T/W: Anxiety, Depression
I have never been shy when it comes to being honest about my struggles with mental illness. I am not embarrassed of my illnesses, and I don’t believe I should be. I have struggled with extreme anxiety, panic and depression my entire life.
I used to be afraid to post about it on my blog, though, I guess because of a fear that future employers would simply banish me from ever being hired. Maybe they will, but the truth is I wouldn’t want to work for a company like that. I am no less of a driven, artistic, talented person than I would be without my illnesses.
The last few years were an absolute tornado of ups and downs after years of ignoring and suppressing my illnesses instead of dealing with them, which left me feeling completely broken for almost three years. After dealing with it all my life, it finally became debilitating. For a while, I thought I wouldn’t feel like myself again.
I was collapsing to the floor in stores, freaking out while driving, barely eating (dropping near 20 pounds in a short period of time) and upset with myself. I was so, so upset with myself. I went from thriving, living happily in downtown Chicago and attending college, to back home with my parents, struggling to get out of bed.
I started my blog around the beginning of what I would call “my decline” in early 2015, I had just suffered a miscarriage from an unplanned pregnancy when I was 20 years old which threw me deep into a dark hole. I have never mentioned this, I barely told the people I know, but I’m sick of hiding it. It affected me a lot, even though I didn’t think it did. I could barely leave my house, my mind felt broken. I felt like my body was just in my way, betraying me and I felt weak. Meanwhile, I had to hold it together to finish school and maintain my relationships.
Through my darkest points, my close friends, family and my amazing boyfriend made me still feel loved, and more importantly pushed me to love myself. I realized that love was more complex than I understood before, watching my boyfriend stand by my side through it all, as I spent my nights crying, thinking I was worthless, taking trips to the emergency room which turned out to be panic attacks. He was there through it all, rooting for me to get better.
I tried therapy in Fall 2015 and just didn’t connect with my therapist. I only went to about four sessions before she ended up quitting her practice (…I know). I received medication, I didn’t take it. When you overthink everything that includes medications, doctors visits, etc. I was stopping myself from getting better, which made me even more upset with my body and brain.
I graduated college in June 2017, a huge milestone for me. My thoughts started to get more clear, I thought “finally, I’m doing better”, but really I was just busy and distracted. The rest of 2017 following graduation was kind of a sad, struggled blur of what my life would become now without a set schedule of things to keep me busy.
The important thing to understand is that even though I was depressed/anxious, I was still happy. Being depressed and anxious does not destroy your character. I had tons of great times during the last few years. I went on two amazing trips, I had the amazing experience of becoming an aunt to two of the sweetest girls and I have maintained my relationships with friends that I love.
I started therapy right in the beginning of 2018, giving it a second chance, and I feel so much better. I have started to heal and forgive myself, something that I didn’t know I would be able to do again. I can look in mirrors and admire my appearance again and I have become beautiful within. My outlook on life has changed so much, I feel authentically myself now more than ever.
I don’t panic anymore. My anxiety has been extremely reduced. I’m sleeping, eating and getting back into working out. I am taking time for activities that I enjoy, like this blog for example. But, I still have my moments and these things will still loom near me during my life. I have learned to be stronger than them when I can and that has saved me.
Thank you for being patient with me. I always wanted to be honest with you all. My absences were during times I needed to focus on myself.
Please don’t feel alone if you are going through similar experiences. I am always here to talk and I encourage you to reach out to me here on the blog, on any of my social media pages or through email. Having people to talk to was what helped me most.