BY: SHANNON D.
In the throes of my rock bottom with depression, anxiety, and dissociation, I began to picture the unhappiness I felt as a black sea; one of my creation, my fault, and one I’d sink deeper and deeper into as the days of lethargy lulled by. I was failing my classes, I wasn’t pursuing my hobbies, and the worst thing of all was that I communicated with next to no one.
Mom’s loving calls to me were met with the gruff, routine response of “I’m fine, don’t worry about it.” My boyfriend’s questioning of the way I’d been would be privy to my anger or complete silence. Social fears kept me from coffees, collaborations, and celebrations with friends. With each action of reclusiveness I slipped deeper and deeper into the water.
It wasn’t until I cracked at work that I truly realized I was drowning.
I was pumping gas, my glamorous job for my sophomore year of college. It was a catcall that did it. The anger I felt that I didn’t know how to express rapidly ate me from inside, the anxiety from the unwanted attention became too much. Without drawing too much attention to myself, I hid behind a stinking dumpster and called a psychologist. It felt like a low point at the time, but it was the beginning of better days to come.
For the next six months, that woman helped me back to a health I could maintain for myself. With each self-care technique, every bit of knowledge on coping techniques I learned from her, I began the long swim back to the surface. I was done with floating in the abyss.
To say that becoming happy again was a solo endeavor would be selfish. I may have swam on my own, but the hands that reached in to help were invaluable in my recovery. These were the people who were willing to listen to me, cry with me, and learn with me to make me feel okay again.
What I never thought in the ocean was that any of those people were there. Meeting and working with my psychologist was the first step; as time passed, it seemed like people came right out of the woodwork to help me. Now I can truly say that I’m happy and well again, that the worst of it is over. I’m cruising on the surface of a sea that isn’t so stormy anymore, one that’s actually quite beautiful. Sure, bad days happen and phases occur, but I know now that with the effort of myself and the help of my loved ones I will always be alright.
My point here is that you may seem stranded in your ocean too. Please don’t feel that way. You are never alone, and you never will be alone. Reach out to others for a life vest and they will be happy to give it to you. If someone isn’t treating you right, find someone else, because there’s always someone else.
Don’t ever feel like you have to go about your illness by yourself. The sea is calm and beautiful at the surface, and there are plenty of people out there willing to make sure you see it.