It Gets Better

I have been struggling with anxiety and OCD since I was 8 years old. At that young age, I also was diagnosed with depression. I am now a young woman who has been dealing with these mental illnesses for about 12 years and I have learned a lot and changed a lot.

I consider myself to be an extremely happy and optimistic person in spite of these daily challenges, but I did not always know correct ways to cope with the things I constantly feel.  The depression came in waves up until junior year of high school; I have not felt at all depressed since then thank goodness. Obviously, I still get sad like every human does, but it is not in a way it once was, and I believe I have 100% overcome my depression. However, the generalized anxiety disorder and OCD are still very relevant in my daily life.

 I was dealing with some very hard issues in my sophomore year of high school, and I do not think I helped myself as much as I could have. Looking back now I want to yell at my 16-year-old self to do so many things differently, and to tell her that everything will be okay in just a couple of years, but obviously I cannot do this. I have been to therapy a couple times in my life. My therapist in high school gave me many tricks to help me when I was having an anxiety attack and how to help myself to stop cycling my thoughts. When I was seeing that therapist weekly at 16 I was also diagnosed by her with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

It was a time in my life that was very very difficult, but I was surrounded by supportive people in my life. I used a lot of escapism to cope including obsessive reading, writing, and following up with certain celebrities lives. Over time my compulsions lessened. I went from having 6 panic attacks a month to one every few months, I stopped obsessing with myself the way I had been, and I just decided one day I wanted to be happy again. I owe most of my recovery to my own doing and my own mindset to try and be okay.

By the time my junior year of high school was over I was a completely different version of myself. I was genuinely happy. I cut off toxic relationships, I went out all of the time, I found enjoyment from literally everything in life, and I was so excited about my future.

Now as a 20-year-old in college I can say that I am so proud of who I have become. I have done so many things that my disorders would have previously stopped me from doing, and I am flourishing and full of life. Yes, I still get self-conscious sometimes, I do have compulsive thoughts throughout a day, and I do worry a lot; however, it is something I know I can live with. I know how to handle these things and I know when to take a step back and put my mental health first. I know that I can do anything I put my mind to and I love this life that I have.