Mental health is a topic often ignored in our society, but our generation and the generations following are being more and more vocal about mental health awareness on recent days. Our depression often gets underrated by our friends and family as ‘just sadness’, and anxiety? No one really understands it unless they are facing it themselves. I’ve often talked about my struggle with depression, but what I’ve never talked about is how I overcame my anxiety. My anxiety wasn’t nearly as severe as my depression, but what I’ve learnt throughout these years is that most people more or less have it. For me, anxiety wasn’t always panic attacks; it was more like haunting negative thoughts that discouraged me whenever I tried doing something new. My anxiety is what made me an ambivert, made me cancel plans, made me freak out and reject my crush of 5-6 years (but that’s a good thing right? 😉 ) and most importantly, stopped me from actually doing stuffs I’ve always dreamt of doing. However, after coming across few articles on the internet, and reading self-improvement blogs, I finally realized that the culprit behind all my discouragement is nothing but anxiety.
That was during the beginning of 2017, I just spoke out about my struggles with depression for the first time. I was also planning my first solo trip around that time and it took me a full month to convince my parents to let me go. My parents finally approved of my trip one night post dinner and I rushed back to my room and got glued to my laptop to get my tickets, and then my heartbeat suddenly doubled up. I could only think of everything that can go wrong. A dark cloud engulfed my brain and I shut down my laptop, covered from head to toe in blanket, over thinking and started getting panic attacks. Once my parents approved of the trip and I knew this trip is actually going to happen, I didn’t want to go anymore. And that’s when it hit me, it’s just anxiety, it’s what didn’t let me attend my German class, it’s what stops me from meeting new people, it’s what stopped me from accepting Bloggers Meet invites from across the country, and it was exactly the repetition of every single time I planned a solo trip (I planned and convinced my parents for multiple solo trips in the past and then cancelled myself due to anxiety). However, once I had a name to what had been sucking out all the fun from my life, I knew how to overcome it. I got up, got the tickets and decided not to contemplate the trip at all, I’ll see what happens. What if I lose my luggage at the airport? Will see at the airport. What if I’m late on the departure day? Will see when the day comes. And that’s exactly what I did. I just went with the flow and did what I was supposed to do without over thinking, and honestly, I’ve been following that mantra since the last 1 year and I never felt more fulfilled and successful, as my feeling of success equates to how many of my bucket lists I have ticked off. This is exactly I how fight anxiety ‘will see when it actually happens’.
However, I’ve seen people struggling from much severe anxiety than mine and in that case; I’ll always suggest seeing a therapist. As for me, I’ve seen two different therapists in my lifetime. The first time was during my final year at the University, I took a bold step going against the wish of my family and closest friends and no one was there for me accept my husband and my best friend. I wasn’t unsure of the move, but I was still getting panic attacks. I saw a therapist, and after a few sessions she told me that I took the right decision. It was the best thing ever, I never second guessed myself, never looked back, and never regretted any of it. The second therapist that I saw was a lot random; I was having the time of my life back then. 2016 was the best year of my life but I just saw a therapist that some of my relatives were seeing. After a couple of hours of chatting, he told me that I am having the best time of my life, everything is figured out, BUT I did have some past garbage which I need to dump. The past garbage was the reason I saw my first therapist. I know I received help from my previous therapist, but opening up once again really felt good. I could finally look back and know that one bold move may have caused suffering once upon a time, but it is because of that move that I am the happiest I have ever been. I was finally able to dump my garbage and keep my head high.
Therapy has been really helpful throughout my struggle with depression. However, you guys may know my recent struggle with depression last year, and the situation was so bad I couldn’t even visit a therapist. I went through a bad best friendship break up, and for someone ambivert, someone with anxiety and has just 2 close friends, losing a best friend of 9 years is really hard. Like I wrote in my blog, my depression seems to look for a small crack to enter my life once again, and that best friend break up was a huge crack. I came back from my solo trip and spent 2 days straight in bed, on the 3rd day I decided that I’ve had enough, I’ll call and take an urgent appointment with my 2nd therapist, I’ll shower, have lunch and will go visit him. I showered, came downstairs and got to know that my uncle was hospitalized. I couldn’t visit the therapist as I was looking after my nieces and nephew while their parents were trying to save my uncle’s life. My uncle expired a month and 4 days later which was a huge trauma itself. As if that was not bad enough, 5 days after his death, my sister’s fiancé suffered a major heart attack. A week after that I got diagnosed with a tumor and flew to Bangalore for biopsy and treatment. The month that followed, were filled with incidents like my maternal aunt’s heart failure, another aunt’s major accident, my mum’s accident along with uncountable minor accidents within the family. Everything was a mess, and I didn’t have a best friend to talk to during the hardest part of my life. I started showing symptoms of post traumatic stress syndrome but I couldn’t manage enough time to visit a therapist, even though I desperately needed to. So I started looking for online therapy on the internet, my days and night would be spent glued on sites like BetterHelp and Thought Catalogue. Within a few months I started feeling a lot better, I didn’t just jump back to my cheerful phase, but I was mentally stable enough and start working. Work, which is my anti-depressant, healed me in no time. My Instagram posts always reflect my mental condition. When I first talked about my struggle with depression, the most common comment that I received was ‘But you’re posts are so full of life…’ Truth is, they were full of life, I hadn’t struggled with depression until 2017 ever since I started blogging, The Instagram posts reflected my joy of having a career that I enjoy: writing about things I love. When I was suffering from depression, I barely posted on Instagram, and whenever I did, it was about things that made me feel better, even if temporarily (like food). I never updated about my struggles with depression once I overcame it, but I guess my Instagram posts reflects the sense of fulfilment that I have in my life right now.
Mental illness is a big issue often ignored. I know for a fact because even my husband sometimes says that I’m over thinking and making it up in my head. He gets anxiety, but he doesn’t really get depression. And I’m thinking of getting a semicolon tattoo to raise mental illness awareness because it’s high time we start talking about it.
P.S: I saw my 2nd therapist once again a week before my wedding when my friend went through a trauma and needed help. It was really good seeing him again and update him on my life.