I have always been an anxious kid. I struggled to focus on anything good and positive.
It was like I was constantly living in fear but I didn’t know what it was.
And growing up, I thought that this was just me — that I was just different and that this was my “normal”.
It wasn’t until two years ago that I was diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder and depression.
Coping with both depression and anxiety at the same time became too overbearing and debilitating for me.
I struggled every day to do anything and I spent most days lying in bed.
It left me feeling hopeless and alone. Every day, I was so terrified of waking up.
I was so terrified of going through yet another painful and dark day.
I felt like I was trapped in misery and despair and that regardless of what I do, there is just no way for me to survive the pain.
I was in this state for months and I was so exhausted of being this way.
I wanted to better my situation. I wanted so badly to change my life that I finally came to the conclusion that no matter what it takes I needed to find a way to regain control of my life.
I needed to find a way to fight and overcome my depression and anxiety.
If you too are struggling with these mental illnesses, here are 5 strategies I use to help me manage my depression and anxiety.
These steps have helped me so much and I’m hoping that it will do the same for you!
I stopped beating myself up…
When you are suffering from a mental illness or even when you are not, it’s so easy to allow ourselves to become our biggest critic.
It’s so easy to constantly beat ourselves up for every failure.
To constantly blame ourselves for every mistake and for all the bad things that have been happening in our lives.
I did this every time I failed to get out of bed (even though I had to) because my depression was just consuming.
I did this every time my anxiety paralyzes and keeps me from doing anything.
But the thing is, the more that I blamed myself for falling into depression, for every problem and for every struggle that I face the more I was burying myself in misery and pain.
And doing that didn’t help me heal, recover and move forward — it only kept me stuck.
So, stop being yourself’s enemy. Falling into depression or your anxiety is definitely not your fault.
Show yourself some love. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for your mistakes — this is what you need the most.
I stopped expecting that it can be easily be “cured”…
Suffering from depression and anxiety for me doesn’t mean that I only get to experience bad days.
I also have good days and great weeks and often going through those great days makes me think that maybe I’m finally “cured”.
But the thing is, when you have depression and anxiety, expecting yourself to feel good all the time is not fair.
This was my mistake.
When I found those good days again, I expected myself to always feel this way that when I felt myself slipping, I was so disappointed at myself and it only made me feel worse.
You can’t expect yourself to feel good all the time.
Life will always have bad days and good days and that’s okay.
It’s best to remind ourselves that falling back into an episode doesn’t mean that we are failing.
I took all expectations off myself…
When you are going through a depressive episode, doing even the simplest task can already be a struggle.
There will be days when all you can do is just stay in bed even though there’s plenty of things to do.
And that’s perfectly okay.
After falling into a series of depressive episodes, I learned that putting on so many expectations on myself and focusing on the things that I should be doing was only doing me more harm than good.
Honestly, it was only making me feel like a failure.
It’s best to stop focusing on everything that you think you should be doing and just focus on one thing.
Know that if taking a shower was all that you could do today then it’s perfectly okay.
As long as you are still here, breathing and fighting then you are actually doing so much more than what you think.
Let yourself feel and express what you are feeling…
I have this bad habit of running away from the pain and hiding from everything that I’m feeling.
This has always been my way of coping with problems, heartbreaks, and losses.
I choose to ignore all the pain that I’m feeling and keep them all bottled up thinking that they will eventually go away.
But they don’t. They consumed me every day until it finally broke me.
Don’t make the same mistake as I did.
I know that facing what we are truly feeling and expressing it can be scary but it can also be freeing.
Don’t be afraid of what you’re feeling. Know that those feelings are valid and do what you can to express those emotions.
Doing this has helped me so much!
Don’t give up and believe in yourself…
Navigating through the darkest days of our lives can often leave us feeling hopeless.
After hitting rock bottom and going through the lowest moment of my life, I’ve learned that regardless of how low and defeated we may feel, there is always hope that one day everything will get better.
Holding on that little hope left in me has helped me go through the darkest days of my life.
So, don’t give up and keep believing in yourself.
It’s important to remember that we all heal and cope differently, so the things or the strategies that worked for me may not work for you, the best thing to do is to not give up, find what works for you and continue to do it.
You got this!
I am not a licensed therapist. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional to get the help you deserve.