I am usually forgetful when it comes to dates, but 2014 is the year that I will always remember due to bittersweet reasons. For one, that is when I have managed to prove to myself and to everyone else that I am a tough cookie, that I can overcome whatever challenges that life throws at me. Before coming to that conclusion, however, I have had to deal with depression first, which has comorbid with a minor case of anxiety later. From what I read online, “Depression is a disorder that develops from environmental and biological issues that are unique to each person,” according to Deborah Serani, PsyD. My situation at the time was similar to what many other mental health patients are probably going through right now.
No one knew that I was in such a dark place, not even my housemates. I smiled every time they chatted with me, although I practically felt dead inside. The more hopeless I felt, the more I got scared of being around people, too. There were a lot of occasions in which I would turn off the lights in my room for a couple of days and text them that I was at my parents’ place so that I could avoid having to talk with anyone. According to Susan Fletcher, PhD “Many people function well with depression in front of others. It’s when they start their day, end their day, or isolate themselves from others that the symptoms are obvious.” And that’s me.
I had too many worries back then. I was afraid of my loved ones getting wind up of my mental instability. No matter how welcoming the community may be to individuals with depression and anxiety, after all, I assumed that that’s not true for anyone. There was also the fear of going in an event one day and seeing folks talk behind their hands while looking at me. I realize now that they are silly thoughts, but such worries have seemed too valid for comfort at the time.
Now, I have a secret to tell you. After getting diagnosed with the two disorders, I have never come back for therapy or medication. The psychiatrist who wanted me to do so was sweet and friendly, but I could not honestly afford all of that as I was still studying then. Nevertheless, I got better with sheer determination and by doing the following activities that did not cost me much, money-wise, but gave me hope to fight for myself again.
Work On Puzzles
The first thing that I did when my brain was getting overloaded with negative ideas was to buy a box of puzzles. I tried downloading games on my smartphone before that, but it made me unable to concentrate more. I turned to books as well, yet the words merely caused me to feel nauseous. So, I considered all my non-digital options during a quiet moment and came up with the thought of trying to put puzzle pieces together when the voices in my head didn’t want to stop. And it worked for me.
Puzzles are one of the objects that you can use to distract yourself when your depression or anxiety is on active mode. There is undoubtedly a plethora of things that will allow you to focus less on the dark images that cross your mind. As soon as you find it, you should keep it by your side until you are ready to expand your horizons.
Open Up To Friends And Family
When your anxious or depressive episodes lessen, you will have time to consider when’s the proper time for you to open up about your ordeal to your loved ones. That’s an idea that may never give you peace if you think of it during the onslaught of anxiety or depression, you see. Worse, your troubled brain might even feed you with darker thoughts and crush your hopes further.
Nonetheless, the revelation will have to come at some point. You may try to deal with the problem on your own, but why bother? Let your friends and family members help you; fill them in on what’s happening in your life. They would surely love to know about it from you instead of from acquaintances. They. Want. You. To. Live. Happily. “No one likes to hear bad news, but the truth is that the consequences of refusing to listen or talk about upsetting issues can be far more painful and damaging than the experience of discussing them,” says therapists Linda Bloom, LCSW, and Charlie Bloom, M.S.W.
Recover At My Own Pace
Another reason why I did not want to get therapy was the fact that no psychologist could guarantee how long the treatment would take. They usually have a guesstimate, but it may extend if you don’t respond well to their program. While my therapist was explaining that to me, all I could think of was, “Gosh, I don’t have thousands of dollars laying around!”
By doing the two things mentioned above, there was no need to think about the money that I would have had to spend on therapy. I did not have to pressure my loved ones to help me out financially either. Thus, I managed to recover at my own pace.
As a disclaimer, I do not encourage you to quit your treatment merely because such activities allowed me to get better without spending too much. It’s impossible to guarantee that my fate would be similar to yours. Not to mention, the severity of our conditions may not be the same. While you are getting treated for your depression and anxiety, though, it does not hurt to know all the other healing methods you can tap into.