Coping with depression and anxiety
Clinical depression and anxiety are things you cannot see. They do not require bandages, plaster casts, or leave visible scars. The empathy or sympathy that is often given with external injury is lacking towards mental health and because of this I have struggled to open up or be completely honest with the people I have opened up to. The stigma surrounding these issues needs to change. Ignorant comments such as “man up” and “what have you got to be depressed about?” need to stop.
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety around six years ago and it’s been a long and extremely difficult road to travel. I have often found my depression to be a debilitating darkness that weighs heavily on every waking moment. It is exhausting. I often find that I just don’t have the energy to get out of bed or leave the house. Dealing with people is completely out of the question and has led me to total isolation. Loneliness takes over and I just can’t put a brave face on and maintain relationships, leading me to losing them. I completely lose my self-confidence leading to self-hatred and loathing. Normal everyday activities, personal hygiene, healthy eating and housework are just too exhausting to even contemplate. Add to this constant anxiety, overthinking every mistake, trembling, sweating, racing pulse and an overwhelming sense of dread or impending doom, and life is a waking nightmare or my own personal hell, and sleep is almost impossible. All this has led me to question my existence and if life is worth living. This year I decided it wasn’t and took multiple overdoses, but fortunately I’ve come through the other side.
This self-destructive cycle is hopefully now being managed through the use of three different anti-depressants and medication for anxiety. I’m at the maximum doses I can take for these medications and they are not without side effects such as feeling drained of energy, like I’ve not slept, exhaustion, no drive or motivation, feelings of detachment and apathy. While they help in some ways and stop me trying to kill myself, it is no picnic and can be difficult to manage.
Alongside this I’m learning Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques and mindfulness. I’m also doing a lot of meditation and starting to look to and plan for the future.
By opening up and talking about these issues, I’m hoping that people will gain some understanding about how difficult they are, and if anyone is struggling that they will know they are not alone and help is available.