In 2010, I was diagnosed with anxiety/panic disorder and depression. You can read more about my anxiety/panic disorder here. To be diagnosed with both of these disorders at the same time was one of the scariest moments of my life. The news came as a huge surprise. But why was I so surprised? From the outside, it seemed as though I was a happy person who had their shit together when realistically I was sad and lonely on the inside. With that said, I guess I do a pretty damn good job of putting on a front to hide my real feelings. But why was I sad? Not being able to explain why I'm sad is by far the worst feeling. I was battling something I couldn't even see nor explain until my doctor informed and educated me. I realize now how difficult it is to explain what's going on in your head when you don't even understand it yourself.
When my doctor started asking me if I had specific symptoms, I was blown away at how many times I answered yes. Sleeping just to escape? Keeping to myself and barely speaking to anyone? Crying for no reason? Missing the person I use to be? YES! It all made sense. I was truly depressed, and I didn't even know it. I walked out of my appointment with a prescription for an antidepressant and anti-anxiety, but my mind was still full of confusion. Even though I spent a lot of time crying that day, I knew I had to make a change. I refused to feel this way for the rest of my life.
A year had passed since my highly concerned visit with my doctor, and it was time for my annual visit. I remember it like it was yesterday. As soon as my doctor walked in the door to my room, she came over to hug me. That moment was extremely meaningful and powerful to me. As we pulled apart from one another, she said, "I saw you walking down the hall, headed for your room, and I have to tell you, you're glowing!". We both we're a little teary eyed when I threw in my witty, sarcastic humor and responded, "Aww, yay! Let's hope I'm not pregnant". She instantly started laughing. Did I forget to mention that this is my doctor? Not a friend or family member. I have never had a doctor be so supportive and understanding of my health concerns. She made me feel comfortable and significant. With that said, I can't stress enough how important it is to find a doctor you enjoy seeing. Everyone deserves to have a doctor they can trust, feel comfortable talking to, and receive information with an explanation. My doctor and I continued to discuss my health concerns; I had my exam and the ending results? Healthy and no more depression!! I walked out with the biggest smile on my face. On my way home you best believe I stopped to pick up celebration wine and ice cream. Not sorry.
So, how did I beat depression? I took my antidepressant medication every morning, focused on living a positive lifestyle and every night I wrote short stories. Running away in my mind and putting my thoughts in a story form, on paper, was so soothing. It relaxed me. It gave me something positive to look forward to every night. It became a routine. Soon I noticed I cried less and had more energy to do more daily activities. The routine lasted a year. A routine that also included exercise, eating healthy and laughing. It's difficult to laugh when managing depression. I focused on watching comedy movies and TV series. No romance or drama stories that could add to my crying series. Surprisingly, this helped me a lot to overcome my sadness. Again, focusing on living a lifestyle with daily positive influences truly helped me overcome my depression.
Whether it's your doctor, family, and friends, or all of the above, it's important to have a strong support system when going through something difficult. You're not alone. Don't be afraid to seek help and support from loved ones around you. You may be wondering where my short stories are now? To be honest, I've kept some, but most of them went into my fireplace where I proceeded to celebrate my success by drinking wine, eating ice cream, and watching my memories of depression burn to dust.