I don’t even know how to start this blog post. It’s been so long, and my blogging muscles have lost their strength. The words used to flow through me at an unbearably fast rate, that I had no other choice but to type it out. To express myself. To share with the world my own inner monologues.
But the past 6 months have turned out to be quite the opposite. I’ve turned inward due to my own internal battles, and I’ve lost the drive to move through my pain with writing. Perhaps that’s part of the reason this healing process has been so damn difficult. I’m my own worst enemy.
I don’t want to go into too many details, partly because I don’t even know where to start. The important notion I want to get across is that I indeed struggle with intense anxiety and depression, and I’m writing so candidly about this right now because I think this is an important story to tell.
Throughout college I’ve had difficult months and moments, but never with as much force as I’ve experienced this summer. For weeks I was spending every moment with either my partner or my family, far too scared to be alone. It was difficult for me to be around friends because I was far too ashamed to be as honest with my pain as I needed to be. I had this desperate need to isolate myself from my community, yet every time I did, it worsened my anxiety attacks and depressive episodes.
I was sucking the life out of important relationships in my life because of how incredibly needy and lost I had become. It felt like every morning when I’d wake up and step out of my bed, my legs would go weak and I’d have to require someone else to hold my body and head up all day just to get through. My dependence for others was entirely unsustainable and insufficient because even in a room full of people I loved and who loved me in return, I had this heavy depression that pulled me down with what felt like the weight of the world. I constantly avoided eye contact with strangers, feeling entirely incapable of making any form of small talk.
The anxiety attacks occurred multiple times a day. I would vomit nearly every time, and was barely able to keep any food down. I lost 15 pounds. It took so much energy out of me to even get up and shower. I stopped showing up to work. I became a shadow of the person I thought I was.
I was in constant contact with my doctor, unsure of whether or not to go on medication or to check myself into an out patient mental health program. We were at a loss for what to do. It came to a head one day when I decided that I could not live like this any longer. I made an emergency appointment with my doctor, and she prescribed me anti-depression medication. It took a lot for me to get to that point. For so long, I was deathly afraid of taking medication. I didn’t want to become dependent. I didn’t want it to change my personality. I convinced myself every morning that I could get through this without it.
I took the medication immediately and felt a wave of relief wash over me. Then the terror kicked in. For people under the age of 25, there’s a higher chance anti-depression medication will actually worsen symptoms. Sometimes people even become suicidal and far more depressed than when they had been medication-free. I was terrified to start this process, but I didn’t know where else to turn.
That first night on medication I barely slept. My thoughts turned far darker than before, and I was restless and uncomfortable for hours. At around 4 am, I heard this voice in my head. It was my own. Do not take this medication. This is not right for you. There’s another way.
The next morning I woke up next to my mother, just like I had for weeks, and told her I couldn’t go through with it. I couldn’t continue with the anti-depression medication because I just had this gut feeling it was not the right fit for me. She trusted my instinct, and I called my doctor.
Now don’t get me wrong… Medication can save lives, and it is the best option for so many people in this world. I do not shame anyone who uses anti-depressants by any means. I just knew that it was not the right path for me.
From then on, I decided to just take it step by step. Moment by moment. Day by day. I started meditating again. Praying. Attending Kundalini yoga & deep gong meditation classes. I reached out to a practitioner, started reading spiritual texts, and did everything I could to stay in the moment.
It’s been some time since then, and I am happy to say that I can be alone once again. I’m alone right now, sitting in my new apartment as I write this blog post. I still feel uneasy, and the anxiety comes and goes. I get in my head and worry if I’ll ever feel happiness again. I feel aches and pains in my body and immediately jump to the conclusion that I have some health crisis looming over me. I’m still struggling.
But I feel more at peace than I did a month ago. I feel like I have tools and resources to reach out to. I feel like I can get past this. I also have this deep sense that what I’m learning right now in my life is leading me exactly where I’m meant to go. I’m doing all I can to tap into that Trust every day.
For anyone reading this who can share in my experience, please know this: You are not alone. You have survived 100% of your worst days, and you will survive today. Keep moving forward… No matter how small the steps may seem.