This may be triggering for its mention and description of anxiety and depression.
My mental health journey started when I was 19 years old. I had just returned to college for my sophomore year and experienced a panic attack that sent me to the emergency room. I had never been aware of mental illness of any kind, so this experience really frightened me and my parents.
During my first emergency room visit I was prescribed Xanax in case I was faced with another panic attack and told to visit my primary care physician. When I visited the doctor, my Mom accompanied me and expressed to the doctor how surprising something like this was as I was always a happy, healthy, outgoing child.
By the time I visited the psychiatrist, I had experienced a few more events of extreme anxiety or near panic attacks. As my second year of college became more stressful it became apparent that I was suffering from some serious anxiety. I was experiencing many physical symptoms and my bright personality seemed to fade. With the help of the doctor I decided to start taking an anti-depressant. This helped me in many ways, but over the years I’ve really grown to have a love-hate relationship with anxiety and depression medication.
Over the next few years my life remained hectic… I was rushed to the ER many times for extreme panic attacks, I visited a cardiologist to rule out heart conditions, an endocrinologist, was put on a vegan diet, the list goes on! Eight years after my first panic attack I am still struggling with depression and anxiety. I very rarely experience panic attacks as I now recognize the symptoms and have learned to control my body. I’m still learning how to properly cope with the past, live today to the fullest, and be positive about the future.
My hope is that our culture will stop stigmatizing mental illness and treating it like other diseases. Counseling and medication should be readily available to those who need it. We need to work together to create an open dialogue and be kind to each other.