When others ask me about my mental illness I try to explain it as seeing light darker

My name is Alexandra and I am struggling with depression and anxiety.

When others ask me about my mental illness I try to explain it as seeing light darker. I saw how everything that made me happy earlier stopped having any value. I felt like the dark was consuming me and taking all the light with itself. Sometimes I just say I felt sadness because it's kind of similar feeling to mine. But it's not exactly that and not only sadness. It's emptiness that is extremely heavy. I felt like I didn’t care anymore about anything. And that’s a feeling of being depressed. What about anxiety? In my opinion it's caring too much about everything and seeing it as impossible to do. That’s why it's hard to explain having both  depression and anxiety – it's a mixture of a lot of different feelings that I haven’t known earlier.

Because of my depression and anxiety I struggle emotionally. I also have problems with learning sometimes because I can't motivate myself to get out of bed or I feel paralyzed by my anxiety.

My friends were telling me that I was quiet lately or that I didn’t have time for them. I was telling people that I was busy but I wasn't busy studying or developing new skills. I was usually busy calming myself down, overthinking lots of situations, etc. On the outside it probably looked like I was just lying in bed for hours while listening to music.

When I was diagnosed I told my friends about the way I feel. Over time I started talking more openly about it and what was surprising for me was that I found people feeling similar to me. Some of them told me their stories and I was and still am here for them. I found  that helping other people  makes me feel better. Plus it made me feel that I have someone that I can relate to. I have support from my friends and family and I really appreciate it but I was still feeling like I am the only one struggling with those symptoms. When I reached to others feeling similar I started accepting my illness much more.

I had obstacles with my social life when I was hiding how I am feeling. When I started talking and learning more about myself and my illness I felt better. Mostly because I could tell my friends honestly that I don’t feel like going out today.

After couple months of struggling with everyday life I told my parents about the way I feel. I went to see a psychiatrist. I have been taking medication for almost two months now and I feel relief as I get a little better every day.

Along the way I definitely learned to listen to myself and know my limits. I learned that if I feel like staying at home I can do it and accept the fact that I have a worse day. I stopped seeing myself like I am failing. I am not failing. I am healing. It’s a slow process and I have to be patient. I am getting better. I am healing and I can recover.

I started noticing positive aspects of my life. Every day I try to find something I am thankful for. I am trying to celebrate every little success. And I definitely feel thankful for the fact that when I wake up I have energy to get up. When I don’t I am thankful for that I am able to motivate myself to do it. When I am not able to get up anyways then I am thankful for that I find enough strength to just hold on one more day.

In my journey with mental illness I learned a lot. But most of all I have learned to accept myself and my imperfections. I'm not perfect but it makes me unique. It makes me who I am. I also  have learned that I have more strength than I think. When I have, for example, a panic attack I feel like I won't  survive and I still surprise myself when I do. But I survive every time, no matter how hard it is.

I used to think that I can't change anything about my mental illness. I used to think that I can't win with it. Then I thought about suicide. Now I am really glad that I didn’t give up after all. I'm happy that I managed to stay alive for another day, because now, after many evenings spent dreaming about ending my life, I can't wait for tomorrow.

Why am I writing all of this? I'm doing it because I want to tell you, whoever you are: depression feels like constantly falling down. It’s a battle that seems impossible to win. But it is possible. It's possible to get better, to recover. You have a lot more strength in yourself than you think. I know it all seems pointless but there are reasons to stay alive. I love poetry so in some days I was just staying here to read another poem. There is always at least one little thing you should hold on for. Doesn’t matter if it's someone that you promised to keep on living for or if it's a new frappuccino at Starbucks. Just hold on one more day. Please. Get help. There is nothing wrong about taking care of yourself. If you need someone to talk to, I am here for you. I have account on Instagram where you can find me and message me. I admire you for staying here. You are strong enough to win this battle. I believe in you. Stay strong! <3 Instagram: @ordinaryextraordinaryhuman