Overcoming Anxiety and Depression*

*IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS: I am not a medical professional, and this was all self-diagnosed. I never talked to to a medical professional about it, though I sometimes wish I had. Also, while for me these conditions were temporary (about a year), some people have to deal with them for much longer and on much harsher levels. Relatively speaking, I had it really easy, though I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone. That said, I hope that sharing my experience and what I learned might help ease the pain for anyone going through something similar, and I hope that it will increase understanding among those who don’t experience it.

Let’s get real guys. Medicalization is a weird thing with a lot of negative connotations. While putting a label on something can limit the way we think about it (and sometimes even blind us to what’s really there), in some cases it can be empowering and can allow you to see it more clearly.

I remember feeling so guilty about not being able to reach out to people more or do more of the things that I wanted to do. Even when I did spend time with people, I usually felt like I wasn’t really myself, and then I felt guilty about not giving my real self to people (but I felt like I didn’t have my real self to give in the first place). That said, it wasn’t all bad. There were some brighter moments for sure. In fact, almost every drop of time I spent working at work, I felt like I was my best self again. But when I came home from my shifts, all of my energy was gone, and I wasn’t usually able to do anything else productive (whereas previously I definitely would have made art or music or socialized or something).

Please note that the provided example is just one of many, MANY acts of kindness that revived me. Many of these acts were performed by people who did not know I was suffering, and many were not even directed toward me — just SEEING kindness was enough sometimes, even if I wasn’t the intended recipient. Giving kindness, even when I was empty, would make me feel like I was my best again.

I feel it’s important to note the privilege I experience by having a warm, loving family, very tight friends, and a very broad community. It took a village.

Shout out to my best friend for inspiring me to start the 52 Hike Challenge during this time, and for joining me as I crossed off several of those hikes. And for sharing a park pass with me ;)