"How therapy helped me overcome my battle with depression, anxiety and OCD" One GL girl's story
CONTENT WARNING: This post discusses depression and anxiety, which may be distressing for some readers.
You've heard it before and it's kinda cliche, but truly "everyone is fighting a battle we cannot see." Maybe it's your bestie, maybe it's your mom. In literally any and every setting, people are battleing mental illness. A lot of us don't talk about it, but I'm ready to share my story. Here is how I fought and survived depression, anxiety and OCD.
When you are fighting depression, life becomes muted. Colors grow dim and life feels grey. Even when I was surrounded by classmates, I felt so alone.
It all seems bearable, or even exaggerated until you are the one going through it. These thoughts are not mine. They are a product of my mental illness. My whole life, for as long as I can remember, I have dealt with random waves of emptiness. They lasted weeks, sometimes months. I isolated myself but would pretend I felt fine.
This went on until senior year, when I had finally suffered enough that my friends started pointing out my suspicious behavior. But for some reason, for all of those years fighting alone, I survived. This is largely because of the positive role models in my life who sought help for their mental illnesses. They helped inspire me to wait it out, be patient with myself and eventually get help. So, when I felt ready, I decided to ask my family for professional help.
I am now in my second year of therapy, and in my first year with my psychiatrist. And I can honestly say that my life has improved in every way possible. In the beginning, therapy was scary, but opening up to my therapist about my mental illness has helped me to explore my mind and how I am capable of healing.
We discuss healthy coping mechanisms, and we talk until we uncover the roots of my problems—why I think and act the way I do. We also decided that taking medication was part of my own path. Yes, I am still a completely normal teenager. Yes, I'm also still fighting, but a large part of the burden has been lifted. If you are battling your own mind every day, reach out to a trusted adult and get help. It will change your life.
Advice to those seeking help:
Asking for help can make you feel small, weak and invalid. These emotions are so normal and moving past them is the first step in healing. I had to overcome my reservations when asking my parents to get me a therapist. Here is my advice in asking for help if you are nervous to do so:
Take it one step at a time: Asking your loved ones in one-on-one situations can make the whole process less intimidating. If you are nervous about one guardian being less supportive, tell the other one first so they can be on your side.
Do your research: Figure out the type of help you need before asking for it. Are you looking for talk therapy? Are you seeking medicine? Doing some research on the benefits of both can help you make your requests for help more specific. If you're not sure where to begin, ask your primary care doctor. They can help give you recommendations and point you in the right direction.
Speak to other trusted adults first: Speaking with a grandparent, cousin or even a teacher can also be helpful in gathering your thoughts and serve as practice for asking your parents or guardians for mental health treatment.
There is no right or wrong way to ask for help. You know yourself best. Go about it in a way in which you are most comfortable. But also remember that asking for help is normal, it is human, and it is vital to heal.
If you are struggling and need to talk to someone...
Text "HELLO" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. A counselor will connect with you and provide support and information.
If you have suicidal thoughts...
Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 now. This confidential crisis line is available 24/7.