Coping: This is Who We Are – Entry 5: “We Are All Continuous and Beautiful Works In Progress”

This submission comes from Rebecca, the creator of this wonderful piece of art that was published last week on the website. Her story details the intensity of anxiety and the panic that can accompany it. As with most Coping entries, it’s lengthy, but I promise you it’s worth the read.

Here’s Rebecca’s story.


How do you explain to your daughter in fourth grade that you can’t continue to pick her up  early from school day after day, even when she is sobbing on the phone in the nurse’s office? How do you come home to see that same girl two years later, white as a ghost, talking to herself in between hyperventilation gasps?

I couldn’t really tell you because I was that girl.

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I don’t know where my anxiety stemmed from then, but I guess that is why I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It’s an odd experience to be twelve years old, having already seen three different therapists and now taking medicine every day because of something called “anxiety and depression”. It is also an odd experience to be in high school and to begin to realize that the same medicine that has been “fixing” you for four years is now not working as well and that the anxiety and depression can come back way worse than it had ever been. And now they have a new friend.

Suicidal thoughts.

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Coping: This Is Who We Are – Entry 4: “Sleep On It”

When you look back on your teenage years, you usually have the memories of parties, being social with friends, planning future career ideas, finding your way through puberty…

I remember illness.

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I was forced to grow up quickly, at a young age.

While my friends were having their birthday parties, I was at home on the floor; crouched in a ball with my mum trying to feed me Parachoc through my wails.

While everyone began working their first jobs, I was in an Adolescent Clinic for sufferers of Eating Disorders.

During Graduation, I had Glandular Fever and was bedridden.

My first year of university had many absences, as I was diagnosed with Grade II Reflux Oesophagitis.
Depression was, inevitable.

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Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 3 – “From My Suicide Note to Now, A Heart Moving Outwards”

I don’t really know where to start.

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I didn’t really understand what I’m going through, and what I have gone through, until some point last year. After being informed that there was an actual name for everything I’d been experiencing, I began to take quite a different outlook on, well, everything. But I digress.

My name is Danny. I’m 21. I go to college. I have a job. I have friends. I like movies, music, sports, and many other things that normal people my age would enjoy. I smile like everyone else, I go about my daily routine like everyone else, and I have fears, just like anyone else. These are normal parts of my identity that many people know. But what I don’t broadcast is that I have suffered from Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder for as long as I can remember. After digging up some earlier stuff in therapy this past year, I can deduce that my earliest memory of these disorders was around 7th or 8th grade. I remember sitting in Science class, existing as an introverted adolescent, and thinking about how wonderful it would be to kill myself. This is a thought that would follow me for the next eight years.

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Coping: Entry Two – Depression and Faith, Finding Yourself Through Struggle

How do you cope?

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A few weeks ago I posted an article entitled “Coping” that detailed my own personal experience with mental illness and depression and received a lot of good feedback from it. Not only did people seem to understand what my depression was more, but people who also fought began to come forward and share with me their own stories. It affirmed my idea that these things need to be heard, and have gone ahead to decide to start a series of posts under the name “Coping”. In this series that’ll be published every few weeks, guest writers will share their struggles, coping mechanisms, their lowest point and more, allowing us into the eyes of those with mental illness. Reminding people who fight that they’re never alone, and those who don’t fight with a better understanding than they might of had before.

So here’s the first guest post from my great friend Haley, enjoy.

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There is no cure for depression. It will always be a part of who you are. But it’s how you accept its presence that determines the impact it has on your life.

It took me an extremely long time to accept my depression. As I was growing up, I was always the happy member of the family. I provided the laughs and made sure everybody was always having a good time. As I grew older, members of my family were gradually diagnosed with depression until I was the only one without this disease. And what did that mean to me? I was the only one that could always provide joy. I didn’t know what depression was: I took on the burden of making sure my sister and parents were in good spirits because I thought that they were unable to obtain it on their own. When I reached the point where I was unable to do this, I felt like a failure. I had let my family down.

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Coping (Rituals) – Entry 1: Depression

We all have different ways in which we cope. Tragedy can often leave the strongest people on their knees, resulting in desperate attempts to do something, anything, to make whatever pain they’re feeling go away. Even if it’s temporary. Some of these things however, can be destructive. They can develop habits that walk next to them for the rest of their life. Have you ever lost someone who you loved? How far did you go to numb that pain? If you’re one of the people who has experienced this already, can you remember what that felt like? The complete loss of care or self worth, filled with sadness, grief, maybe even anger? And at the time there’s nothing anyone can really say to help or make those feelings go away. It’s something that takes time. But in time you learn to live with the fact that they are gone, and you do little things to remember them by. To carry their legacy, you move forward.

Coping: This Is Who We Are dear hope