When did you start noticing you were feeling anxious? Kindergarten, I didn’t know what it was but I have trichotillomania and started to pull out hair back then. It wasn’t until high school when I started to have severe chest pains that I was diagnosed with extreme anxiety and depression.
Do you have advice for people going through anxiety or depression?
Yes, always remember all things are temporary, the good and bad. If you find yourself in a depressed state or anxious, remind yourself that it will pass. Also with anxiety there is a trick that works for me: You go through each one of your senses, what can you see (list 5) what can you hear (list 4) what can you feel (feel 3) what can you smell (smell 2) what can you taste (this is obviously a tricky one if you aren’t around anything you can taste).
Do you have advice for a family member, friends, or spouse on supporting people with anxiety or depression?
Don’t think you can save the person or change them. If you love them, be patient with them but don’t cause yourself to become anxious or depressed if you can’t help them, then guilt comes into play and may cause unwanted resentment. A person who needs help can only help themselves and get the help of a professional.
What are your triggers? I am an empath so virtually everything. Not being able to stop something bad from happening or not being able to help something or someone, but my biggest trigger is a fear of abandonment that stems from late adoption when I was a child.
What do people say to you that you wish they wouldn’t? Nothing…people only say things because they think they may know something you don’t (but they can’t because they aren’t you), you assign value to anything someone says so if you don’t like it don’t listen, don’t feed it with a reaction because that is wasted energy you could be using to work on you.
Do you think the health care system is doing enough? Absolutely not, but in the same breath what do you expect them to do when everyone claims to have depression whenever they are just sad or claims to have anxiety when they are really just dealing with the pressure of everyday life. I don’t think it is a healthcare issue I think it is a social issue where the stress of normal living is being confused with anxiety and feeling alone and in a vast void of people makes people say they are depressed for attention. I think either society needs to change or the ways we teach children to cope with these things need to change, it isn’t as simple as a broken health care system or then you would just have entire generations on prescription medications.
How did your family handle it? Ignored it for 26 years until I called my dad for multiple nights saying I wanted to kill myself and I wouldn’t get out of bed for a month and I lost about 30 pounds, then they made me go into intensive therapy.
How is your relationship?
It is actually wonderful and my anxiety and depression rarely come into it because I know how to compartmentalize. My partner is not responsible for my depression or anxiety only I am.
What keeps you motivated and positive? Knowing that what I put out comes back. We create our own worlds really. If you give in to your anxiety or depression you will stay there, that will be all you see and feel. You need to keep moving and find things that make you smile because that then creates your world. You are the only thing in your life that can make your life better. What you create comes back to you.
Final words on depression and anxiety: Know the difference between depression and being sad, seek professional help (DO NOT EXPECT FRIENDS, FAMILY, or YOUR PARTNER TO SAVE YOU, DO NOT put that kind of pressure or expectations on them) If you need meds try holistic attempts first then try meds (there is no shame in needing meds but they are also overprescribed and sometimes simple things like changing a diet, sleep or activities even yoga or meditation could be all you need) If you see things that make you sad like on Facebook or social media change the things you like or comment on (Social media site will show you more of what you like or interact with so if you are trying to stop animal abuse that WILL be all you see on there, you won’t change the world on Facebook so there is no point in constantly exposing yourself to things that are known to cause depression, want to make a difference? Hit the streets and get out there don’t do it from behind a computer. Social media has been showing drastic trends of causing anxiety and depression), try simple things like just smiling for no reason (smiling even if not happy releases the same chemicals into your body, you can literally trick yourself into being happy) surround yourself with people or things that make you think about things other than your depression or anxiety (you may think surrounding yourself with people who understand what you are going through is your best move, not always. Sometimes you need to distance yourself from things that remind you of your depression or anxiety. Being depressed and going to your friend with depression may make you feel understood but they also won’t help you get out of that headspace. I am not saying that you should not have friends with similar issues, I am just saying sometimes going to a person with the same issues is like the blind leading the blind. Sometimes going to your friend who may not understand your depression or anxiety but can always make you laugh or think about something else is a better bet.)
Everyone is different, every case is different, so don’t compare yourself to anyone, get the help you need and find any little joy you can in this life because no one has the answers to anything… we are all just doing the best and guessing along the way, so don’t take life too seriously…
“The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing” Socrates