A Personal Tale of Depression & Anxiety

by Rachel Logan

I am Rachel and I am 19. I have depression and anxiety. I have had both officially for two years now but have had sad feelings for most of my life.

How It Started

I was ill at first with glandular fever but afterwards, I was sad all the time. I was lonely, closed up in my head and my thoughts would not stop talking. There was nothing I could do with my the voices that would tell me I am worthless and I do not deserve to be alive. I would doubt my school career, my life choices for the future and worry constantly about disappointing my parents. The thoughts would overwhelm me; the tears would never end and I always had a headache. There was nothing in the world that stopped these feelings. Then I felt numb. There was no emotion inside me. I could not emphasise with someone or even communicate rationally with someone. My mum would think I was rude or going through a teenage phase. All of this accumulated in my mind as meaning that I was abnormal, that there was something innately wrong with me. People would ask me, “why are you not happy?”, and they could not understand the thundercloud of desolation surrounding me.

How I Changed

I would self-isolate. I would be too scared to go to the cinema with my friends. I was self-conscious about everything, I could not complete a presentation in class. And I would spend days curled up in bed with no one talking to me; I would look into space. There were moments when tears would stream down my face for no reason. I could not eat proper meals. I would not eat for days. I would smoke too much to calm myself. I would faint every time during a night out due to the combination of alcohol and sleep deprivation. I would sleep sporadically or too much. And I could not contain my rage and would argue with my mother all the time. There were so many things that left me alone. I just could not tell anyone. I was not normal. And eventually, this led to self-harm; just little regular cuts to my left arm.
This all led to a breakdown before AS exams. I was stood in the queue for a public exam and I had a panic attack, the school had to notify my parents. Then, I was taken, rather forcefully, to the GP. I was assessed every month and eventually was put onto Fluoxetine, which kept under control the innate sadness but never fully removed the feeling of low self-worth and isolation. I was recommended counselling but in the end I decided that therapy was not for me. That being said, if you are living with depression and anxiety, there is a good chance that counselling could be really good for you. Just a few days ago I read this upskilled counselling guide and I learnt that online counselling is now growing in popularity. I think this is so much better than having counselling sessions in person and it if was available for me when I needed it, I definitely would have given it a go. I think that if you are going through a similar situation to what I went through, it may be worth trying. For example, a friend of mine who lives in Canada has been doing some research into ARC Counselling Vancouver as a way of treating her anxiety. Ultimately, I suppose it is all about doing what feels right for you.

There For Me Always

My best friend through all of this was my doctor. He was supportive, patient and understanding. I was lucky; not all doctors are patient or caring. He had my best interests at heart and he saved me; I would feel comfortable telling him about my past month and that is what everyone with a mental illness needs.
My boyfriend accepted me. He never questioned anything but would accept every day as they came because he loved me. I needed him daily; he was my whole support system. I never knew it but I took advantage of that. Everyone who has a mental illness needs someone like him; he was amazing because he was so open minded and calming.

Strong On My Own

I still struggle nowadays. At uni, I am alone. I do not have my boyfriend or my parents looking over my shoulder. However, it is making me stronger because I know that I need to look after my mind. My brain cannot always be in control because then I am not happy; I need to be proactive and keep healthy. It is not something I would wish on anyone but I have learnt that I need to take my life into my hands and do what makes me happy every day, even if it is just reading a chapter of my favourite book or making pancakes.

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