It was April 2011, when I finally sought out help because I knew something was wrong. I was at LSU, and in terms of credit hours I was in my senior year but was not graduating. I struggled to maintain good grades because my focus was off. No matter how much I tried, I could not bring myself to study or pay attention in class. I did not engage in things that made me happy. I picked fights with my boyfriend at the time and would be so closed off from him. To escape what I was feeling, I would smoke weed a lot or sleep for hours even though I knew I should be studying. I constantly felt pressure and fear. There were times I would sit in my room and cry and there were nights where I would constantly toss and turn. My body would physically ache. Nobody knew what was going on, but me. I felt worthless and felt like a failure. It was easy to hide what I was going through. At one point I thought maybe I have ADHD because my mind was constantly racing so I finally sought out a neurologist. The neurologist ran several tests and did scans of my brain and concluded that I didn't have ADHD, but that I was suffering from depression and anxiety. He prescribed me lexapro and also recommend a psychologist for me to see. I went to the psychologist and over the course of two days, we did several hours of testing and she diagnosed me with Anxiety Disorder NOS with mild depression . We discussed everything from my family history to what my current state was. The psychologist gave me a list of recommendations on how to combat my anxiety and depression, such as seeking therapy, being medicated, and a list of books on activities that will help me cope. I was on lexapro, which is an anti-depressant, for almost a year before I decided to get off it because I was gaining weight from it. It did help a lot, but I wanted to find alternative ways to help myself. After being dropped from LSU, I moved to Houston for a semester by my family and worked a full-time job. My mental state became better because I was around my family and did not have the pressures of school weighing on me so heavily. My family was able to comfort me and reassure me that everything would be fine. I started to exercise and eat better, which helped my mood a lot because it made me feel better. I engaged in things that made me relaxed and I started to create a routine for myself. By making to-do-lists it was easier for me to not become stressed out or overwhelmed. I also started talking to God more which seemed to help. So many Christians believe you can pray this away, but prayer alone did not work.
I still suffer from anxiety on a daily basis, but it does not fully consume my life. I have my days when I am extremely irritable or can't focus. I feel weird some days. I am withdrawn and don't answer phone calls from family and friends. Some days I'm mentally exhausted to the point that all I want to do is sleep and some nights I'm up until 4AM over-analyzing every aspect of my life. Some days it's hard to get up because I feel the pressures of life holding me down. Last week was pretty rough for me. I had an anxiety attack and I felt so alone and overwhelmed with life. I've feared some important relationships changing in my life. I'm feeling a little better this week, but I'm not all the way well. I haven't exercised in almost three weeks or been sticking to a vegetarian diet, like I've been doing since February. I broke my routine and that pretty much triggered my anxiety to the point where it's been affecting my daily activities and productivity. I've shut down mentally a few times last month. I had a reality check with myself today because I noticed things were starting to get chaotic again. I'm glad fall break for school is coming up because I need the time to regroup, de-stress, and start my routine again. It's not an easy journey, but I'm strong enough to keep going. I'm usually vocal about a lot of things, but when it comes to dealing with anxiety it's so hard to talk about what I'm going through. What helps a lot though is talking about it to people that care about you. This isn't something you can battle completely alone. So if you know someone that is suffering from anxiety or depression, just be understanding. It's a constant struggle that we are dealing with internally and all support is appreciated.