It’s been a bit over a year since I first posted this article on my tumblr page (original post here) and I figured it might be time to give an update on the matter.
Standing here and looking back at those times, I can safely say that I have been down that dark, scary road of anxiety and depression and I have returned better and stronger than before. And the most important thing I have learned is that support matters immensely.
After having written the article, I wasn’t feeling quite alright with myself. It was a big step forward to open up about it and laying it down on paper (or rather in a post) but it doesn’t really help when you have other things to face besides dealing with anxiety. We all have those moments in our life where everything is okay and things might seem to be going well for a bit and then it all falls apart right before our eyes, making some of our darkest fears come true in the process. It’s not easy for anyone, regardless of their physical or mental health condition. But if it catches you off guard and, as it usually happens, it tends to make things worse.
For a while I had a gut feeling that things will get worse before they would get better. And they did. I continued to try and deal with things on my own, find my own safe haven and retreat there whenever I needed to. But after a while, even that didn’t help. From having panic attacks once or twice a month, I began having them every week, then every two-three days until sometimes they occurred daily or even twice a day. That’s when I knew I needed help and believe me, it takes a whole lotta effort to say “Please help me”.
So I went to see my family doctor, a very sweet and capable woman to whom I was able to explain what I was feeling. She gave me advice on how to keep myself calm, prescribed me some mild sedatives for better sleep and recommended I do some blood tests to see if the problem was pathological.
And turns out it was. Coming from a family with history in thyroid problems, at some point it was bond to happen to me as well. Blood tests showed I have a malfunctioning thyroid gland, producing less of the hormone than needed (hypothyroidism). That imbalance caused most of my irrational fears and anxiety and the overall stress fueled it even more.
Next step was to seek a professional endocrinologist and that’s how I met another lovely lady who took her time to explain to me what was happening and why. She prescribed some medication to help my thyroid gland function normally and three months later at the following checkup, blood test results were a lot better. And even I started feeling a whole lot better. I stopped having panic attacks and irrational fears, I wasn’t depressed anymore and finally, after years of struggling with it, was able to gain weight as well.
I was overall happier but not just because of the treatment. The support of my family and friends, their love, care and understanding made me realize I was not alone and through them I found the strength to get out of bed every morning and the energy to do other things besides going to work and sleeping. And to them I am immensely grateful for putting up with me and listening to me, staying up late when I was typing down nonsense and talking about the same thing over and over.
Now, a year later, I am still under medical treatment, although the dose has been reduced. I still get anxious sometimes and I still have bits of fear every now and then but it’s the good kind of fear that is meant to motivate me. And I have a great man by my side to keep me grounded and put my mind at ease whenever it tends to go the wrong way ^_^
Hopefully a year from now I won’t need the treatment at all. For any of you out there struggling with anxiety or depression or any kind of mental illness: know that you are not alone. Find the strength and courage to seek help, I know it’s frightening, I know you might think it won’t help, but trust me, it will help more than you can imagine.
Lots of love, Juls ♡