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May 2021

Post #18: Hello depression and anxiety my old friends

I’ve had depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. However, I wasn’t officially diagnosed with having anything until 2017.

Prior to being diagnosed, in 2016, I started attending both group and individual therapy in grad school. I was having a hard time. Not with my coursework though. I was at a huge PWI several states away from most of my friends and family. I was one of a few black people in my program. I was having difficulty adjusting. On top of that, I had two decades of abuse and trauma to work through.

Notably, in mid 2014, I was sexually assaulted by a guy I was dating. This experience wasn’t my first encounter with having an unwanted experience with a person I was dating. However, the nature of the experience changed me for the worse. I sought solace in things that did not make the feeling of being “dirty” go away. My levels of anxiety and depression only increased.

In May 2019, I decided to go on medication to assist me in my mental health journey. I already had been working with a therapist. Upon asking me a few questions, my primary care physician gave me a series of assessments. I ranked in the “severe” category for both anxiety and depression. I already knew that something was “wrong”.

Life had been kicking my ass making my already fragile mental health even worse. Dealing with the loss of my mom and general unhappiness with my career caused me to dread waking up every morning. Dragging myself out of bed felt like what I can imagine is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. I couldn’t concentrate. My brain was foggy all of the time. I was always tired.

Two years later, I am thankful to have gone on my medication. I am able to focus so much better and operate without a looming sense of existential dread. My life has improved substantially. I have been able to focus on being there and celebrating my loved ones. I originally thought that going on medication made me a failure. However, I realize more than ever that my conditions were (are) a chemical imbalance. I couldn’t “will” myself into fixing it. I’m living now and not merely existing.

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