Real Talk: Anxiety & Depression
THE REAL TALK SERIES DIVES RIGHT INTO THE HEART OF THOSE HEAVY TOPICS THAT PEOPLE DON'T ALWAYS TALK ABOUT.
This is the very first post in my new series. I've been working on this particular one since January 2017. It's not easy to talk about heavy topics that people choose to ignore to find not as important, but I see that society is moving toward being more open and frank about such topics and that's why I'm ready to share my own experiences. Maybe you'll be able to relate or maybe someone you know will. If you remember only one thing from this series: you are not alone.
Almost everyone I know has anxiety to some degree, and some of my friends and family have depression. Neither are picky when it comes to who they latch onto. Their presence has grown in the recent years I'm sure in part because of the digital world we live in and in part because of society's perceptions and perceived standards.
I've never openly talked about my own anxiety because I'm aware my anxiety is not as bad as some people's. As far as depression goes, I've been told I don't truly know what it's like to have depression, so therefore I have no right to say I have it. No, I've never been diagnosed with depression or anxiety for that matter, but I know I have anxiety and I know I have had bouts of depression.
When I was a senior in high school, I felt depressed in a way I'd never felt before. There were a lot of changes going on at home and as far as school went, I didn't care much about my studies or classes because I refused to accept the fact I was not the top of my class. I had moved to a new school my sophomore year and I thought I would be able to stand out like I had at my old school. I more or less blended in and realized 95 percent of my peers were just like me, only smarter. I beat myself up a lot especially when the time came to apply to college. My test scores weren't as high as my peers and I knew my chances of getting into an Ivy League or second-tier school were not possible. Because I felt like a failure, I slacked off in my academics because in my mind, I wasn't going to be the best, so why should I painstakingly study for hours just to stay behind the best? I spent a lot more time socializing because it made me happy for those moments, but I was still unhappy with myself.
Looking back, I should have talked to a therapist about my feelings because a non biased professional probably would have helped me confront my issues. Once summer rolled around and college began, life improved significantly and I fell back into loving my studies.
(For me) Anxiety is
Biting my nails.
Focusing and worrying about things out of my control.
Grinding my teeth.
Random bouts of crying because feelings and thoughts are too overwhelming.
Did I turn off the faucet?
Did I lock the doors before I left?
Thinking of worst case scenarios because if I don't then that scenario will happen.
Constantly stressing out about damn near everything it seems.
Feeling alone when I'm not.
What I do about anxiety and depression
Talk. I'm not saying it's the cure to ending anxiety and depression forever, but talking, writing, sharing those feelings with yourself or someone else is therapeutic and helps you put irrational and rational thoughts into perspective. My best friends are the ones who will answer a 3 a.m. phone call or text because I'm overwhelmed, and I do the same for them. My mom is constantly supporting me and reminding me that things will work out. My boyfriend is the person who sees me when my anxiety is in full force, and he helps calm me down.
If you're feeling stuck or want a non-biased person to talk to there are numerous free hotlines you can call and talk with a real person.
The Samaritans: (212) 673-3000
National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
Teen Line: 1-310-855-HOPE (4673) or 1-800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336)
THIS SERIES IS ABOUT GIVING EVERYONE A SAFE PLACE TO SHARE ANY EMOTIONS OR THOUGHTS BUILT UP THAT DESPERATELY NEED TO BE LET OUT.
I hope when you feel overwhelmed, you know you're not alone. I hope you have someone you can talk to when things get especially difficult, and I would be more than happy to be that person for you. Leave a comment or message me over Twitter, Facebook or Email.
I'll leave you with this video that I find especially inspiring, and while it is marketed to a younger audience than my readers, I think the message is something everyone can relate to.