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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Late Night Thoughts

I've been seeing a lot of things online lately surrounding mental illnesses and the stigmas against them. Being someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, these articles and pieces of information always catch my eye.

One of the biggest issues I struggle with (and I'm sure most people with these kinds of mental illnesses do as well) is feeling like no one understands what I am feeling or going through, especially in the height of my anxiety attacks or on my worst days. So many of these articles highlight how it really feels to go through these things, and most of them being super relatable make me feel like I'm not crazy or going through this alone.

As I'm sitting here (way past my bedtime), watching The Voice in bed, I was suddenly struck with the worst anxiety I have felt in a while. My heart started racing and felt like it was beating out of my chest, I got short of breath and was shaking in my bed. As I did some of the steps I usually follow to ease my anxiety, I felt it going away a little. Right as I felt like it had past, I was overcome with sadness and all the sudden couldn't stop crying.

So many people think that anxiety can only hit when something scary is happening, but when you suffer from these problems, it can come at any time (and that right there is reason enough to feel anxious). It's like a vicious cycle, getting anxious about possibly getting anxiety. I mean are you kidding me? What kind of a sick joke is that? It's like there's no escaping it, and that's one of the scariest things in the world.

I know that people experience anxiety/depression differently, but for me the worst part about an anxiety attack is feeling like you can't ever stop it. It's like you start feeling a little anxious about something and then all the sudden your mind goes one million miles an hour and starts thinking about every single bad thing that you could ever think about. From there, usually the anxiety just gets worse which makes it even harder to calm down and then knowing you can't calm down makes you anxious again. I swear to you, it feels like you will never get over it and feel better.

My depression is something I haven't really dealt with very well up until recently. I've been seeing a lot of things about how depression isn't just about being sad all the time, and that people can be depressed but still go on about their lives like nothing is wrong. This is so accurate for me. I can be in the best mood ever and be having such a great day and yet one little thing will hit me the wrong way and I get in a "slump" if you will, that I feel like I can't get out of. It's like being overly sensitive to certain things that can affect you differently than someone who doesn't suffer from depression. This makes it very difficult to live your life normally. Luckily I have great friends and an incredibly supportive family so this doesn't happen to me often, but when it does, it is so hard to try and explain to someone who doesn't truly understand.

I remember in my worst times, being scared of my own thoughts and feelings, because I didn't know how to handle them. I felt like I was feeling emotions so much stronger than ever before, and became afraid to be alone with my thoughts.

My anxiety/depression was its worst my sophomore year of college. Since then, I have found different ways to suppress these feelings (for the most part at least) and have a toolbox of things I can do if I start to feel them again. Although I have changed and grown and become way less afraid of my own feelings, there are still times (like right now) that I experience them again and remember how scary it can be.

Trying to find a way to live your life normally, while still feeling a bit like an outcast dealing with these problems, can be a very tricky balance. Although my friends and family might not completely understand how I'm feeling or what I'm going through, they are incredibly supportive and make me feel comfortable and not like I'm a freak for having these problems. On top of that, I've decided to start turning to writing to try and help me in these tough times.

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