Trigger Warning// Self-harm & Depression.
“My name is Sara. I’m 23 years old and I suffer from social anxiety, general anxiety disorder, and depression,” I typed into the Twitter text box, then paused. Should I be so open about my mental illnesses? I have always been shamed about it, or told to be quiet.
It is hard to talk about mental illnesses. Some people can be quite accepting and helpful when we tell them; for others, it is a different story.
When I was 19 years old, I decided to finally ask my doctor about my anxiety and depression. For years, I just thought I was over sensitive and sad. I was always told to ‘just get over it’. Well, I figured if it hasn’t gone away in 7 years, there must be a problem.
I talked to my doctor and she prescribed me a generic version of Zoloft. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office trying to explain my depression and anxiety to her. It was hard trying to open up to someone. Especially someone I’m not really close to. It honestly made me tear up. After the appointment, I felt better though. I felt like I was actually making an effort to control my illness.
At this point in life, I was still living with my mom. Little did I know, I forgot my pharmacy called my mom’s house phone once the prescription was ready. She knew I had just picked up my birth control the other day so she knew it was something else. She asked me what it was, and I told her it was medication for my anxiety and depression. What she said still hurts till this day, honestly. “You’re too young to have depression. What problems do you have?”
It hurt a lot knowing that even my own mother refused to acknowledge my problems. I wanted to get help, but at this point I felt stupid for asking for help. Asking for help is hard sometimes.
I wanted to go see a therapist, to see if that would help me. But, living with my mom still, I was unsure where to look. What places would take my insurance? Would my mom find out and get mad at me again?
I stayed on the Zoloft for about a year until I tried to convince myself I didn’t need antidepressants, because people made me feel bad for using them. I was even involved with a guy who told me I didn’t need them, because ‘you can heal depression naturally’. Ok.
So I stopped taking the pills. Did I get better? Of course not.
It seemed to just get worse. I ended a not-so-great relationship. I never felt good enough, I hated myself, and he cheated on me, which lead me to self-harm because I never felt good enough. I hate the feeling of not feeling like enough for someone. After ending the relationship, things got somewhat better. I then moved, and homesickness got to me. I moved three hours away from home to pursue my college degree. I felt lonely because I didn’t have many friends for a while when I first moved here. I was lonely, exhausted, and homesick. I didn’t get out much.
This past winter, seasonal depression hit me hard. I failed a class the previous Fall semester, I hated what I was majoring in, and other emotions. I had no motivation to do anything over Christmas Break, I didn’t have much money to my name, and I couldn’t buy many Christmas gifts for my loved ones. I spent most of Winter taking long naps in my comfy bed. I didn’t want to leave home. Self-harm happened some days.
This past March, I finally saw a therapist. I found a doctor in my new town that took my insurance, and a therapist who worked on site at the doctor’s office as well. My new doctor tested some new antidepressants on me. I am now currently on 20 mg of Lexapro, which has helped me out a ton. I started seeing the therapist, and it was very hard at first to talk to someone I didn’t even know, about my problems.
In no means am I cured of my depression, anxiety or social anxiety, but I’m trying every day.
Depression is hard. It doesn’t just go away. It’s hard to wake up, it’s hard to get out of bed, it’s hard to have any motivation. I felt this way for years, I get it. I guess the whole point of this post is to end the stigma. We shouldn’t have to hide the fact or acted ashamed because we have depression. Over 3 million people worldwide suffer from depression. You can be a teenager, young adult, or even older and suffer from this disease. I’m not “proud” or anything that I have depression, but I want people to know they are not alone. If one person talks about it, it can be easier for the next person. It could even encourage said person to seek help, if they are too afraid to.
Talking about our problems can help. It was hard for me at first to talk about my depression to anyone, but it shouldn’t have to be.