I know I cannot complain….. people have it a lot worse than me. I was able to get rid of my mental health issues after being cured of Parathyroid Disease, but I struggled my whole high school and half of my college years. Everyday I struggled with really bad anxiety and depression. I went from hyperventilating and feeling like I was going to pass out to not caring at all and just staring at the ceiling. Mental health problems are unfortunately something people like to joke about. I was one of the lucky ones who was able to lose this heavy baggage in the operating room. However, many people struggle with mental health problems every day. I want to share my story and ways that I coped to hopefully help someone going through these tough situations.
It is okay to get help.
On top of the already bad anxiety, I also developed PTSD after a really bad accident I was in my freshman year of college. I was in a bus accident on my way back to school, but escaped with only a concussion. Sometimes I still hear the screams of my classmates that were on the bus as well. I did not want to look weak, so I did not want to get help. However, my parents forced me to go to counseling and it really helped. If you need to seek help, DO NOT BE ASHAMED. You are not alone and people WANT to help you!
Surround yourself with family.
When you are depressed, you do not want to talk with anyone, go out, or even think about social interaction. In some cases, it is okay to take some you time. However, it is important to surround yourself with those you love as well. I am so so blessed to have the family that I have. They forced me out of my room, and came just to sit with me when I was going through tough nights. Yes, four to seven hour drives.
Surround yourself with the word.
A retreat I went on with XA in North Carolina right in the middle of the worst semester. It was truly a blessing to go!
People would say let go and let God. I am a christian and completely agree with this, except having anxiety and depression make this really hard. My grandmother gave me a plastic eagle and bible verse before she passed away that had Isaiah 40:31 on it.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
This verse has gotten me through the hardest of times, and although I felt paralyzed in my bed sometimes, I could look at the verse on my wall and realize that everything would be alright.
People won’t understand…. but that’s okay.
The week after I left college for my mental break, we left for Tampa for my next surgery. It was around this time that I found out my coworkers were upset with me.
When I was going through the worst part of my depression and anxiety, I had to leave school a week before our Thanksgiving break. My boss completely understood, but my coworkers thought I was being unfair to them by leaving early. Even when I told them what I was going through, they were still upset. In this situation, you cannot feel bad about yourself. You know that what you did was what was best for your situation.
Take time for yourself.
Sometimes you can’t tell what’s going on behind a smile.
Only you know you. If you need a break, take one. That is the reason I took a week off my sophomore year. It isn’t giving up, it’s giving you time to get better. If that means taking a whole semester off to reflect, do it. You need to do what is best for you, because no one is more important than you.
Although it feels like it, you are not alone.
Because I love musical theater, here is a song for you that totally embodies this point. (From Dear Evan Hansen)
Having anxiety or depression makes you feel lonely, and like no one cares. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many people out there struggling with their mental health. You are not alone at all. There is always someone out there ready to listen….. who want to listen. You are worth more than diamonds, and don’t think anything less of yourself.
It is okay to say no.
I’ve said no a lot lately to things I knew would later bring me anxiety. This is something I highly reccommend because you also feel you regain control of your life instead of having it always be determined by others.
Cut toxic things out.
I have cut things and organizations out of my life that have given me even more anxiety this semester to focus on me, and it is the best decision I made this year. If those things make you happy stay! That’s not what I am saying at all. However, for me I had a lot of toxic things going on that I needed to rid myself from. I also decided that Twitter wasn’t good for me right now. I will be back after college (after a major cleanout), but I found myself focusing too much on Twitter and the negative things I saw on there that it wasn’t good for me at all, so I haven’t been on but once this entire semester and it has honestly been great for me.
This was something that was really tough for me to write about. It is hard to admit if you have a problem like this. If you are going through something that is weighing you down, talk to someone. There is no shame in talking through it and asking for help.