Now, I’m fairly used to dealing with the emotional roller coaster that comes along with facing life issues. I’ve been dealing with my mom’s heart condition since I was 14, dealt with family deaths, and a number of other things in while growing up. It wasn’t until my senior year of undergrad that I started to realize a change in the emotions I was feeling and my state of mind. That wasn’t enough for me to seek help though, and I continued to try to climb out of the depths of my sadness and feelings of edginess for most of my last semester. Finally, after a bout of tears accompanied by hyperventilation and overwhelming fear (over something minor), I sought help under the advisement of one of my mentors. It was determined that I had indeed suffered an anxiety attack. At that point I was officially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder accompanied by depression.
It’s been a little over a year since my “official” diagnosis, and I find myself struggling to manage my mental health. Honestly, it seems as though the anxiety is about 10 times worse than it has ever been. I’ve been on different medications, but once you’re so used to being keyed up all of the time, it’s really difficult to function when you aren’t. Surely that sounds absolutely crazy, but in reality I’m so used to being anxious and worried about every little thing that when I am on the meds and I’m not anxious, I feel as though something is not right. However, at some point when I’m no longer taking medicine to help me be mellow, I always find myself back in the trenches trying to dig myself out of a dark whole.
So what do I mean by that? Well, allow me to explain. When I am not on meds, I worry A LOT and about every little thing. Of course it’s normal to worry a little, but I worry about things that might not even happen, that have already happened, things that are completely out of my control. Need an example? I’m currently worrying about what I’ll have for dinner tonight although I am fully aware that while there isn’t a ton of food at the house, I can at least eat a pack of Ramen. It’s 9:30 in the morning, and that’s not the only thing plaguing my mind. Basically, I’m an irrational worrier. This likely wouldn’t be as much of an issue if it didn’t, 1) trigger me to have breakdowns when I’m overwhelmed by my thoughts, and 2) didn’t cause me to dive into states of depression that sometimes make me feel suicidal.
Most of the time what happens is I worry so much about so many things that are out of my control that I start to get sad, overwhelmed, and unresponsive (lack of motivation/action). This is a huge issue when you are a student because you have an obligation to get your assignments completed and to study. The saddest part of it all is that yes, I feel that way and literally don’t have the push to get things done though I usually want nothing more than to tackle whatever it is that’s holding my mind captive. Essentially, it’s a war with me and in my own head.
Admittedly, I need to work on maintaining a stable schedule and treatment routine because that can make a huge difference. And while I don’t have insurance (the ACA didn’t save all of the millennials), there are resources out there dedicated to helping those in need that are on limited incomes. The help is and always has been there, but I had to take the first step and admit that I needed help so that I could seek it. Treatment will be ongoing for the rest of my life. This is not something that will just magically go away in a few weeks, or months, or years. It may not always be as severe and overwhelming to manage, but I will always deal with it and I will always be in a silent war with myself.