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My Experience with Depression and Anxiety

Quick Background

I don’t think I’ve explicitly stated this in any post but I suffer from depression and anxiety. I had a feeling something was off about halfway through my freshmen year of college. I was studying in the library with a few of my friends and out of the blue I mentioned how I’ve been really sad most of the time moments while having very few happy moments. A few weeks later, I had my first big anxiety attack. I didn’t know what I had experienced until I started taking an intro to psychology course the next year. Unfortunately I didn’t know at the time but I’d already been dealing with on and off mild depression since I was a young child.

Fast forward to now, I have been diagnosed with Chronic Depression. I don’t like to think of it as “Ashlee is always sad.” Rather, I just need to work harder than others to be happy. Unfortunately, happiness or joy does not feel like they are naturally within me. I have to work toward cultivating them and maintaining it on a daily basis. It’s like a clock that I has to be restarted every day.

Cause

The short answer: mostly genetics with a dose of unfortunate past events and my current stressors.

Long Answer: I could write a whole post on this but I don’t want to waste you’re time with a a lengthy explanation. But if you are interested to know, let me know in the comments below.

My symptoms

  • My baseline emotion is lethargic. Most of my day I’m pretty much going through the motions.
  • I have about 15 random hobbies that I drop all the time. I start them knowing I need to be active but I lose interest and enjoyment in many things quickly. So I constantly change which one I’m on.
  • Excessive sleep almost every day. 8 hrs is never enough!
  • I don’t even want to talk about anxiety. It’s too much to say.

But hey! My life isn’t all bad. My treatments for depression and anxiety are usually really fun and exciting. As I said before, I have to actively find happiness so I have to create happy moments.

My Treatments

Self-Care

These are the voluntary and planned actions or events that I schedule into my daily life. Sometimes, self-care looks like taking myself out to eat or buying food from my favorite delivery spot, which is usually Indian or any East Asian spot. Mango sticky rice is my shit. But less a extravagant example of self-care is making sure I go to bed on time or earlier than usual to make sure I go to bed on time.

But I have a few other specific examples within the Self-Care Tab on the home page. Or if you’re interested, click here.

Therapy

I love my therapist because she is so personal. I know what you’re thinking that therapists are not supposed to have a personally relationship with their clients but I probably wouldn’t trust her if. couldn’t see her as a person who is a part of my life. Like how am I supposed to open up to someone who doesn’t open up to me like a genuine person.

Any who…I love that I can see myself in her since she’s a natural black women. I can talk to her about my issues of being a woman, issues as a black person and issues of being someone who has natural hair and a vegan diet.

Code switching is so exhausting. I don’t understand how anyone could deal with mental health problems while hiding a piece of themselves from their confidant.

Medication

So I’ve only been on this mess for 3 weeks and I already feel out of control of my body. BUT I have been told that it takes even longer than this to truly take antidepressants to truly work. No worries, I’m not giving up.

Overall

I’m good. I have a great support system because I’m 100% transparent with my immediate family, my  3 best friends, and my significant other. Additionally, I strive to balance between venting to them versus asking for solutions to my mental health. I say this because it is my responsibility to find happiness within myself not within others as my therapist (no one else) counsels me along the way.

Side Note:

I didn’t mention religion as treatment because I believe I need more than prayer to heal. And I believe God is in charge of giving me strength to put in the work. Also, I’m currently skeptical how much I know about God. I’m just saying, Colonizers lied about a lot things so people of color would be controlled. Why wouldn’t they lie about this too.

I’m just saying.

Update!

If you have some extra time. Check out my video on how I deal with depression specifically.

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