depression is like an ongoing storm

Sometimes your only option is to ride it out by treading water (using whatever thought exercises you’ve got). Sometimes, it’s not a heavy storm at all and you can enjoy it or have it affect you minimally. But sometimes, it’s too intense to ride out, and you need whatever you can get to survive it. My psychiatrist was the coast guard who came to my rescue when I was drowning at sea, but only if I knew in advance I might need it. Medication on the other hand was like a life-preserver, something I had to keep me afloat even when I was too tired to keep treading water.



Being Diagnosed with Anxiety

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.



Reading to Cope

This post may be triggering for its mention and description of depression.

My depression has made me enjoy/appreciate things that, though diminishing returns is in play, I am thankful for. If it wasn’t for depression, I wouldn’t have appreciated the written word.  The written word has brought me comfort. I suspect it does for a great many people.

Because I sought it out, I have learned to appreciate it. If I didn’t have depression, while I can’t say with confidence, I feel that I wouldn’t have read as much as I do now. I love “experiencing” different worlds and ideas through reading. There’s something about reading that captivates the attention. Entering in the world through words and having your own mind construct/make sense of it is…not something that can be replaced or bested IMO. It’s the next best thing in terms of experiencing what the author is wiring short of actually being in that reality as a watcher. If the novel/book is adapted on the screen that is fabulous too but, again, it kind of falls short of what your mind “plays”.