Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Moving up from Rock Bottom

     I've come a long way from where I was mentally 6 years ago, and I pride myself for being able to get out of that really tough spot I was in. Now, I find happiness sharing my story, and giving advice to people who are in the same situation I was. After I was diagnosed with severe anxiety, I felt it take over my life which is what developed depression. I find depression isn't something that is usually talked about, but it's such a common illness. When I was in my most depressed state, I would have never expected to be in the happy place I am now. I'm definitely better than ever, and even stay positive when I have a rough month. I know how difficult it is to get out of depression and it was such a difficult, but rewarding journey for me.
     When I first experienced depression, I got out of it after meeting someone who made me extremely happy. I would say that was the most depressed I have ever been, but I was left to save myself the second time around. When I was going through depression for the second time, I dropped out of art school and quit my job. This was because the thought of having to leave my house made me panic. Mentally, I was not in a good state. School and work at the time just made my depression worse. I don't blame my parents for being unhappy about me not doing anything, but they never forgot about my feelings. I will always appreciate having them there to push me to get myself back out there. At this time I was seeing a therapist, who really helped me I'm planning on writing a post about cognitive behavioural therapy if anyone is interested. Other than that, I spent my days alone, in bed, just feeling sorry for myself. The worst thing was going to family events. While I absolutely love seeing my family, "how is school/work" is a common conversation starter, and I was so embarrassed telling them that I was currently not doing anything. This question made me so uncomfortable, because I felt that even if I tried to explain the situation I was in, no one would understand. I would just be seen as "lazy". Everyday, I would wake up, do absolutely nothing, then go back to sleep. I felt like my life was meaningless, and wondered why I was put on this earth if I was just going to be afraid of it. 
     I really did want to give my life a purpose, but taking the first step was so hard to do. I kept telling myself I will apply to school, I will apply for work, but I couldn't find the courage to actually do so. There is nothing for frustrating than having anxiety and depression at the same time. It's like you're in the middle of a tug-of-war. You want to move forward, but you're too scared to. When I took that difficult first step of applying for jobs, I only did it to make myself feel as if I were making an effort. I was happy to get a call from a store I have always loved, and then eventually got hired. This was a huge deal for me, considering I spent almost a year completely depressed, and isolated. This happened to be a workplace I looked forward to going to every day. I loved the ladies I worked with, and it was an all around positive environment. I was working there for almost a year, telling myself I would apply for school, but I was too scared to do it. Living with anxiety made me question so many things, and turn down so many opportunities because I kept asking myself "what if". What if I get back in school and it contributes to my panic and depression again, what if I don't like the program, what if I disappoint my parents and drop out again? It's so easy to forget that letting anxiety stop you from trying new things, or moving forward in life, closes so many doors, and leads to missed opportunities. Even though I was terrified while doing it, I reminded myself that holding myself back isn't going to do anything for me, and I can't be scared of everything for the rest of my life. I applied to school, and felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. My loved ones kept telling me how proud they were of me. It doesn't seem like a big deal at all, but it was progress. When I got accepted to school, is when I was happy again. I had something to look forward to. Although I was scared out of my mind, it was another huge step I took. It sounds so simple, but I know how hard it is when you're suffering from depression. I want to emphasize the importance of never giving up. When I was in my most depressed state, I never thought I'd be as happy as I am now. Be your own hero.

     If you suffer from depression and have hit "rock bottom", here are some things I hope you have taken away from this post:
  1. Know it's okay to feel sorry for yourself. But not too much. Remember that this is such a common illness, and just because it's still a taboo subject to talk about, it is 100% normal to feel the way you feel.
  2. Take your first step. This is the hardest part. It might terrify you, but understand that until you take this first step, nothing is going to change. Make the stressful effort to leave your house, apply for jobs, go to school, whatever situation you are avoiding, take the initiative to move forward.
  3. Do something that makes you happy. For me, it was having a job I actually liked. You will never feel uncomfortable in a situation where you are doing something that makes you happy. Sign up for art classes, start a blog where you can write whatever you'd like, I promise that if you do something you love, you'll feel a little less depressed. 
  4. Take a risk. Again, something easier said than done. But you never know what the future holds for you, and hiding away from every opportunity life throws at you, will not help you make any progress. In my case, I started a program thinking I was going to fall back in the anxious/depressing loop. Turns out, I now love school, and am so happy to be back.
     As for me now. Do I regret dropping out of art school? Yes. I could have graduated this year with the amazing friends I've made in that program. But my mental health comes first. Do I miss graphic design? So much. That being said, I have never been so motivated to achieve more in life. After I graduate I plan on going back into graphic design, this time in a better mental state. Although I feel like I've lost some of my artistic skills, I enjoy designing and try to incorporate it in every day lives. I actually designed my entire blog, and the picture used in this post!
     I realized I never really talked much about my depression as much as I did anxiety. Mostly because it's a dark place that I don't like reliving. But I remember how many messages I got after my huge anxiety post, so I hope this helps anyone going through a hard time right now. Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to read, liking my Facebook page, and the positive messages I have received. Remember, you are never alone.

Megan x

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