READ STORIES FROM OTHERS WHO UNDERSTAND

My Story

Mel's Story

     Although I am not sure what exactly the origin of my anxiety is, I can tell you where I began to feel it. When I was in fifth grade, one of my classmates passed away and the experience rocked me hard. Slowly but surely I began to experience intrusive thoughts that would damper my mood and keep me up at night. As the anxiety persisted I talked to my parents.

     I cannot emphasize to you how important that decision was. Although it was difficult and scary, talking to my family was the best decision I ever made. I know there are many kids out there that feel like their parents don't care about them or will not take them seriously, but it is so important to try to reach out to them, because more often than not, your parents will take you very seriously and do everything they can to help you. Not specific to just parents, talking to other people in general is an important part of coping with anxiety and depression. Even if they are not able to understand personally what you are experiencing, verbally expressing your emotions can help to relieve stress and take some of the burden of your feelings off your shoulders.

     After I talked to my parents, they were able to help me understand what I was experiencing, and believe it or not, there were other people in my family who had struggled with similar ailments. My parents helped me talk to my school counselor, and in sixth grade I started going to therapy. The idea of therapy was terrifying because I had to talk to a stranger about emotions I myself didn't fully understand and half of my answers were probably just "I don't know." My therapist, however, was so understanding and helped me understand why I was feeling the way I was and how I could put it into perspective and start coping with it.

     Although our problems can't just be talked away, they can be further understood and accepted. Once my therapist had a good understanding of my anxiety, she was able to refer me to a psychiatrist. My psychiatrist was just as helpful and prescribed me medication to damper my feelings of anxiety and make them tame enough to handle and cope with. In addition, through conversations and evaluation she diagnosed and helped treat me for ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), an ailment that had also been affecting my life.

     In no way am I saying that medication is the only way to deal with anxiety or depression, but that there are professionals who can help you understand your emotions and find the best way to work through them. Although I felt like it, and you might too, we aren't trapped by anxiety or depression and we aren't alone. Although others might not understand your exact situation, there are so many people around you who have either struggled with similar mental health ailments or are qualified to help you with your own.

     Although it has been years, I still see my psychiatrist. Not because I am still struggling, but because I am easily coping with a part of myself that I learned to accept. Because I reached out to the people around me, I no longer deal with anxiety on a daily basis, and honestly forget I have it a lot of the time. My biggest piece of advice if you are dealing with anxiety or depression is to reach out to anyone you can talk to and recognize what you are experiencing as a mental health ailment that can be dealt with, because by doing so you can start fighting your battle and start winning it. 

     It is interesting to me how difficult it is to talk about having gone to therapy, even these days when it has become so much more accepted, but as uncomfortable as it can be, I’m going to take the plunge. I grew up in a family with a father who suffered from alcoholism. Because of how I grew up, I had issues with my own confidence and I unconsciously tried to fix my past by dating people who needed fixing themselves. This continued for some time. When I was in a relationship I felt like I was trying to swim against a current that was continually trying to pull me under. I finally tried therapy, and after about a year I learned that you can’t fix other people who don't want to fix themselves. I also learned that pity is not the basis for a healthy relationship and that I deserved to find someone healthy with whom I could be happy. This story has a happy ending, because eventually I was able to meet a wonderful man and we are living happily ever after! I guess the bottom line for me is that you can kiss a lot of frogs but if you don’t believe inside that you’re worthy of a prince, you will just keep kissing frogs. I would recommend for anyone who has had a difficult past, and is having a hard time getting through it, that they reach out and seek help. It can make all the difference.