“In light there is darkness, and in darkness there is light.” ~ Beautiful Chaos
When I was younger, I never thought that depression or anxiety would become a part of my life. I thought that I had a good life, which is still true, but I never foresaw having anxiety attacks or becoming depressed. At that age, I was still under the illusion that mental health was something I needn’t worry about. As I got older and stress became a running life theme, I quickly realized how wrong I had been.
It’s Nothing to be Ashamed Of
There is no reason to feel any humiliation or embarrassment about these issues. They happen to more people than you think. Each case is different. Some people feel depression or anxiety about certain things happening in their lives or things that trigger these reactions and emotions.
I was a junior in college when I had my first anxiety attack. I had a big Shakespeare final the next day and my boyfriend and I had been fighting. I didn’t feel stressed, but I was internalizing a lot of emotions which led to my attack. I tried going to sleep that night, but I only tossed and turned. My mind was blurring from one thought to the next. My heart was racing so fast that when I put my hand over my heart to catch a pulse I felt nothing. In my sleepy and panicked state, I had thought for a moment that I had died. It was the scariest thing I have ever experienced. My entire body felt heavy, like I was swimming in concrete, and every movement felt labored.
I finally fell asleep after hours of lying in bed. The next morning I wasn’t sure whether I had dreamed it, but my body felt off and I was exhausted.
Talk to Someone
I called my mother and told her what happened. She informed me that it was probably an anxiety attack and when I looked up symptoms on the Internet, it became clear that I had experienced one. I didn’t talk to anyone else about my attacks. At the time, I hadn’t thought they were common and I didn’t want to tell my friends about them. I felt silly and I thought it was something I should keep to myself.
Over time, I was able to talk about it because at times of high stress the attacks became frequent, sometimes happening two nights in a row. They are very scary and very real, but talking to someone can help release some of those fears or anxieties that we have kept inside. My attacks stem from stress, sometimes even from things I haven’t realized are bothering me.
Depression came later. As I entered my senior year of college and realized how close the job world was, I started to panic. I became depressed as I applied to handfuls of jobs and heard nothing back from companies. After graduation, my friends started to get jobs and I was still unemployed, furthering my depression and anxiety. There are good and bad days. Days where I feel like a failure for not having a job and days where I’m okay with knowing I’m actively looking and I’ll find something when the time is right. It’s a constant battle between content and upset, but it’s getting better.
You Are Not Alone
As I mentioned earlier, there are so many people who suffer from depression and anxiety. In my case, I don’t suffer from chronic depression or anxiety. I feel it when I’m overwhelmed or maxed out emotionally, but I turn to friends, family, and doctors for help when things become too much inside of me.
Don’t be afraid of reaching out to loved ones or professionals for help. If you are uncomfortable doing so, try to make a list of different activities that can help calm and relax you during those times. Having the right tools can make a world of difference.
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