Terça-feira, 21/5/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

Coming to peace with my anxiety and depression

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Poetry has been one of my main coping skills. The poetry book pictured above contains a majority of my pieces. Photo courtesy of Lisa Hicks

I constantly felt like I lived in isolation. No one tried to discover what was truly inside of me, but instead judged me like a book. I didn’t even understand myself, let alone know how I should be labeled. The last five years, I lived in complete misery, pretending to be someone I wasn’t instead of trying to figure out who I was. By the beginning of my junior year, I had hit my lowest point yet. I felt just like Humpty Dumpty as he fell off the wall. I continued to go through life letting my mind and emotions define me as a person. I walked around feeling completely, utterly empty; I constantly had a large knot in the back of my throat trying to tell me to cry even though there were no more tears inside of me. No one knew who I really was, not even my closest friends.

If you only knew me, you would think that I had lots of friends, with my high spirit, constant giggling, and how many people talked to me with ease. I didn’t truly have friends though, just mere acquaintances who talked to me out of convenience (or so I thought). As I believed no one truly cared about me, I showed a masked side of me, which I built to hide the darkest parts of and disclose an altered, happier version.  I underestimated the few people who were my true friends, assuming that just liked the others they simply saw me as a nuisance.

Amidst the people who didn’t notice that I was struggling, I had one friend who did recognize I wasn’t acting right. I didn’t realize people did care until one night I got quite a blatant text from her asking if I was depressed. She noticed that I rarely ate, never seemed happy, had a negative outlook, and began to show less interest in the things I loved. Knowing that there was someone out there who paid attention to my behavior made me realize that I wasn’t alone.

The mentioned friend and I attended last year’s trip to Stratford, Canada together. The town had multiple gates, doors, and walls all of us students found aesthetically pleasing and took tons of photos in front of. Photo by Jenna Davison

Once she asked me if I was depressed, I realized that I needed to stop lying to her and to myself. The thought I might be depressed was one that lingered in my head a lot, I just never defined myself as depressed because there was no reason to. I had feared what the title may do to me, how my parents and comrades may react. She listened to everything that I told her and genuinely cared about me and what I had to say. She made me realize among all the fake people around me, there were real, honest ones out there. I spilt all of my deepest, darkest secrets to her; she become my personal vault, my human diary and my best friend.

I needed to come to peace with what I was dealing with, I needed to find myself, I needed to decipher what I was, I needed to find why I wanted to live. I refused to admit that I was struggling with something that was inside of me. My friend helped me realize that there were ways to cope with what I was dealing with instead of simply wallowing in self pity. She convinced me I needed people to help me if I ever wanted to get in control of my feelings. She is the reason I told my parents, the reason I went to the doctor, and the reason that I am now medicated.

The feelings of self hate, paranoia of failing, and the curiosities of death that I was accustomed to living in my mind day and night began to vanish. I found myself leaning towards the bright side of things, instead of constantly living in dark isolation. For once in all of high school, I was able to make real friends and show my true self, the self doctors and medication helped me recover.

All thanks to my friend, I started to come to terms with who I was and became content with the fact I was depressed and was struggling. It is important to be able to be open with yourself and your friends, and figured that out before it was too late. I am now open with who I am, and have realized who my true friends are. Now I still struggle with depression and anxiety, but I stopped letting them define me. I tell my friend everything and when I’m struggling she gives me advice, a shoulder to cry on and an open ear.

Once I realized what I was dealing with I was able to figure out who I truly was as a person. Although I have run a 5K with myself and my emotions I still have to run the marathon. I no longer change who I am just to fit in. I know who my real friends are and no longer feel like the odd one out. Depression and anxiety may be a part of what I am, but they are not who I am. I just needed the right friend to help me get to a place where I admit my faults but don’t let them control my life.

Courtney Pedersen

My name is Courtney Pedersen and I'm a senior. For the Reflection I primarily write news and feature stories. I am the news and media editor. I also am heavily involved in TAB, PAC, Spanish Club and the literary magazine.


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