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Many of us have a hard time pinpointing the moment we realized we weren’t feeling like ourselves. We struggle to determine the time in our lives when depression or anxiety started. I think we have an idea, but I think some of us dismiss our own behavior as typical.
Below is Meredith’s story. She even says that labeled herself as a typical teen, but now realizes that her behavior wasn’t very typical at all.
Depression for me started at a rather young age, it was probably when I was about 12 or 13 years old, however, I wasn’t actually aware that I had it. My parents thought I was just a “moody teen” and I of course gave them the “well, you just don’t understand me, mom and dad”. I had an very negative outlook on life and while sports and friends helped me through high school, when college hit, it all went down hill from there.
I was a freshman in college and I was really lonely my first quarter of school. I felt like no one was like me. They wanted to drink and party all the time and I wanted to do more than that. So instead of try to seek help, I went to food and I ended up gaining 50+ pounds. I would eat entire cartons of Ben and Jerry’s in one sitting multiple times a week. I would eat grilled cheese, fries, chicken tenders, pizza, etc. hoping to mask the pain. I remember crying almost every night because I hated my school and I just wanted to hide because I’d never fit in.
My depression took a real turn for the worst when I was a junior in college. I remember one Saturday it was gorgeous out: sun shining, 70 degrees, a perfect day to go out and enjoy the city. However, I just couldn’t get up. I physically would not get out of my bed. I was so drained emotionally and I just didn’t want to do anything and enjoy life. My boyfriend (now husband) tried to get me up time and time again, but i just laid there and did nothing, feeling sorry for myself.
One night I got into an argument with a friend and I got really upset. I then texted a few friends and told them that I wasn’t worthy anymore and I was going to commit suicide by walking in front of a train. I was miserable. One of my friends called the school safety and in the middle of the night they came and got me and took me to the hospital for my own safety. I was admitted into the psych ward in the hospital and it was a real eye opening experience.
I scared my boyfriend, my friends and my family. It was cold, dark and scary there. I prayed real hard for a day to let me go home and I would seek help. I talked with the psychologist at the hospital, who also talked with my psychologist at home and they decided to finally release me. My parents took me home; I remember them being so rattled by this experience and I promised them that I love myself too much to go through with it and it was time to change.
From there I went into intense therapy and I went on medication. I realized that I did not want to live life that way anymore and I worked hard day in and day out to become happier.
Depression has luckily not really crept back into my life too much, but anxiety has recently surfaced. Last holiday season, I took a pre-workout supplement and it caused anxiety to rise and I freaked out about my heart. I was literally paralyzed on my couch for a month. I was afraid to move, afraid to do anything and was convinced I would die of a heart issue. I had heart palpitations and chest pains – I had worrying thoughts. I got multiple tests done and all came out normal, but that wasn’t enough. I talked to a few friends who have anxiety and they told me this won’t be forever. I knew what I had to do. I went into intense cognitive therapy, back on medication, started yoga, meditation and even got back into exercising (as i had been for months). I would also journal my thoughts no matter how awful they may have been. I had an eye opening moment in January where I read a booked called “Feeling Good” by David burns. He mentioned that it’s always your choice how you react and feel. This honestly turned my thinking around a full 180 and helped me get through this part of my life. I continued to work really hard for months and I finally moved past it and I feel better than ever. I live in the present and am grateful everyday.
I think one other note people don’t always realize is how mental health issues affect the people who are close to you in life. Looking back, I lashed out/hurt the people I loved most in my life and I have since apologized for my actions, not because they wanted me to but because I felt that was the right thing to do as they stood by me. My husband has been with me through my lowest of lows and has never left my side. This is how I knew that I wanted to marry him. My parents have continued to love me regardless and the friends who talk with me about my issues and are there for me anytime of day are the people who mean the most. When I realized how hurt those people were by my mental health, it was a real eye opener and I didn’t want them to feel that way. It helped me work even harder and now we’re all happy.