I feel as though I should talk about my depression and anxiety. Talking about it helps me understand it more myself, and it feels good to talk about something that is less of a battle for me now. Don't get me wrong, I am still an anxious person. But not like I was.
Lets go back to college. I was terrified to go. Home was two and a half hours away, and I'm pretty sure I spent every night that first week sobbing in my dorm, getting little to no sleep. It's worth mentioning that I had what was called a "quad", meaning that we had three rooms: a common room, and two bedrooms, shared among four people. Being the only freshman in my quad (I went in blind and ended up with three sophomores, but they don't factor into this much), I was by myself for the entire first week orientation of school. Being in a room like that alone with literally no other people was terrible. I think it wouldn't be great for anyone. I also have a fear of fire drills (long story) that has lessened somewhat these days, but in that time I was terrified that one would happen at night. That first week was very difficult for me.
College gradually got easier. That's what I tell anyone who is homesick... it gets easier. The longer you stay away, the more friends you make... it gets better. Sophomore year, my best friend Steve from high school chose WMU as his university, and I was ecstatic. It was great, having him with me at school. I still miss those days. I can't recall any ridiculous anxiety episodes from that year.
Junior year, I think it all started to go down the tubes. I began taking birth control pills for medical reasons, and anyone who has been on BC knows that it might take a few different levels of chemicals to get it right for you. Well, my first one was a disaster. I recall talking to Steve online and freaking the hell out. I didn't know what what going on, but I was uncontrollably sobbing, and everything was awful. He convinced me to come to his dorm and I spent most of the night there on his futon trying to chill out. Finally, I recall him saying something along the lines of "Hey, don't birth control pills cause mood swings sometimes?" ding ding ding! Steve wins. I changed BC, and everything was okay.
I still had episodes. I didn't like to take the train, because I would have to stand up and have my bag ready to go a good 10 minutes before we got to our stop, so nervous that I would miss it. Going to class meant that I was the first one there every day, because I arrived 30 minutes early at least. I didn't go out to party on the weekends, because the crowds made me nervous, and I was underage anyway, which meant doing something that I could get caught doing. Still, it was okay. I could deal with that. I was quirky.
Senior year I had two distinct episodes. I was living with Steve at the time and two others. In the fall of that year I don't recall much about it, except that I had apparently said something to my mom that worried her so much that that weekend she decided to come visit for the day just to see how things were going. That helped, and it settled down. Sometime in my last semester, things got a little nuts. Nuts enough that I can't even remember the details, such as what month it was or how long it lasted, or even if I went to class. I can remember being awake at four in the morning and going outside and standing in a snowdrift for some time in only pajamas (no socks, mind you) because I could not get enough air. And I also remember being sent home from class by my other roomie, Shannon, because I looked like hell ran over me. I laid in my bed for a long time that day, and listened to Steve and our friend Molly have fun in the kitchen, totally unaware that I was in my room sobbing quietly. Eventually I think they heard me or something, because Steve came in to find out what was going on. I basically told him nothing and I'm sure I freaked him out a little.
I think the scariest night for me was the night that I completely lost control of my own mind and really thought about suicide. It's a tough thing for me to admit. I decided to go into the counseling center and seek help. I did end up going to counseling, but shortly before my appointments started, my terrible time stopped. I don't remember if it was gradual or sudden, but it ended. I almost didn't go through with the counseling, but I'm glad I did. My doctor prescribed me a low dose of a benzodiazapene to take during panic attacks, but I declined any sort of anti depressant. After all, I didn't feel that way all the time, right?
Fast forward now. Grad school. Very stressful. Bad grades sent me spiraling down when they happened. I was fairly lonely even though I was living at home. Finally, in my last semester, Cari, my wealth of insight and knowledge, and basically my go-to support told me that she really thought that medication could help me. So the next time I went to the doctor I told her about how I was feeling, and I got Zoloft. It changed my life. I didn't feel sick all the time anymore. I could sleep at night. I was rested, I was happy, I was balanced. It helped that I had started to eat right at the same time, so there was just happiness.
I still need my benzo when I have my occasional attacks. This summer right after I moved to Florida I was having a few bad nights, but I made it through. Lately this job that I am not enjoying as much as I thought I would is causing a lot of stress and anxiety. But I am making it through.
Overall, I just like to let people know that it's okay to talk about your "crazies", as I like to call them. We all have them. Some people can easily manage them, and then some of us need a little help. But I am not embarrassed about mine, nor do I think I should be. I like to share my story, and it helped me to see a counselor when I felt like I was going to be swallowed up by all my anxieties. For me, taking an SSRI has saved me.
This is also the longest entry ever.