My History and Experiences with Depression and Anxiety

My History and Experiences with Depression and Anxiety

I don’t even know why I’m on here. I don’t even know if anyone will read anything I write. My boyfriend encouraged me to start this because he says I always have a lot to talk about and a lot of things to discuss. Things. I hate that word. It’s so broad, like what does it truly mean? But I guess he’s right because I already have a lot to say. I’ll get right into it.

I’ll start with the fact that I have depression and anxiety disorder. Don’t roll your eyes. I’m not one of those girls who just throw those words around lightly because their boyfriend just broke up with them or because they believe they just have it since they relate to 13 Reasons Why. I literally have it. I have diagnosed with it 2 years ago, actually, and it was like this weight off of my chest because I finally knew that I wasn’t crazy. My parents always told me it was all in my head, but having someone else tell me that I’m not alone and that it will get better just made me feel more hopeful. I have lost friendships because of my mental illness, and job opportunities. I have lost athletic scholarship opportunities because I got into my head and listened to the girls who bullied me and the coaches who benched me and told me I wasn’t good enough. But maybe that was my fault because I had a problem relating to the girls since they were so confident and optimistic. While they were talking about new clothing or boy problems at school, I was sitting there questioning whether or not they thought I was weird, or awkward, or simply just unlikable. One wrong facial expression or reaction from them would make me question everything I said. “Was it my tone? Was I too serious with that joke? Did I make a weird facial expression? Why are they staring at my mouth?” So I’d separate myself from them.

The worst moment I had that still haunts me today was when I thought I was actually making friends and I felt confident in myself with my teammates on my volleyball team. They said they had some “team bonding” activity they wanted to do before a practice one night where we all write constructive criticism anonymously, put them in a pile, hand them out, read them, and move on. I wrote ONE letter to one of our players saying she was great but I think that moving her feet would help her with the fast balls. I got the entire pile. It was full of hate remarks saying I was a bitch, and I wasn’t good enough to be on the team. People said I had an attitude and that I was unlikeable and that I needed to keep some of their names out of “my damn mouth.” But I rarely gossiped at all. When I had frustrations, I’d go to my mom because I would have panic attacks and I needed someone to talk sense into everything I was creating in my mind.

After our team captain took the pile from me and asked me if I was ever going to talk about her again (petty detail, I know), I hid in the bathrooms and called my parents. Both of my parents showed up, including my father who was ready to get in someone’s face. They spoke to me, the girls, the assistant director of my branch of the club, the HEAD director of the whole club, and my coaches who told the girls to do it to me without them there. No one was disciplined for it. All they did was tell the girls to apologize, and my parents told me not to quit because that’s what the girls wanted me to do. The other girl that was being bullied quit. She told me everything and was going through the same thing that I was. We were both pretty happy to always room together even though we knew that the other girls did it on purpose. I was kind of upset when she told me she wasn’t coming back after a tournament ended. I had five more months of volleyball after that. Following several other events, I dropped all of my potential athletic scholarships to universities, my dreams of playing professionally, and my will to even practice as hard as I was on the weekends. All because their words had affected my mindset, my motivation, and my self-esteem. And I know that all sounds kind of stupid, but it was very traumatic for me as a teenager. I was too young to figure out how to handle a situation like that. Instead, I put up with being bullied and pushed around for the next 5 months. I could go on and on about the details that went on throughout those months, but that should honestly be a separate post. In the beginning, I felt blind-sited but by the end I felt drained and defeated. My coaches even benched me for the rest of the season after the night my parents came. They gave me an entire paper full of columned bullet points of things I needed to improve on because they “no longer saw the girl who tried out for the team.” When our final game ended, I left immediately without saying goodbye.

During my first year of college,  I had flunked out of my first year at a university because I felt too stupid for college level courses when I failed the first few tests. I ended up not going to my classes or not showing up for a final because my negative thoughts were flooding my mind and making me believe that I could never be the girl that everyone thought was smart. I have anxiety attacks almost every day and I worry about my health every frickin’ hour because all of my relatives have died from cancer and my uncle just passed a way from heart failure. It’s scary to think how short life can be. What if I died not fulfilling anything in life, or what if I died without realizing my worth?

Within the same year of failing my classes, I had a relationship with a guy who I met at work. This is the second biggest mistake of my life. (Not pursuing my collegiate athletic career is my first.) This guy started out being the closest thing to Prince Charming. After a while though, he made my depression even worse, to the point to where I stopped going to school, stopped talking to all of my friends, and stopped believing in myself entirely. He said I was an idiot, irresponsible, pointed out every single flaw my body had and reminded me about them daily. He babied me and would use words that he probably didn’t even understand. He’d always ask me if I knew what they meant, and if I said that I didn’t then he’d make me look it up just to remind me how small my mind is. My parents called me one night and told me that they were going to pay for therapy for me. They both realized how my behavior was changing. My social media had red flags of depression, my posts were darker, I was avoiding their calls and texts more often. But what my mom realized the most was that my laugh was gone. They always told me that if I needed help then I need to do it on my own, but $75 a week for a session that was only one hour long was something my pocket couldn’t afford. Within 2 months, my parents told me they couldn’t help me financially anymore, so I decided to live paycheck to paycheck just to fork over almost $400 a month for self-help.

Within a year, I started going back to school. I had high school teachers call me dumb and tell me that they didn’t think I was going to be successful in college only because they caught me texting in class. Yet, somehow I’m excelling in the Biomedical Sciences program at the University of Central Florida. I’m only a part-time student, and yes it’s taking me four years to complete my two-year degree, but what matters is that I’m doing it and that I believe in myself again. School makes me feel good about myself and it makes me feel hopeful about what my future holds and for who I want to be-WILL be one day.

So anyway, this is my first post,  word vomiting about the little negative thoughts and memories that go through my mind every day. It won’t always be like this, obviously. I just wanted to write about my past and my history and what really makes me sit on this couch and feel like “I can’t.” But as of today, August 24th, 2017, I’ve decided that I will no longer let anxiety and depression define me. What kind of life would that be if I let it dictate my life’s decisions? I am not depression or anxiety, I am me, and this blog is my road to managing my illnesses and overcoming obstacles to become a more beautiful and better version of myself. But first, I need to find a job.