MY EXPERIENCE WITH DEPRESSION
I am sharing my experience with depression and anxiety with you and how I overcame it. I set this blog up for the sole purpose of serving others and helping them to see their true potential. But there are parts of my self development journey that I haven’t yet talked about and I would like to share that with you today.
It’s taken a lot of strength to sit down and talk to you about this today because, writing about it takes me back to when I was at the lowest point of my life and all the memories come flooding back. However, I can see things differently now and it’s easy to think back to the dark times without it taking over me.
I want to give hope and comfort to anyone that has had or is going through a similar experience. Because I genuinely believe that hope is all we need to get through any difficulty in life.
Before everything changed
Up until my early twenties, I had no clue whatsoever what the words ‘anxiety’ and ‘depression’ meant.
I’d heard of the terms being used here and there but I never understood it fully. It might even sound a little bit cliche to say but, I was genuinely so carefree. Nothing could get to me. I was outspoken, outgoing and my friends and family told me I was the bubbliest person they know. I loved so much to joke around and make others laugh. It made me so happy.
I remember, my mum used to tell me that my smile is so big and contagious and I should stay smiling for the rest of my life. Although that’s still true to this day, I did lose my smile. And to me, it felt like forever. Along with my smile, I felt like I had completely lost myself.
I’d become severely depressed.
It’s almost as if I had just woken up one morning feeling dead. That is the only way I can describe it. And little did I know, I was going to be feeling like that every single day for the next 3 years of my life.
Out of control
The change was so sudden and I felt like my life was completely out of my control. I constantly had a sick feeling in my gut. I had lost all interest in everything that I once loved so much and couldn’t imagine being without. I felt so terribly guilty for feeling this way but I couldn’t shake it off.
It’s sad to say but I didn’t want to be around anyone. I was scared. Every time I smiled or laughed, I thought something terrible was going to happen and so I avoided everyone close to me.
To me, it seemed like it was just me against the world. Even my own family, who I love so dearly, seemed like complete strangers to me.
I felt so alone.
It’s strange to say this because I know there is no truth behind it but, at the time I felt like I had let myself down and had been let down by everyone in my life.
Although at the time, I was working a full time job, things became incredibly difficult as my mental health was worsening. I had no interest left in anything. The last thing I wanted to do was to work but I knew I had to, as I was also struggling financially at the time. So, I kept my job for as long as I could until I completely broke down.
I was driving home from work and I remember telling myself that, I’ve bottled things up for so long that I should really let it all out and to cry if I wanted to. Not even a second later, I started crying – it wasn’t a normal cry. I was screaming. As though I was in immense physical pain and I couldn’t stop. I remember becoming so panicky that I started seeing double. The cars were coming towards me. My heart was beating so fast, I knew it was best to just pull up in a safe place so I could get my self together.
As soon as I parked up and turned my car off, all I could hear was a high pitched ringing in my ears.
That’s when I had my first panic attack.
I thought I was going to die
My second panic attack was a few days later, while I was getting ready for work one morning. Everyone else was sleeping. It felt like I had become trapped inside my own head and I just couldn’t find a way out. I remember telling myself to at least make it to top of the stairs so I could call my mum. And then it happened.
I started screaming.
Within seconds, I had come to terms with the fact that I was going to die and I desperately wanted to see my mum, dad and sisters before that happened. Of course, that didn’t happen. I remember my mum rushing to the bottom of the stairs and just hugging me so tightly.
All I wanted at this point was relief. Even just a little bit. I knew I couldn’t go on like this.
I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t recognize the person that was looking back at me. I never fully understood what it meant when a person was referred to as a ‘shell’. I now understand this so perfectly, that it makes my eyes water and my heart hurt thinking back to when I felt like this. And for anyone else out there who feels this way.
But that is what I had become – a shell of the outgoing, bubbly and happy person I once was.
Months had gone by and by now, I had started a new job. I thought that starting a new job, meeting new people and driving to a new location every day would be good for me. I was so wrong.
It was about a week into training at my new job and I remember, the familiar anxious feelings started creeping up again. I couldn’t concentrate for the life of me. The last thing I wanted was to have a full blown panic attack in front of my training group. And by this time, I had become a master at escaping uncomfortable situations.
So, I waited until the trainer was free and asked if I could speak to him. On the verge of tears, I explained to him that I didn’t think the job was for me and that I had decided I was going to leave. I left that day without even completing the rest of my shift. I physically couldn’t.
It wasn’t the job. There was something wrong with me.
As soon as I got back to my car, I cried. I had no idea what I was going to do. I couldn’t even keep a job. I didn’t want to be here anymore. It wasn’t the first time I had felt the sudden urge to drive my car off a bridge or jump off a bridge but that’s the first time I thought to myself … I need help.
I remember being sat in the chair with my doctor opposite me and pouring my heart out to her while she gave me tissue after tissue. That day, I had taken the first and most important step of my entire life. I don’t know what ever made me think that it was wrong or shameful to ask for help but it was the best thing I ever did.
Things do get better!
I remember telling myself during those down years that if I ever came out of the hole I was in, I would make it my mission to help others do exactly the same.
There is so much of my story that I have left out as this was only meant to be a short post but in those 3 years, I managed to overcome severe depression, social anxiety, general anxiety, disassociation and more. Most importantly, I can wholeheartedly say that I am truly proud of the person I have become today.
Again the reason for me sharing my experience and struggle with depression with you is in hope that, if there is anyone out there feeling this way, that it gives you some comfort to know that things will and do get better.
No matter how you’re feeling or how bad you think things are, you can overcome and completely transform your life because… if I can do it, then you absolutely can too.
If there is anything you would like for me to talk about in another post then let me know! Or if you have a question or just simply want someone to talk to, then reach out to me. Always here.
Have you had a similar experience with depression and anxiety? and how did you overcome it?