. After a while, I got used to going, I looked forward to going. It was a place I could go and be myself, speak freely without being judged and I was praised and encouraged weekly for the smallest insignificant things that I had managed to do that week. These sessions have helped so much. I would recommend to anyone who is suffering from Depression, Anxiety or any other mental health issue to ask their doctor if they can be referred. It might just be the best thing you ever do. I am no longer at Psychology as my psychologist has moved on elsewhere now but I still attend counselling every few weeks and do the exact same thing to try and continue the progress that I was making with Julia, my psychologist.
Seeking Help: I suffered in silence for far too long. I always kept a journal and that was the only place I ever admitted that I wasn’t ok. After 6 months or so, maybe even more, of not leaving the house and feeling constantly down and beating myself up – my friend noticed, my boyfriend noticed and my parents noticed and so I was coaxed into going to the doctors. Thank you so much to these people for being there for me and making me go as it was the right thing to do – I just wish I had done it sooner,

Surrounding yourself with the right people: When you go through something as difficult as this; you realise who your true friends are. I had a ‘close friend’ publicly humiliate me on social media for suffering with Depression and trying to be open and speak out about it through my blog (just like I am now) and that set me back and hurt me more than words could ever explain. I had someone question why I smile in photos if I suffer from Depression (totally ridiculous, I actually wrote a blog post in response to this way back at the time). I am fortunate enough, now, to have a small group of the most wonderful, supportive and encouraging friends, a wonderful boyfriend, an incredible family AND the most magnificent blogging community which I am blessed to be a part of. Each of these people have been a very huge part in my recovery – without these people I would never have made any progress. I am indebted to you all – and you know who you are.

There are some other ways that I try and overcome my Depression and Anxiety but this post is getting rather long and so I may do a follow up (a part 2) of this post soon. I just want to say that I don’t think I will ever get rid of my Depression or my Anxiety – it’s too severe. My goal is to learn to live with it and try my very best not to let it control my life – the way I let it before. I will keep going to the gym, I will keep blogging and writing to my hearts content, I will continue to be the best friend, daughter, girlfriend etc that I can be and I just hope that in time I can learn to love myself.

I don’t want to hate myself every day. I don’t want to feel inferior. I no longer want to live my life like this. But by opening up, I pray that someone can relate to me and take some comfort from my words, and this alone would bring me great joy.

Until next time
Charlene McElhinney

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