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Over the past six years, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety. Initially, I was unwilling to get help. Even when I decided to do so, it was a while before I took recovery seriously. I tried to cope with my feelings in unhealthy ways, like purging or cutting. These techniques made me feel better temporarily, but in the long term every harmful action only deepened my mental issues.
It took me a while to open up about what was happening to my parents. My family is incredibly supportive and stood alongside me every step of the way- but I wasn’t willing to accept their help at first. I wasn’t open with my doctors and therapists. My depression, anxiety, and unhealthy coping skills had become part of my identity and I didn’t know how to function without them.
My biggest turning point happened when I was driving in car with my mother. At this point, I was barely in school and enough of a risk that my mom constantly needed to be attending to me. She essentially had to monitor me 24/7, making it difficult to manage a social life, a marriage, and being a mom to two other kids. I didn’t appreciate how much she sacrificed for me and how patient and tolerant she was. While we were in the car, I started complaining about something, and in a moment of anger she turned to me and said “You are ruining my life.”
I resented this comment because while I was depressed and dealing with anxiety, I put my needs before the needs of other people. I didn’t realize how difficult this was for everyone else in my life. For a while her words haunted me and I decided to internalize my feelings further and manage my depression in more harmful ways. I felt like I was a burden on my family and that I could fix my problems on my own.
It took me a long time, but eventually I was able to reflect on what my mother said and see that I was truly affecting the life of my family when I acted out, made unhealthy choices, and expected them to cater to me. Even though her words hurt at the time, I was able to see them as an outburst in a moment of frustration from being overloaded with responsibilities. I realized that if I wanted to get better and stop affecting my family members’ lives so much, I needed to stop coping through pain and expecting other people to deal with the consequences. It made me take recovery seriously and become honest and open with my support network.
Now, I occasionally struggle to deal with anxiety and short-term periods of depression when I’m stressed and overwhelmed. However, I couldn’t be happier with where I am now in life. I’m going to a university that I love next fall. My relationship with my family is strong, I have great friends, and my mental health is much better. I no longer need to take medication and I’m much better at self care.
Be honest with your support system! It makes a big difference. Know that you are not alone and that there are many different resources you can use to begin your journey to recovery.
Over the past six years, I've struggled with depression and anxiety. Initially, I was unwilling to get help, and even when I decided to do so, it was a while before I took recovery seriously.
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