How it all starts?
We all are born as full-of-life babies. We laugh, smile, cry when it hurts or when we are hungry and again bloom into laughter at almost nothing. But as we grow up, our life changes. Lifestyle becomes demanding, society becomes demanding, we need to make so many people happy and be successful at the same time. All these factors lead to stress which triggers mental illnesses like depression, anxiety or personality disorder.
I faced the same.
I was born a wild child- scared of nothing, full of confidence. I was trained to be a singer and performed at every school event without any stage fright. I was known to be extremely talkative to close people. I always grew up in a modern environment provided by my family but in a small town. For my secondary schooling I moved to a metro and there I faced some bullying kids at my new school. I was made fun off for my ungroomed features or my English accent. I realized what “stress” is for the first time. Stage fright had got to me already.
Years passed with me being a quieter child, I completed college and moved to a bigger city for a job. I met the wrong person at the wrong time and a wrong relationship was formed. I experienced domestic violence which was the trigger for my depression and anxiety which I am still fighting. It started with me being not getting off the bed to work ( depression symptom), putting on too much makeup to hide bruises, acting overly happy to hide my situation. I would always think what if people are already figuring out about it. I became less social. I would be scared to go home and get panic attacks (puking and stomach cramps) fearing any abusive activity. I even felt like ending my life on many occasions as an escape from the mental turmoil that I was going through. I definitely loved my life but I had given up any hopes of change. I assumed it was a never-ending situation; rather my depression convinced me to believe that. It actually went on, but for two years.
With a lot of courage, I came out of the relationship but the depression kept haunting me. I got a new job. But still couldn’t drive me out to work on time.. I would get frequent anxiety attacks which made me yell at my loved ones too. I realized that I have been messing with my professional life and distancing myself from all friends and family.
I was sad and guilty and I would stay up all night, screaming and crying and then sleep off calmly. ( depression outbursts)
So what did I do about it?
I underwent therapy finally. Therapy helps but only when combined with healthy social behavior. I started meeting new people, bonding with friends whom I lost in the process of finding myself again. The major change that I made in my lifestyle was fitness. I started reading about fitness and diet. I devoted myself to feeding and building my body. I have developed severe sleep disorder over the years and working out makes my body tired and sleepy. I track my body’s progress and that makes me feel great. It boosted my self-esteem as well. It was almost like I restarted my life when I started working out.
I worked on my personality as well. I started taking care of myself better and developed a tasteful lifestyle.
I stay away from negative people. I sense any negativity, I avoid the scenario. I still have baits of anxiety and depression. But the thing is this new me is stronger now. I know when I am getting an anxiety attack and I reach out for help. I know when I am depressed and I say it out aloud to people who care so that they can motivate me to get out of bed. This new version of me is also luckier now to have a family and a caring partner.
What I feel can change things for people suffering from depression and anxiety?
It is important for families and partners of depressed or anxious people to understand the difference between anxiety and depression. Therapy, healthy lifestyle and lot of love can heal extreme cases of mental sickness. Some people think if a person is taking medicines for the depression then that’s it. Depressed people are extremely sensitive and cannot handle negative behavior from anyone including family. Taunts, sarcasm regarding personal life or failures should be avoided.
Another thing that needs to be addressed is the feeling of guilt in patients.I have felt guilty throughout and I feel guilty even now when I think how my anxiety attacks or depression must have hurt the feelings or disappointed my loved ones. My family took quite some time to understand anxiety. Initially, they would get upset at my attacks and would think I am just being arrogant. But I am glad they understand it now and I can talk it out to them. They still don’t understand depression but I hope they will someday.
I still take medication to sleep peacefully. Even the slightest change in my room like the color of curtains can impact my sleep. Some nights anxiety doesn’t let me sleep. All thoughts crowd my head leaving no space for sleep. I try to talk someone I love at that point to distract myself and sleep off and worst case scenario a medicine.
I also practice aromatherapy and recently started practicing breathing techniques to calm anxiety and induce sleep. I am self-aware and that helps me. I hope God gives strength to those who are suffering and my story makes them feel that they are not alone and we can all do it together. You will find people who will say things like “oh she is always depressed! Oh she is such a drama queen!” and roll eyes. But genuine friends and family always stick to you and will help you survive these little demons too.