It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.William Shakespeare
I have struggled with my mental health for my entire life, my mom always said that I was born anxious. I honestly don’t know what it feels like to not be anxious, because I deal with anxiety in some capacity every single day. For the most part, I’ve been able to handle my anxiety, so I can get through the day, but everything changed so quickly. After I was diagnosed with Lupus, Crest, and MCTD, my anxiety went from bad to worse, and for the first time in my life, I was dealing with severe depression. For the entire summer and fall of 2017, right after my medical journey started, my anxiety was the worst it had ever been. The nights were the hardest for me. I was having a panic attack every single night, and my anxiety was making me so paranoid that I would sit at the top of the stairs in the middle of the night because I didn’t want to be alone in my room with my thoughts. And thank god for my mom, because on the nights I wasn’t sitting in the hallway, I would wake her up crying hysterically and end up sleeping in her bed. Finally after months of panic attacks and serious sleep deprivation, my mom convinced my doctor to put me on a sleep medication. Since starting that medication over a year ago, I haven’t woken up with a panic attack once, and I’m so incredibly grateful. After I got my anxiety under control, I realized how bad my depression was getting. I started going downhill in October of 2018, for 3 months I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, I didn’t smile anymore, let alone laugh at the things that I used to find funny, hockey didn’t make me happy anymore, and I was only showering once a week. The constant thought in my head was, I don’t know how I can live this way forever. I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, even though everyone was telling me that it was there. In the middle of December, we were in Pennsylvania for a hockey tournament. I remember sitting at a table in the snack bar of a rink, across from my mom. I was crying so hard, telling her how bad I felt, and how I just wanted to be better. She promised me that I would get through this. At this point, my depression was so bad that it was making my physical health so much worse. My doctor finally decided it was time for me to see a psychiatrist, and I’m so thankful that I did. Since January, I’ve been on Zoloft, which is an antidepressant. It has honestly changed my life, and along with Methotrexate, it’s the reason I’m still here, they have 100% saved my life, and they are the reason why I can be a diver again. Because my mental health has gotten better, my physical health has gotten so much better as well. I have never felt this good. I want everyone who is suffering from depression to know that it does get better, and even though it doesn’t seem like it, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, I’m living proof of it. When my mom and I were sitting at that snack bar table in December, she told me that I wouldn’t realize how bad I was until I felt better, and it is so true. I am honestly overwhelmed by how much better I feel, and I really can’t believe how bad it was. I’m so thankful for my family, I’m so thankful for my friends, and I’m so thankful for my doctors. It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to need help. I promise that it does get better, because I wouldn’t be here today if it didn’t.