I started this blog, with the suggestion from my husband, to write about my life with anxiety. I have a lot of good days, and a lot of bad days. I know there is a huge stigma out there about mental illness, but I am not ashamed to admit that I have anxiety as well as depression. I feel like the more people talk about it, the more "real" it will become. I will start with telling you about me!

When I first felt depressed I was in high school. I had a great group of friends, I was involved in a lot of activities, had a job, and was always busy. I was a social butterfly. I didn't party and drink a majority of my classmates until I was a senior in high school. It was probably at about that time that I first started feeling sad, left out, down, and rejected. I still had my group of friends, I was still involved in all of my activities and I was still "me", but something just felt different. I chose to ignore it and chalk it up to the fact that soon I would be graduating and life was going to change. Fast forward to my freshman year in college, and that is when things really took a turn. I went to school in Marshall, MN at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU), and was the only one from my class to go there. My mom went to school there and I wanted to follow in her footsteps! I also did not want to go to the same school that EVERYONE was going to, because I wanted to make new friends. I had a roommate from Omaha, NE who was my polar opposite yet we got along great. I had some other wonderful people in my dorm and made friends with other people pretty quickly. I was living the high life! I was free from my home, my parents had no idea what I was doing, when I got home, or who I was with and I LOVED the FREEDOM!!! That freedom is also what I believe started my downward spiral. Marshall is a small town and SMSU is a small school, so it didn't take long for my roommate and I to make friends with older people. Older people that could buy us beer, take us to parties, etc. Soon I was going to parties or drinking in the dorms just about every night of the week. I started missing class more and more and drifting farther and farther apart from my high school classmates. I quit going home to see my parents on the weekends, and I started feeling more and more sad. i didn't tell anyone how I felt, though. See, I thought if people knew how I felt and how sad I was they would laugh at me and tell me I "didn't have anything to be sad about". I felt it best to keep my feelings to myself, and those feelings slowly started killing me. 

I don't remember exactly when the feelings and suicidal thoughts started taking over my brain,  but they were there. Eventually those thoughts and feelings turned into actions. On a Monday night in March I attempted suicide in my dorm room. I had been drinking with a couple of other girls and when they left to go to bed, I took the stash of pills I had been stockpiling. I don't remember actually taking them, but I do know it was my intention to kill myself. I had switched roommate at semester due schedules/sleeping habits, but remained close with my first roommate (I only moved 2 doors down). She heard me in the hallway and is the one that found me, and essentially saved my life. She called our mutual friend who I had been talking to earlier that evening and he came to get me. The two of them took me to the ER, and I'm assuming are the ones that called my parents. I don't know exactly how long I was unconscious for but believe it was at least a day. I didn't remember everything that happened or where I was when I woke up. But I will never forget my mom being on one side and my friends on the other, crying and being so happy that I opened my eyes. 

Fast forward a few days when I was sent home. It was the weekend before Spring Break and I refused to go home with my mom until the weekend was over, because I had plans with my friends. I had a quite weekend in the dorms with those who were still there and had time to think and reflect. I knew I had to get help when school resumed, but I hated that I had to go to the school counseling center where anyone could see me walk in. I ended up getting evaluated there and going to an outside agency for a counselor. I met with her on a regular basis and it was determined I would need to be put on meds. I went to her for at least two years. I was on a variety of different meds in the span of two or three years as well. During all of this I still felt worthless, I hated life, I struggled with school, I continued to party and drink, and I mad the decision to quit seeing my counselor.  I didn't like people knowing I went and I hid my meds from everyone. Things were getting bad again when I decided the best thing for me to do was to take a break from school and move home. So, I did. I quit school after the fall semester, and moved home in April. When I moved home I quit taking my medications and things slowly started to turn around for me. I haven't taken regularly scheduled meds since then. While I do not feel like they didn't help me or were doing more harm than good, I simply wanted to see if I could cope on my own. It worked, for the most part. I didn't have anymore suicidal thoughts or ideations, and that was the big thing. 

I also was not cured. I stayed at home and worked for a year before moving on with my life. Life took me to Aberdeen, SD where I did what nobody thought I could do, and graduated from Norhtern State University with my B.S. in Sociology/Human Services. I was so proud of myself for that accomplishment, and I know my family was as well! Those years of finishing school did not come pain free, depression free, battle free, or easy. It was shortly after I graduated (in 2010) that I sought counseling again. I had been in Aberdeen long enough that I had a group of friends, and I was dating someone that liked 70 miles away. That relationship was slowly deteriorating and I was slowly becoming toxic to my friends. I took the steps to help myself before things completely unraveled, and that is what I consider to be my first small victory in this life with depression and anxiety. It was also during that time that Anxiety Disorder, NOS was added to my "chart". It was then that I started delving deeper into my anxiety, what caused it, what made it better, what made it worse, and how to get over an anxiety attack. 

I saw that counselor for probably a year before I decided I had a grasp on how to help myself. Life turned around slowly after I made some HUGE life changes on my own. While I did take a regular anxiety medication for less than a year, I was slowly taken off that that put on a PRN med. I am happy to say that I use that as my last resort, and not very often. 

While I have come SO far in my battles, I still struggle. I struggle more days that not. I will continue to write about my struggles, my ups, my downs, my wins and losses, my life, and how anxiety has changed me!

Thank you for reading about my journey! 



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