Many of us are silently suffering from our mental battles. We don't usually know how to cope up at first without experiencing the same agony over and over again. But how do we actually deal with this?
Some people opt to look online on how to survive their first anxiety attacks. On the other hand, some seek professional help from a psychologist or a psychiatrist. However, most people just choose to endure it until they feel okay again, which makes their situation worse, most of the time.
You may ask why enduring it would worsen their mental condition. Well, this is my answer. I have been taking anti-depressants for almost 11 months now. I endured all my anxiety attacks for more than two years but it only worsened my condition. Let me share first how I was able to understand how my anxiety attacks affected not just my life, but also my relationships with other people.
When I first had my anxiety attack, I didn't know back then that that was it. I just thought I was tired. I thought I was just fed up with my daily routine as a student. But as years passed by, I slowly understood that mental disorders are real. I always tell people that even though it is not happening to you, doesn't mean it's not real. Because, believe me or not, it is real and it is my worst reality. Ok back to my story.
During my first year into law school, I usually study at night, even in the morning actually. Haha. It came to a point where I would just suddenly cry without knowing the reason. I got confused. I thought I was stressed. Well, it was stress, mainly. But then, it continued. Until I just got used to it. There are nights I would not be able to study because I felt sad for no reason. Sometimes, I would wake up crying because I would imagine that there would be an earthquake, or a fire that would cause destruction to my house. There were also times that I would imagine someone would die.
And then it hit me, SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY MIND. Yes, with my mind, not with my entire self. It was hard to accept that at first, but I have learned that the first step to healing is to acknowledge that something needs to be healed. So what I did is to tell my younger sister given that she might understand me as a medical student. I was so scared to tell other people about my condition because I fear they might not believe me. She then told me I should consult a psychologist. I didn't do it right away because I was scared it might be something serious that would cause worry and problems to my parents. But then I had observed how I acted towards other people. I was always grumpy without noticing it. I was always pushing people away because I wanted to be alone. I didn't know I was like that, not at all. And I expected them to understand me without realizing that I was the one who's at fault.
There was one night where I was contemplating what will happen to me in the future if I continue enduring this. Because I know in myself that I need help. I told my mom about it and then she told my dad right after. They told me that maybe I should take a rest from schooling because it could be stress or that if I need to see a doctor, then we'll go find one. I then booked for an appointment for my first consultation. I didn't know what I was feeling at that time but all I remember is that I want to be healed. This condition has already caused me too much pain. It has caused me to steer away from my friends and other important people in my life.
So during my consultation with a psychologist, I was diagnosed with Major Depression and Anxiety Disorder (MDAD). To be honest, when I heard that, I felt relieved. Because finally, there was a label to it. I knew what I was feeling and it's no longer assumptions. She then told me that counselling won't help me and I needed to see a Psychiatrist for medications. So this is where our main title is gonna be discussed. Haha. I hope you're still with me here.
I looked for a psychiatrist online and found one. I visited her clinic and cried a lot during my first appointment. It was the hardest session for me because it wasn't easy to open up but she helped me through it. She then prescribed two kinds of medicine: the anti-depressant and the anxiolytic (helps reduce anxiety). The anti-depressant caused me headaches and drowsiness during my first weeks of taking them. The anxiolytic causes the same drowsiness, minus the headache. My body got used to it after months of taking but it took me a long time to understand how my body reacts to the medications.
After three months of taking anti-depressants, I experienced hair loss and weight loss. I talked to my doctor and she told me that it could be rare side effects of the medicines I'm taking but will eventually stop. After my body got used to it, my hair slowly regrow and my appetite became normal again. I felt happy because I also realized that the anxiety attacks were lessened. So yes, anti-depressants do work. But you must be patient. You must be patient with your healing. You must be patient with your own pace. There are times that you would get frustrated but that's fine. Don't quit. Always remember that you have come this far to only come this far.
So, there. Thank you for reading my journey to embracing my condition. I know I said it was my worst reality. But then, who says I have to be stuck here? I can always heal and move forward. If you're experiencing the same, don't be afraid to seek help. But don't get pressured. Heal at your own pace. Just know that I am rooting for you.