It’s been over a year since I published my personal story with anxiety and depression on my blog and The Everygirl. Although it had been something I dealt with for a while, it wasn’t until then that I openly spoke about it to such a broad audience. The amount of support and e-mails from fellow women going through similar experiences has continued to grow each week. Many of you asked for some updates, so here you are.
Seeking professional and medical help was the best decision I ever could have made. I’ve been on prescription medicine for almost two years now and it’s working well. Sure, I don’t want to have to rely on medicine for the rest of my life, but for right now it fits my lifestyle. I’m slowly also learning how to effectively deal with depression and anxiety in natural ways, such as practicing CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) myself. It’s important to get help and find what works for you- whether it’s medicine, therapy or a mixture of both.
I also attribute a lot of my well-being to my surroundings. I work at a job I really enjoy, which makes a huge difference. You spend so much of your time at work, so feeling comfortable and happy is a huge factor in your happiness and anxiety levels. Sure, it’s still stressful at times, but what job isn’t? I only spend time with people who lift me up- my boyfriend who I live with, my friends and family, etc. Life is too short to be around toxic people, and they only contribute to your worries and depression. You have to work to make changes in your surroundings to better yourself, and that’s what I did. I took that into my own hands and it’s helped immensely.
In terms of my health improvements, they have been phenomenal. During the worst parts of my anxiety and depression, I lost a lot of weight (which is detrimental to someone of my petite size naturally), my hair was falling out and I felt physically ill. I dreaded waking up each morning and felt extremely depressed and unmotivated daily. Since seeking help, I’ve gained back all the weight (and added on a few more pounds!), which is good for my health. My hair is growing back in (although the short 1-2 inch pieces sticking out are a reminder of the past), I rarely suffer from stomachaches or headaches and I overall have a healthier mindset in terms of life.
Sure, I still sometimes have to leave social situations because my anxiety gets the best of me. And sometimes I still have really bad moments where I feel like I’m “relapsing”, but those are normal for someone like me. I don’t believe that this every goes away 100%. Having an actual anxiety disorder or depression is so much different than the anxiety or sadness everyone faces from time-to-time.
One thing I’ve been doing since “coming out” is helping others. I truly enjoy responding to e-mails from readers to help them in their situation. I try to educate people on what it’s like to overcome- and deal with- anxiety and depression, as well as to stop the stigma that’s it’s not important, not real or over-exaggerated (no, not everyone who has a bad day is “depressed” or has “anxiety”).
The quote above is one of my favorites- “Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles“. Even when things can seem like they will never get better, eventually they will. But you have to take the first step. I promise, you won’t regret it.