Dealing with depression and anxiety is a rollercoaster. You say I’m not alone but I am petrified.My hands sweat, my heart beats so loudly I can hear it and feel it. Sometimes my stomach hurts and you may think is butterflies that come with the excitement of new situations but it feels like a demon tearing through my insides. My temperature drops and my fingers are so cold they feel like icicles, extremities that don’t belong to me anymore. At night my brain is like a war zone, no man’s land. I relive the same events over and over again hoping for a different outcome. I think to myself all of the possible solutions to what I could have done in that situation. This process could take hours upon hours, making it impossible to sleep. I turn to my trusty melatonin gummies but they seem to be just a piece of candy and nothing else. I’m awake for hours which makes me feel really unproductive. Distracted, I reach for a pencil and a sketchbook, drawing the night away. The drawings can range from really depressive images to flowers in vast fields with sunsets. Finally, when the loud voice of regret is silent I fall asleep. A deep sleep like my body has no life or soul. A couple of hours later I wake up disappointed as always, with no will or energy to do anything. So I go back to bed and close the blinds so that no light can pour into my room.
The journey through mental health.I don’t want you to feel sorry for my experience or my thoughts. Mental health is something we all experience and take care of in many different ways. Mental health is not just the recovery and what we do to feel better. Dealing with mental health is the good days, the okay days and the bad days. Every moment in between being happy and sad is a journey that we all have to take and experience through a lens of apprenticeship. But the world doesn’t stop in a bad day and being trapped in that situation isn’t forever. Even when I feel alone and desperate I know I can cope by drawing or listening to music that inspires me.
Ways I cope: journaling, sketching, and physical exercise.My therapist actually recommended journaling. At first, I was really skeptical because I don’t usually like writing or expressing my feelings and thoughts. I’m also too much of a perfectionist so the idea of creating something and not being certain I’ll like it gave me some anxiety. I decided to go through with it and it changed my life. Before I used to bottle up my feelings and thoughts. Journaling has helped me clean my conscience. The anxiety of not having a perfect journal stopped when I realized that no one will ever read my journal and I promised myself I wouldn’t either. As cliche as it sounds I start yoga but I don’t do a normal yoga routine because it makes me feel silly. Stretching helps me with other areas of my life, my muscles are happier and my back sure feels better. I learn that if I take care of myself my mental health is impacted tremendously. By treating myself and my body better I feel happier and the anxiety and depression don’t creep as much. Although these things help it is not an overnight thing and you have to be kind to yourself no matter what.
– Silvana Cano, Youth Advisory Council MemberInterested in learning more about Project Helping’s Youth Advisory Council? Contact [email protected]