One thing I am not ashamed of doing is asking for help when I know that I need it. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for the last five years and I’ve done many things on my own to cope. After my first experience with severe depression back in college, I feel as though I have done my best ever since to be as proactive as possible. I am determined to never go back to that dark, dark place again. When I say proactive, I mean that I do my best to stay busy, as I have learned that when I have too much time on my hands, my mind wanders. I also try to surround myself with positivity. I follow inspirational people on social media, I read affirmations every morning, I listen to personal development audiobooks, and I pray constantly throughout the day. I paint, workout, read, spend time with my pets, etc. I really do try. While all of these things do help, there are still certain things I have yet to be able to control on my own.
My mind is always racing, and I worry most of the time- about anything and everything. Certain things give me extreme anxiety, such as my job (I’m working on changing this), driving and worrying about loved ones. There are lots of times where I just feel nervous and anxious for no apparent reason. I feel as though I have gotten to the point where worrying and nervousness is my natural state. It is hard for me to think of a time where I feel calm or at peace.
Depression is something I feel like I have a better handle on, but it is still there. While my husband was deployed a few months ago, it was the first time that I felt very similar to that dark time I had in college. When I say dark time, I mean dark as in I can barely even remember that time because it was a blur. I was like an empty vessel, and it got to the point where I stopped going to class and hid out in my dorm for months. I eventually got so scared of how I felt that I went to the hospital, and eventually got help from a counselor at school. I came out of the depression, but I have definitely never been the same since. So while my husband was away, I think all the time alone allowed me to let all of my worries and anxieties get the best of me. I was able to get up and go to work everyday, but that was pretty much it. I’ll admit this is slightly better than last time, because before I could not even muster up the strength to get out of bed. But when I wasn’t at work, I was home, in bed or on the couch, with no motivation to do anything at all.
Our dogs are what got me up everyday, if I am being honest. I knew that they needed me to love them and take care of them. So thats what I did. On most days, they were the only things that could bring a smile to my face. It was a hard few months and when my husband came home, I didn’t miraculously jump out of being depressed. This is contrary to popular belief of those around me. Most people automatically attribute my depression to my husband being away. Was I worried about him and did I miss him terribly? Absolutely. But we’ve been married for four years and he’s been in the army for six years, so him leaving is not new to me. It definitely plays a role but it is not the reason for my anxiety or depression.
Nonetheless, after he got home, it was so good to have him home. He also does not let me lay in bed and wallow. He keeps me busy which I have learned from experience makes a difference. But, there are still so many times throughout the day where I feel this immense, unexplainable sadness. I have very little motivation and a lot of the times I feel hopeless. Sometimes I hate myself. These awful feelings come out of nowhere sometimes. No matter how busy I am, the sadness lingers in the background always threatening to pull me in.
So, I decided to make an appointment to see a doctor. Today was my initial appointment and I think it went well. The doctor was nice and personable. I felt comfortable speaking to him. He stated that he thinks I have Generalized Anxiety and Major Depressive Disorder that is recurrent. (These terms make me queasy). He did prescribe me some medications to help with my anxiety, depression and also something to help me sleep. Of course, I came home and Google’d the medications with their reviews and side effects and nearly talked myself out of it. Lol. But, he started me on low doses and the potential positive effects they can have for me is what I want to focus on.
While not everyone may understand or agree with the step I took today, I am glad I finally did. I know in my heart that I need help. I have tried and continue to try whatever I can do on my part. Even so, I am not where I want to be (yet) in my mental health. In all truth, I am nothing without it, so I need to take care of myself so that I can really live my life to the fullest. I want to have peace in my mind & heart, to be present and enjoy all of the blessings around me everyday. I am ready to leave the constant worry and sadness behind.
Please, do not ever be ashamed to ask for help. I am not saying medication is the answer. But reaching out for help often times is what makes all of the difference. Even if its just talking to a loved one, a counselor or a psychiatrist- reach out. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. You are not alone and there is hope.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress!