Depression and anxiety are often misinterpreted in our society as something that can easily be "brushed off." These illnesses, not unlike monsters that take over your head and eat you up from the inside out, does not exempt anyone. Each person can have a different reason why they are depressed and anxious, but it seems like more and more millennials find themselves suffering from these mental illnesses as compared to any other generation.
Mental illness, whether it's in the form of depression or anxiety, is a serious matter that needs to be dealt with as soon as it's diagnosed because its destructive nature can lead to extremely dangerous situations. But here's the good news: As difficult as it is to deal with a mental illness, you can conquer it with the help of professional therapists and prescribed medication, and most especially, with the love and support of your family and friends.
Just take it from this Chalk reader who opens up to us about her experience with depression and anxiety, and how going through it ultimately shaped her life and helped her become a better person today.
The Feeling of Aloneness
"I knew something was off when I was in my senior year in high school. At times I felt so isolated even if I was surrounded by a lot of people," she shares. "At times, I felt the need to hurt myself to divert the emotional pain into physical pain, and I did try to take my own life once. I’m not ashamed of it, though, because it served as a reminder for me that no matter how hard life is, I can go through it."
She admits that the pressure of not being able to live up to other people’s expectations is the main reason why she felt depressed and most of the time, anxious. It was during her first breakdown when she attempted to take her own life that led her and her loved ones to believe that her mental illness was serious.
"At first, some of the people I loved couldn’t accept the fact that I wasn’t “okay.” But thankfully, most of my friends were truly supportive and they genuinely made me feel that I wasn’t alone," she shares.
During her first breakdown, she managed to talk to her dad about it and it somehow helped, but here's something that she wants everyone with mental illness to remember: "The only person who can truly help you is yourself.
"Honestly, it was tough. I was afraid of myself and what I was capable of doing. I easily get distracted most of the time and it’s hard for me to focus on my studies— mainly because I’m afraid of screwing up again," she shares.
As tough as the whole experience was, she is still thankful for what she has gone through because if it weren't for her illness, her relationship with her mom and God wouldn't have been as strong as it is as now.
"Whenever I feel like I’m alone again, I just look back at the time when my mom cried so hard while she was rushing me to the hospital. From then on, I told myself that I won’t be the reason why she cries that much again," she says.
She is now at a much more stable mental state than before. "I can say that I have improved a lot lately. Whenever I feel like my anxiety and depression is getting ready to take over, I talk to people about it. I’ve learned to open up about certain things that I couldn’t tell anyone before."
How to help yourself
For everyone who is going through the same thing as her, K.U. says that admitting that something is wrong and talking to someone is the first step to getting better, especially if that someone is a professional. "I may not know what caused your depression and anxiety, but all I can say is that I’ve been there. I know how it feels to be isolated and hopeless. But please do talk to someone about it, especially professionals. There are a lot of people out there who are willing to listen and to do something about it. You don’t have to go through this battle alone. And lastly, try to talk to God about it. Leave everything to Him, and surely He will help you get through it."
If you are suffering from depression or anxiety but don't know where to ask for help, please call HOPELINE, a phone-based counseling service launched by the Department of Health that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. HOPELINE can be reached through the following numbers:
Landline: 804-HOPE (4673); Mobile: 0917-588-HOPE (4673), and 2919 (toll-free for all Globe and TM subscribers)
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Banner photograph by Nomao Saeki via Unsplash.