How I manage depression and anxiety as a young person
28th April 2023
I used to find myself struggling to get out of bed and do simple tasks. I couldn’t quite understand why at times I felt like this, is it me? Am I just worthless? Am I ever going to feel happy again? What even is happiness anymore.
You're not the first to go through it; you're not going to be the last to go through it.—Dwayne Johnson
There have been a fair amount of highs and lows in my life, some easier to talk about than others but I do have a good life. I have a good family who love me, I have some amazing friends who would do anything for me, I go to University, I have enough money to go and do nice things, but something inside me makes me feel otherwise. It's like a small part of me telling saying I’m not worth it. It's depression and anxiety. I went through depression for around 2 years, and sometimes I still do have those days which is a reminder of that feeling. That feeling is pretty hard to explain, its a feeling you only truly understand if you go through it.
What is depression?
Depression isn’t just feeling a bit fed up with life for a couple of days, it's feeling helpless, losing interest in the things that you love, feeling as if you don’t even want to be here anymore; it lasts months not just a week and it's one and forgotten about. Its kind of like surviving not living, forcing yourself to keep going even though you feel otherwise. Sometimes there's a trigger for depression. Life-changing events, such as bereavement, losing your job, giving birth, addiction in the family etc. .As a young person who experienced depression I kind of felt as if I am wrong to feel this way, there's a lot of stigma these days especially with the use of social media that everyone is happy and should be happy but that is not true, that is not the reality of life as we never know how anybody is feeling deep down. A lot of people with depression suffer with anxiety as well.
“I’d just go for days — sometimes two or three days straight — without eating anything at all… We’re all human. People are often afraid to admit difficulties, but I don’t believe that there should be a struggle with anything that’s the truth—Zayn Malik
Now what’s anxiety?
Anxiety is an overwhelming feeling of worry and fear. It can be mild or very severe in some cases. When anxiety kicks in you can experience physical affects too as well as mental effects, you may feel very nervous, increased heart rates, heavy breathing, hot flushes, trouble concentrating. A lot of people have anxiety and it's okay too. Sometimes when my anxiety kicks in it's a sort of feeling as everybody hates me, I’m not good enough. When I was younger I would sometimes feel nervous walking into class late it sometimes would make me not want to go and it was nothing to do with not having friends or not liking the class as I had loads of friends and enjoyed school but I just got anxious as of walking in late as I would feel people may stare at me walking in. I'd also notice myself biting the skin around my nails a lot this started when my Dad passed away as of I can remember it became a bad habit for years and is something I still do but not so bad. When I would feel anxious in a situation I would do it. I also used to have bad insomnia, so I'd find myself from a young age not being able to sleep and feeling so sick to the point I would go sit by the toilet. For a long time, I thought it was all kind of weird, as I got older I learnt that I had quite severe anxiety and that’s okay. I have now learnt to deal with it a lot better the I used too.
I go to therapy. Its just one of those most important things- to get to know yourself. Not saying everybody in the world has to do it but do think it helped me understand myself and childhood a lot better.—Selena Gomez
I always got overwhelmed with trying to cope with depression, looking up online ways to help and the web giving me a hundred different ways. I think it's important to take one step at a time and realise everybody will find different coping mechanisms better than others. However, you know how you can break a leg and it needs rest to mend again, to feel better, that’s what you need sometimes needs when feeling depressed, depression is and illness you just can’t see it like seeing as broken leg or arm. It's hard for some people to understand that though.
Ways to cope with depression
For me a big help was being more active, they say that 20 minutes of exercise a day every day is a way to help the mind. The thought of going out and being active when feeling low is the hardest part - the thought of actually getting up and going and doing it. But once you do if refreshes the mind. I started playing tennis again and it really helped me take my mind off things, there would be some weeks I would miss it but that’s also okay.
Speak to people whether it's family or friends. For me this is one the main ways I got through it. Even just a phone call to a close friend, people do care about you and want you to be okay even if it doesn’t feel like that. Bottling everything up is unhealthy for the mind its good to talk and express yourself to people that you trust.
• Having a routine. Now I believe having routine really helps the mind. When people are depressed they tend to lose a good routine and that is okay but its important to try and get yourself back in one. Sleeping at a good tie, waking up not too late, trying to eat 3 meals a day, it helps keeps the mind in order while its fighting depression off.
Cut out on the drinking. Drinking may seem fun at the time but while feeling low it’s a risky path to take. Especially the hangover the next day is always ten times worse.
Seeking help. Click here
Ways to cope anxiety
If you feel as if your anxiety is about to kick in then take a minute. Breath slowly calm yourself down and don’t let it over take you, keep breathing in and out slowly until you feel a bit calmer.
Accepting anxiety: With anxiety it's important to accept it, it's more about learning to cope and deal with it not trying to get rid of it. There are different ways to learn to deal with it. I think CBT is a good one, which is cognitive behavioural therapy.
Distract yourself with a hobby. Now this isn’t me saying distracting yourself will make it go away but it’s a way to help cope with it. Other than sitting and feeling anxious all the time go and play a sport, or go and learn some music, do some colouring/art, it can help take your mind off things for a little while.
Rewatching a TV programme, or movie: If I ever couldn't sleep I would always stick gossip girl on, one of my favourite series that I have rewatched a hundred times. Even so I have seen it so many times re watching something helps my anxiety because I know whats going to happen and it makes you feel at ease and can help relax the mind.
Mental health is a journey that a lot of people go on, nobody should feel alone as if life isn't worth it. It always is in the end there are always better days to come eventually every bad situation is temporary.
I used to struggle to get out of bed and I still sometimes do, but now I have learnt to understand depression and anxiety and how to cope with it and that is okay. I am now a much happier person and accept who I am.