Alright, this is something I never planned on writing, let alone talk about. Like most people my age, I also have problems with anxiety and depression. There is a huge stigma around mental health even though majority of society deals with it every day. This is about to get a bit too personal, so if that is not your thing, I would suggest not continuing, but if you are suffering from the same sort of thing, then maybe this is something for you.
Like most people, my childhood was good. It was not perfect by any means, but there were friends that I had that had far worse issues than I had to deal with. I had a home, a family who loved me, food on the table, and I was able to get almost anything I wanted. I guess you could say that childhood definitely did not prepare me for the real world.
I think the first time I experienced some sort of depression was after my first semester of college. I have never been a driven person, we all know this. I never thought college was right for me, I wanted something creative and fun. Something that would allow me to express myself. I am pretty sure that is what everyone wants though, so this is not that weird. Although I have continued with college, and coming to the end of a long “Professional Student” career, I still don’t think it was right for me to do. Yes, I know it is something that is almost required in this age. Imagine this for a moment. Your first time on your own…no job, so you can’t do all of the fun things, sharing a room, because dorms are awful, and then finding out that after an entire semester you failed. Even your advisor said college wasn’t right for you. It definitely took a toll on my ego.
I think a lot of my anxiety and depression come from my lack of success when it comes to my education. I have never been an amazing student, and guess what, I probably will never be that way. It is just something that I have to deal with, it is part of life. I come from a family of insanely successful women, and have a ton of motivated women around me. As inspiring and motivating as that is, it can also cause some anxiety. Coming up on twenty-seven, I definitely had a different idea of how my life would be. Not that I hate myself, but I definitely wish that there were different things going on in my life. So does everyone else, right?
My mother said something to me during one of my anxiety attacks a few months ago. It is not that I have bad luck, I just make bad choices. As hard as that is to admit, yes, yes I do. I know when I should not do something, but in the moment, I do not think about the future. If it makes me happy at that moment, then I do it. I took living in the moment a little too literally. Rather this be drinking, education, jobs, or even my choice in shoes. I do not think things through, which is something that I am personally working on every day.
My first breakdown happened last year, right at the beginning. I had just broken up with the first guy I ever loved. His mother did not approve of me (don’t blame her, I was an actual wild child, and not in the good way), and he told me as soon as I landed in Washington DC to spend a week with my aunt. I had also lost my financial aid from school due to my grades the previous semester (I told you, I still suck!). My aunt is an actual angel. She is the kind of person who is so supportive that she would probably kill you if she thought it was the best thing for you. I have spent my entire life with her, my mother went and got multiple degrees which were all very demanding, so for a long time, it was just me and her. She is the first person I admitted to trying to kill myself to. She is the first person who I told how much I hate myself. Naturally, she told my family. I took a semester off of school and I stayed up there until I felt like I was ready to return back to my house in Tennessee. Once I was back, I was ready to go on about my daily life, and try and get everything in order.
Something triggered in me around August. I had everything ready for school, I had just moved into my new house, and I was feeling good. I had a great summer full of vacation and trips with my newly acquired family, and had been able to reconnect with some old friends. Once August came, all of that changed. I could feel the anxiety coming back, I began drinking more to cover up what I was going through. A relationship that I thought was going to blossom into something basically caught on fire. I even went to jail for a grand total of an hour and a half. Everyone called me Piper. I have not watched OITNB since that day (September 11th, reallllll original Ash). I even was in such a terrible place that my body decided to give up on me. I had a UTI, kidney infection, and the flu at the same time. Great.
I spent a good six months dealing with court systems, and that took an insane toll on me. The worst feeling is knowing that you were wrong. You can ask pretty much anyone I know. I became a shell of a person. I would just sit in my bed all day and cry with a spoon full of Nutella in my mouth. So on top of all of this, I gained about 40lbs (I actually needed to put on weight, but I should have done it in a healthy manner, not 40lbs of reese cups). Fast forward to now.
I decided to get away from a place that has caused me the amount of stress that it has. I, as an almost 27 year old woman, admitted defeat. I am commuting to finish out my degree, living with my family, and taking the necessary treatments to become a happy, successful, and motivated individual. Sometimes it is as simple as moving away from your “den of depression” as I have referred to it. Taking yourself out of harmful situations is always a smart move. My mother has been telling me for years to get out of there, and I was so set in my ways that I refused until it was just too late.
I think the biggest thing that I can tell you from my experience is to take the help that is given. Pushing things off until the 11th hour never will benefit you. Face things, there will not always be someone to take care of what needs to be done in your life. If you are struggling with something, then talk to someone. I know that the blogging community is extremely supportive, and there are tons of people going through the same thing as you are every day, and they need someone to talk to too. If you need to, seek professional help. You are not the only one. How many doctors are there in the world? A ton, and they are all busy with people who are going through the same things as you. There are natural vitamins and supplements to help battle your chemical imbalances, and they are much safer than some synthetic or chemical compound created in a lab to do the same thing.
There is nothing wrong with admitting a mental illness. We all struggle, and it is a part of daily life. Life is not perfect, thanks Hannah Montana. Don’t be afraid to talk about your struggles, who knows who they will help. It is far better to get the negativity out into the world than to keep it inside and building up until it goes to some sort of negative outburst. Don’t let anything dull your shine, especially something you can beat, girlboss!