So besides the fact that it’s Holiday season and I work in major NYC retail which is one of the main reasons I have been M.I.A from the blog scene, there is something I have been toying with sharing with you all. I am an honest and open person, so I decided I would share what I felt I could. I also felt that in light of the tragedy that happened to those poor children in Connecticut, light should be shed on mental health illnesses. There seems to be a major stigma with them, some sort of fear or brushing them under the rug because they are so hard to pin point and sometimes hard to believe someone could be dealing with. But I don’t to be another person hush-hushing what so many of us out there deal with on a daily basis. I can only hope that this post will help someone else out there seek the help that they deserve.
For most of my life and especially teenage-adult life, I have suffered from varying degrees of depression and anxiety. As far back as middle school, I remember feeling “off” and feelings of sadness and unworthiness that I couldn’t shake. I never went to an actual therapist but I would talk to my primary care doctor and she never seemed worried, just kind of brushed it off as being a teenager going through changes. I always had a great group of friends, a close family and nothing really to complain about. My weight always bothered me especially going into high school and finally when I was 17 and felt my depression was out of my control my doctor prescribed me an anti-depressant at a very low dose. Within a week, I felt a lot better but not completely different, which I thought was a good thing. I had been afraid of going on any medicine for fear that it would make me a different person, but this just eased my anxiety and gave me a lot of energy which I had been lacking. After a few short months on it, I didn’t think I needed it any longer and since it was such a low dose I didn’t need to get off of it slowly. I was just able to stop taking it.
Throughout the years after high school, I put on more and more weight and dealt with practically crippling anxiety for a few months in the spring of 2009, right before I gained control and lost weight. I was dealing with tons of mixed emotions all through my weight loss, and even once I got (below) my goal weight, a whole new set of problems appeared. I became obsessed with controlling my calorie intake and obsessively exercising, and only felt worthy if I went to bed eating far too little food. Of course this led to months of binging, into 2012 where I dealt with my greatest loss of all- the death of my grandma this past February. Ever since that day, it has been a struggle for me to even get out of bed most days. I can’t get into detail regarding other areas of my life, but this year has felt like my entire world as I knew it was shattered into a million pieces. Granted, amazing things have happened to me this year but I have gone through the motions and never felt how I should all year. I have tried time and time again to pick myself up, start over, “get back on track” and I feel like I have such little control of my emotions that I snap constantly. I go to bed optimistic that the next day will be better, but wake up and have no hope before I even get out of bed. This has led me to get sick more times in the last 3 months that I’ve been in the last 3 years. My body is essentially shutting down and I finally accepted that I need to reach out for help for myself. This was by far one of the hardest things for me to ever do. After losing 110 pounds, I should be able to do anything for myself, right? Apparently I was wrong.
I have been going to a therapist a few times for the last few weeks and she confirmed my other greatest fear. I simply cannot control everything the way I want to, and she is sure that I am suffering from a chemical imbalance/mood disorder that can only be corrected with medicine. One thing she said to me that really hit me hard is that I don’t have to live and feel like this. There are solutions. A low dose of an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medicine can simply take away the bad and leave the good. The one I tried when I was 17 proved to help but I didn’t need it the way I need it now. I would never judge anyone at any age who is taking an anti-depressant, but for some reason I felt so ashamed admitting that I need help.
I truly try to come off as someone who is happy and at least approachable, and I don’t like to project my mood or feelings on others as to ruin their mood. I am lucky to have some of the best people ever in my life who never make me feel like a burden. However at some point your friends, as amazing as they are, can only offer so much advice before the next step has to be taken. I have never felt any feelings of harming myself or others, just a disclaimer, but that isn’t the point anyone should get to before they seek help. We are supposed to feel happy and fulfilled and everyone has the right to that. A chemical imbalance is not something any of us can help if we suffer with it. Relating to health and fitness, I think this is the main reason I have been unable to get my stress eating under control this year. These 15 pounds that bother me every day and I want so badly to lose, I can’t muster up the motivation to get there because I am buried with anxiety. Almost every minute of my day is a struggle the last few months and I know that is not the way I should feel!
Mental illnesses need to be taken more seriously and need to have the shame erased from it. I am happy I have taken the (scary) approach to seek help for myself. I hope that this will inspire someone who is afraid to do the same. You are worth it!