TW: Anxiety and Depression
A wise woman once said the following to me earlier this year:
“Tomorrow is always another day. Today may have been a glorious f*ck up, but if you carry that attitude over into the next day, it’ll end in exactly the same manner.”
And those are some memorable words to live by, I think. They’ve definitely helped me through some of my toughest times. I know what you’re thinking, of course, that I’m 19-years-old – barely a minor in some people’s eyes, and how — in my mere 19 years on earth — could I have possibly lived through any really rough periods? Really the answer to that is, I haven’t. Or rather, I hadn’t up until June of this year. But stress can catch up to a limber 19-year-old, just as it can catch up to a 50-year-old workaholic or a 30-year-old unemployed person.
Without beating around the bush too much, June 2017 will always be famed (in my life, at least) for being the month the old me died a brutal death. I had a meltdown of sorts; a few people have branded it a mental breakdown, others called it a nervous breakdown, I called it sheer hell, whatever. Having suffered anxiety for most of my teenage life, I’ve always been used to that feeling of (to quote a famous vine) you better watch out, you better watch out, YOU BETTER WATCH OUT, YOU BETTER WATCH OUT! So much so, that worrying became a part of my daily routine (I used to schedule it in for 9-10:30 a.m., before my weekly trek to Burger King).
But this, for some reason, was different. It was like terminal anxiety. Death-sentence anxiety, you know? I became agoraphobic, I couldn’t leave the house without feeling like my skin had been ripped off, leaving all my vital organs ripe for the picking. I didn’t leave the house at all for two weeks, in fact. I became physically sick, starting each day hunched over the toilet dry-heaving due to the amount of time I’d spent lying awake fighting the butterflies (with my butterfly catcher, obviously). I couldn’t eat, I was dizzy 24/7, I was permanently dissociated and I couldn’t speak to anyone.
When I eventually braved up enough to acknowledge that I needed professional help, I was consequently re-diagnosed with both generalised anxiety disorder and depression, palmed off with 20mg of Fluoxetine and told to get on with my life. All this, before I’d even begun university…
When the fog in my mind eventually cleared up a bit, I decided that this was not the way I wanted to live out the rest of my life. I don’t want to spend the next 50 years trapped within the confines of my bedroom, I thought to myself. I didn’t want to look back on my life and realize that I’d been too scared to live. Really live. So that’s when I decided to swear by the motto, “Tomorrow is always another day,” because I felt like the meaning of this became lost on me somewhat after the breakdown — even though it was always effective prior to it.
As time wore on, I’ve had some bad mental health days. In fact, that’s an understatement, I’ve had some really, really sh*tty mental health days. But, I’ve had some good days too. And in the months since, I’ve been able to live my life to the full — making friends at uni, studying, partying, dating, eating, sleeping, and most excitingly, getting the opportunity to write for you, the person reading this right now.
Mental wellness is vital, and I wish you all a clear, healthy head in 2018.