Picking yourself up

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March 2018. I woke up and my jaw was shaking — my whole body was shaking. I sat up in my bed and stayed there for a couple of minutes trying to wake up. I swung my feet down on the tile floor and tried to lift myself off the bed. I took one step forward and crumpled to the ground. I stayed there for a while.
My doctor warned me the side effects would be intense, but I had no idea how awful I would feel. I had to force myself off of the ground to get ready. I hadn’t told anyone because a small part of me was embarrassed that I had to rely on grey and white pills to be happy at 17. It took me a while to admit that I was depressed because I reduced the feeling to just teen angst.

I didn’t realize I was in the minority that was too exhausted to eat food. I unintentionally lost 20 pounds within a span of two months. Only then did I stop to realize my daily food intake was one bowl of peaches and cream oatmeal.

***

November 2017. Irritability and anxiety was becoming a part of my routine, a constant state of mind. Simple things were causing intense and consuming panic attacks. I was running late to school the first time a panic attack affected me behind the wheel. I fumbled with my keys, spilt my hot coffee all over the kitchen floor and slipped on the mess. As I ran out the front door, tears were already forming in my eyes. I slammed on the acceleration. I swerved into the parking lot as my hands painfully gripped the steering wheel. Once I parked I hit the dashboard repeatedly. A sob left my throat as I leaned my head down on the wheel and brought my arms around myself.
Thankfully, my doctor knew something wasn’t right when I explained. He handed me a clipboard with a piece of paper labeled  “Adolescent Depression Analysis.” After seeing my answers he continued to ask questions. I know the questions were meant to help, but they made me feel like a statistic, and the prescription for antidepressants made me feel like a disappointment.

Admitting that I wanted the medication was tough. I was so nervous to tell my friends after I went on the medication. I hate to admit when I need help and this was not an exception. Despite my fears everyone took it well. I never truly doubted they would.

The first week was awful. I felt more drained than I ever had, but I was so desperate to get better that I didn’t care about a week or two of pure exhaustion. The results of the first month shocked me. I was finally able to breathe. I felt as though, I wasn’t able to exhale until that medicine.

***

June 2018. I rubbed my eyes as I rolled over to look at my phone. I jolted up when I noticed it was already 7:15 a.m. and I needed to leave in 25 minutes. I walked to the bathroom and washed my face before changing. I began pouring my coffee when I realized I wasn’t jittery and in a panic. I was calm while I was running late. I couldn’t wrap my head around the drastic change, but it gave me butterflies. I was able to rush without getting flustered. I grabbed my keys and headed out the door with a bright smile. That was the first moment my progress was clear.

Medication is not the only answer, nor does it work for everyone, but it saved my mental health. The hardest part about having depression and anxiety is picking yourself off the floor. Finally being able to ask for help was my first step to healing and I am very grateful that I took it.

 

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