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how I know my depression and anxiety is relapsing

Ever since I was diagnosed with Persistent Depressive Disorder, it has always been something I was worried would throw me in a dark whirlwind of emotions I would not be able to escape from. Quite frankly, I never truly admitted to myself that I had depression. I didn’t want to believe it. I was in denial. I thought it was a sin and it was something so embarrassing and something that people who craved for attention just claimed they had just because this was society’s impression of the disorder. The stigma that lies around it especially in the Asian culture does not make it easy for one to be open about their daily struggles such as in depression.

After some time, I eventually came to terms with my diagnosis. In due time, I became more accepting towards myself and learnt to treat myself the way I treat others who may be struggling with similar mental health conditions. Initially, I felt strange and odd which lead to a sense of dislike to use the word ‘depression’ as part of my language and vocabulary. Part of me had a fear of that word and part of me just felt disgusted, knowing I had some association to that. Nevertheless, I still did overcome that uncomfortable wave of emotions ever since I started being exposed to more well-being talks about emotions and events related to mental health and stress in young adults. As a matter of fact, I think the current society such as in social media and some schools are starting to recognise mental health issues as a major problem as generations are getting older and new generations are introduced to the crowd. As scary as that may seem, it can create an outlet for the existing individuals who struggle with certain emotional disorders to be less afraid to address their worries. Which, I feel that can be very helpful as well as important to allow the public who are from different backgrounds to empathies with those struggling. Another benefit lies along with the generations to come, as it creates a safe environment as they are keener to seek for assistance as it becomes a norm to be able to talk about your feelings without feeling misjudged.

Personally, I find myself managing my depression and anxiety in not the best of ways. For the longest time, my condition has been bugging me and everything I must complete in my day-to-day life. There are fluctuating moments but recently it has gone quite unpleasant as there are several knots tied in my chest which makes it hard for me to breathe and focus on accomplishing my tasks. For me, there were many signs that my internal self was trying to signal to me, even though I tried to overlook it. Since I have come to terms that I am indeed, not in the best shape now, hopefully as you are reading this you would come to your realisation too. With that, you might be able to venture to look for remedies to aid yourself to a better way of life.

Other than realising that I am living with a huge and tight knot in my chest, I face a lot of trouble with my memory too. The memory difficulties have always been there for me but as it gets more frequent these days, it occurred to me that I am forgetting the smallest and even the most important tasks on my to-do lists. In some instances, me having the ‘goldfish syndrome’ disrupts the progress of certain assignments in college and efficiency of planning events for work. Hence, it affects my work ethics and relationships with close friends, which was one of the starting points that made me realise I am not in the right state of mind.

Aside from that, I feel that having depression and anxiety makes you subconsciously stuck in your own world of a pool of negativity. The pool then has a huge pressure like water pressure pressing you down to the deepest end, causing you to drown. When the pressure is so large and enormous underwater, you may realise that when you try to move your limbs, everything seems slower, and requires more effort. That is what I experience. Most probably due to the body fatigue and drained of energy just because of the mind not being able to rest, even during naps or sleeping time. It feels as though your mind is not being able to shut down, even when you are not putting any effort to think about anything specific.

Along with that, a major symptom for me was when I started to feel extremely disconnected from "who I am”. Reading some articles about it, many of them came to a mutual conclusion that made me understand that depression obtains the power to consume one so much until they begin to not recognise themselves. It was as though I woke up one day and started to ask myself who I really am. Am I still the same person as I was yesterday? Have I ever been myself? What is my name? Who am I, truly? Slowly and painfully, it feels as though I was someone else, someone I don’t recognise and someone who I don’t know is a good or bad person.

Similarly, I began to be super confused with my thoughts. It was already a chore and tiring to juggle so much of responsibilities, but not being able to control my own personal ideas in my head makes me lose myself even more. An endless cycle, it indeed is. The constant overwhelming wave of emotions where I feel I am “stuck” on certain thoughts – ruminating about past mistakes or present struggles. This had a huge impact and is something I am facing up until right now as I am typing. Such mental disturbance really creates more difficulties to be added such as physical pain and discomfort as I have mentioned above; tightened chest, chest pains, stomach aches and difficulty breathing. It bothers me so much I have not been completing assignments on time, unable to focus on present time and failing in examinations.

Breaking down over things that are “small” because I must endure the sense that life is falling apart, and I can’t take anything anymore. Previously, I have always been the best at keeping my emotions in front of the people around me and I always saved my tears and lashing out for later if I really needed to let it all out. I always preferred storing my emotions to be let out later – alone, without any pressure or disturbances of the flow of feelings that run through my body and soul. Now, my tear ducts seem to not be working with me and what I prefer it to do, and leaves the door open for my tears to flow out easily without listening to my commands of sucking it up. Therefore, I began to feel even more pathetic about myself as I am crumbling down for the most unreasonable situations, but it seems like the whole world is ending to me even when I know there are bigger problems to attend to. It is worse when this is in public, and it registers to the people around me treating me like a fragile doll that will break any time now. It is as if I had a new name and persona, going by ‘the girl who cries all the time’.

Image was taken by the author.

To wrap up, I am still battling with the underlying challenges that I face throughout living with my depression and anxiety. Although my story may be different from others, I do hope that some of you might find some sense of comfort in my words knowing that there are some challenges that I encounter that may be somewhat similar to your own unique story. If your depression and anxiety or any mental health disorder has its highs and lows like a yo-yo, do remember that that is completely alright. Even if it seems like your whole world is crumbling down, even if it feels like everything is not going the way you anticipate it to be and even if you feel like the weight on your shoulders is getting heavier, keep in mind that as time passes, so will the darkest of times as the sun will rise again.

Submitted by: Natalie C.


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