How I Became The Most Toxic Person In My Life

"Wow, I can't even remember the last time I cried," she said before she became depressed in tenth grade.

"I'm just bummed, it's nothing serious," she said when she couldn't pull herself out of bed anymore.

"Call the ambulance, I think there's something wrong," she said when she had her first anxiety attack.

"I can learn to manage this on my own. I don't need help" she said when she didn't sleep for 36 hours on antidepressants.

"Why am I so stupid? Why can't I do anything right?" I say to myself as I struggle to disassemble a beach tent.

I never thought I would struggle with anxiety or depression. It seemed like something that only happened to people going through really hard times in life but as it turns out, it can affect anyone at any time. My freshmen year of college, I decided to major in biology (science has always been my worst subject). I had to meet with a peer advisor every Friday to discuss how school was going for me and what I was struggling with. I had never really discussed in depth how school was with anyone nor did I want to. One particular Friday, I walked out of a biology exam knowing that I failed and was too scared to tell my advisor. So when I met with her, I pretended everything was okay and we planned out my classes for the next semester. Later that day I had my very first anxiety attack. From there on, I became even harsher on myself. I began pushing off assignments more than ever and being meaner to myself than I had ever been. I decided to go to student health services one day when I realized I needed to get a grip. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression; the doctor sent me to CVS with a prescription in hand. The medicine didn't work well for me so I thought that meant I could figure this all out on my own. I resorted to pinching myself when I got overwhelmed or angry to calm down. While this was clearly not a good way to let out my issues, it worked for me. From there on, I made myself believe that I had no one. My boyfriend and I fought like never before; we were at a breaking point and even today I question why he didn't just leave me. I ended every friendship I had and didn't talk to my mom very much. How could I talk to my mom when all I wanted to do was cry? I did the worst thing possible for myself by completely shutting the rest of the world out. I also developed new nervous ticks like cracking my knuckles all the time. So here I was: a lost eighteen-year-old girl with broken relationships and suffocating depression. What did I plan to do to help myself? Nothing. "I'll come out of this on my own", I said.

I was wrong.

Looking back on this time, I realize it is hard for me to pinpoint the exact moment when I broke and actually reached out for real help. Sophomore year, I went back to health services to try medicine again. The doctor said that if someone else in your family is on medicine that works for them, it may work for me. I reached out to my sister for her information because I knew she had struggled with depression for years. By doing that, I opened a door for someone to come in and help. Once she knew I was struggling, she did what sisters do best and checked in on me more often and I'm not 100% sure but I think she told my mom too because she began checking in more too. One day I completely broke down on the couch with my mom and she realized all that I was putting myself through.  This opened another door for help. Lastly, I had to tell the boyfriend why I was being such a horrible person. Once the people in my life became aware of what was going on, I started to get better because I was no longer the only person in my head. People were telling me they loved me - something I told myself was impossible.

Leaving myself stranded the way I did, it is nearly impossible to break out of the toxic lifestyle I created. The best thing you can do for yourself is let someone know that you are mentally destroying yourself, because they can't read your mind. That is the biggest hump to get over. By writing this article, I am deciding to tell people literally everywhere that I am not always okay and sometimes I need to be checked on. Admitting that you are not okay is the first step in going from toxic to flourishing. I still struggle with anxiety and depression every day of my life but I do my best to not let it suffocate me as I did before. This semester has been my healthiest semester I have had in years - I live with people that care about me, I eat three meals a day whether I want to or not, and I finally have a supportive group of friends and family that I know love me. I do not let myself believe even for a second that I can do this all by myself because the second I start shutting people out is the moment that my depression gets the best of me. My advice to you is to tell one person that you're struggling and believe me, things can change.