You Don’t Have to Fight Alone


Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Written by McKenna Orrico, Features Editor

Getting help for my depression and anxiety was the hardest thing I have ever done. I thought I could fight my own battles, but in reality, this was not a battle I could fight alone. My depression was taking over my life and making completing simple daily tasks nearly impossible. I was very good at masking my depression. I got all my school work done on time, I maintained a 4.286 GPA, and I seemed relatively happy, but in reality, I was suffocating. Keeping all my emotions buried inside of me made things much worse, but I thought I could just tough it out until it eventually went away. It never went away. The anxiety and depression got progressively worse until I cried every night for four months. It got to the point where I did not even know why I was crying anymore. It was all too much.
I kept fighting and fighting all alone because I did not want to make the things I was dealing with anyone else’s problem. I did not want to be a burden. I had this toxic mentality that “someone has it worse than you” which of course is true, but I was using it to invalidate my feelings. Just because someone has worse depression or worse anxiety than you does not mean that you are any less entitled to these feelings. It is one thing when other people are invalidating the way you feel, but when you’re the one doing it, it creates a new level of suppression. The longer you bottle up those feelings the more your brain seeks a way to cope.
Whether you’re wanting to feel something or nothing at all, negative coping mechanisms are never the answer. These coping strategies may provide immediate relief, but the long-term effects may resolve in addiction or even death. There was a time where all I could think about was turning to the substances. I knew that these things were not good to turn to through this time of emotional instability, but my urges were so strong. It took every ounce of willpower I had to never turn to any of these things, every single ounce. It scared me how strong my urges were. At the time, I did not know why I wanted to turn to substances so badly, but later I learned it was because I was seeking this sense of release.
My urges got to the point where I thought I needed help. I brought what was going on to the attention of my therapist, and immediately it was like I could breathe again. It was like I had just been struggling to swim for eight months and I finally reached the surface. The release I was seeking from the substances and other maladaptive coping mechanisms was given to me when I started talking to someone about what was going on. I was able to go on medication and have two sessions every week. Talking to my therapist was the beginning to the end of my long-time suffering. There was one more terrifying task I had to do; I had to tell my parents about what was going on.
My parents are two amazing people who care about me, but I was still extremely nervous to tell them. I was mostly scared that I would lose all my freedom and they would take everything away. When there is a problem in your child’s life, you want to fix it. You want to take away whatever is causing them pain. You want to make the hurting stop. With depression and anxiety, there is nothing you can take away to make it stop. My parents understood that taking away things such as my phone or door was not the answer. Even after they said they supported me and they would be there for me, I still was almost apologetic. I felt like I was inconveniencing them by bringing these problems to their attention, but in reality, they were so happy that I told them. They wanted to be there for me and be my support system.
After that conversation, the guilt and weight were completely lifted off my chest. I was so scared of being rejected and suppressed by them, but in reality, they were just happy I was getting help. Being honest with my family, therapist, and especially myself was the first step in winning my fight. I am so grateful to have access to a therapist, medication, and a strong support system. I know that some people may not be able to get these things, but you should not have to fight alone. Someone will fight with you. It might not be mom or dad, but it will be someone. Your friends will fight with you, your counselors will fight with you, your teachers will fight with you, coaches and teammates will fight with you. Just because it does not seem like it now, someone will fight with you. You may have to keep trying, but eventually, you will find someone. This battle is too hard and too important to fight alone, so take the first step and reach out even if it’s scary because, in the end, it will be worth it.



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