Everyone's mental illness journey looks different, it depends from case to case and person to person. Even depression itself can look vastly different in two people--some can be diagnosed with clinical depression while others can be diagnosed with high functioning depression. Mine was the latter, combined with moments of anxiety.
There were lots of signs that pushed me to book an appointment with a therapist and it was actually my closest friends who convinced me to take this step. Every day is a fight even today. My friends and family have been my constant support system through it all.
While doctors and medication can help to a certain amount, at the end of the day you have to put in all the effort to get better.
Disclaimer: While friends and family seem like they can really help you, some of them won't understand and that's okay, you don't have to carry this burden. After everything, you've to fix yourself and make changes in your life, no one can do it for you.
Even when I locked myself up in my room, cried when absolutely nothing was wrong, spoke about abstract concepts of grief and sadness that engulfed me so completely--they listened to me. They answered my 3 am phone calls and let me cry it out. They would constantly keep in touch with me and say, "It seems like you're struggling a bit lately. Want to talk about it?"
There were days that I couldn't get out of bed and the physical symptoms of anxiety took over my life. My chest would thump loudly, I would toss and turn in my sleep all night, wake up with heart palpitations and throw up everything I had eaten the previous day. My best friend would walk into my room and without a word would hug me and pat my head till I slept back. Cuddling and hugging releases oxytocin, making me feel a little less alone on a night when the darkness would seep into the ridges of my bones.
Friends can do a lot but sometimes they're much too emotionally invested in the situation to look at it from an outsider's perspective. The BEST thing my friends did at the time was to convince me to find a good therapist and take the first step towards recovery.
Even now when I think of the amount my friends did for me, my eyes well up with tears. They would wait for me when I wanted time away from everything, planned trips with me when the humdrum of the city was getting too much, they sat at home with me when I couldn't move out of the house--they showed the hell up!
I'm sure I was a bit much when I was deeply feeling my grief and it was too much for one person to handle. Another thing they did was make sure I knew what their boundaries were- they made sure I knew that they had had a bad day at work so that I don't dump my emotional burden on them. This way, I also knew that they were taking care of themselves.
Many times I would feel like my life had turned into such a way that the clouds of gloom would never pass--this is who I had become now. However, they always knew that this too shall pass. They held me close to them and told me to feel all my feelings and know that the dawn isn't far away.
Many days I canceled on plans just an hour before I was supposed to meet people, there were days I wanted to drink till I would blackout and find comfort in strangers' arms- all through it my friends treated me with empathy, kindness, and patience. They never judged my actions but called me out when they felt like I was putting myself in harm's way.
Many nights my best friends would receive phone calls from me when I'd be in tears, ready to end everything because I felt like I was drowning so wholly in my feelings. There were many days that I truly believed that I was a burden on everyone I knew, they listened to and then reminded me that there was still hope in the world. They told me that at the end of winter buds to manage to bloom in the winter.
Tight hugs to everyone who helped, you know who you are!
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