Sequin Gowns & Mermaid Crowns : My Journey with Depression

Monday, October 30, 2017

My Journey with Depression

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and thought I'd share my story. I feel like I'm an open book, so if I can in any way help others who are suffering from depression and/or anxiety than it's totally worth opening up about!

I was talking with my mom the other day about my journey with depression. She has had it for a long time, as well as my aunt so it runs in the family. I do want to put a quick disclaimer in saying that I have not been clinically diagnosed with depression or anxiety, but the shoe fits. I do also suffer from anxiety, which I will touch on, but I want to focus on depression for this particular post!

One of the things I brought up was the fact that I didn't realize that I was suffering from severe depression until way after I came out of it. It's almost like an out of body experience, looking back on myself now with fresh eyes. I didn't really start to experience depression until college. I had a lot on my plate: I was away from home for the first time, living on my own for the first time and dealing with the stress of classes and meeting new people. I think I was alright for the first few years because it was such a unique and exciting experience. However, I also traveled home once a month to visit which probably helped the situation.

My senior year is really when I can recall first experiencing severe symptoms of depression. At the time I blamed it all on being stressed out. I am a perfectionist (#anxiety) so stress comes quite easy for me. So having so many things to worry about and big responsibilities, like designing makeup for A Midsummer Night's Dream, just tipped me over the edge. Plus I was working two jobs and had a lot of drama with friends. It was pretty rough. And I also didn't get to visit home as much because I simply didn't have time.

To the symptoms. I didn't want to do anything. And I mean anything. Just getting out of bed half of the time was an absolute chore. I was constantly sick, whether it was a cold or allergies or just feeling like my whole body was hit by a Mac truck. I missed class a lot, called out from meetings and work, flaked out on spending time with friends and spent a lot of time watching marathons of Bar Rescue. Through it all, I really just thought I was tired from running all the time and that my body couldn't handle it. I was suffering and I didn't know why. I wanted to do all of these things, but my body just wouldn't let me. One of the things I want to note is that, although it is common, I didn't often feel sad. I did have certain days when I felt sad for no reason, which I could recognize. But more often than not, I just felt oppressive fatigue more on the end of nothingness. Just general "blah." I can't recall feeling much else, honestly.  I also gained a lot of weight, which I attributed to stress and eating crap. Not so much.

It wasn't until my mom pointed it out that I realized I was in a deep, dark battle with depression. My parents came down for a visit and my mom sat me down and said, "you're really angry." Now if you know me at all, you know that I am not an angry person. I'm probably one of the most chill people you know. But at this point at time I was the freakin' Hulk. Any little thing set me off, and the fact that I didn't notice until someone else did is a little scary. How can your entire personality shift without you even realizing? My biggest issue was that even though my mom had explained depression to me in the past, I was so far deep that I couldn't even recognize the symptoms. Luckily, that conversation with my mom was enough to wake me up and realize what was going on. Just being armed with that knowledge of what triggered me and what I was feeling, I was able to combat it and heal.

I think moving back home definitely helped. It alleviated a lot of my stress, and being with my family always makes me happy. I slowly got better and am lucky to have not experienced a really bad episode like that in many years. However, in retrospect, I so wish I had figured it out sooner. I missed a lot of opportunities and my schoolwork and relationships suffered as well. Part of me wishes I could get a do over for that year, but everything happens for a reason. I think I needed to experience that so that when I start to fall into that rabbit hole again I am ready to pull myself out. I haven't felt the need to get medication for my depression, since it is pretty mild at this point. My anxiety on the other hand is a different story, one that is for another day. With depression, I find that I am able to recognize my patterns and I prevent it by really taking care of myself mentally.

I still have to fight sometimes to get out of bed in the morning, but at least now I can tell the difference between depression weighing me down and just plain 'ol exhaustion! I'm happy to share my story and help you guys understand that depression is not always totally apparent. If any of you want to share your stories, ask/share advice, or just need someone to talk to I am always here! We can chat in the comments, or you can message me privately through my Facebook page!

XO, Briana

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