Two and a half years ago, I wrote about my struggles with anxiety and depression. I thought maybe it was time to post a little update. Overall, things have been going really well! I still have definite ups and downs, but the anxiety and depression are more temporary emotions now rather than the crippling mental illness they were before. It took a long time to get here – over a year of trial and error with medications and counselling, and some very low lows. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve finally found that balance I needed.
The two things that helped me the most were my new medication and counselling. The medication helps balance my chemistry, and the counselling gave me the confidence and tools I needed to combat my anxiety. Another thing that was sort of an unexpected help was my methylfolate supplement. I have an MTHFR gene mutation so my body doesn’t process folate properly. For most people this doesn’t make a huge differnce in daily life, and I honestly didn’t think the supplementation would help, but I really do notice a diffence with it. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but hey whatever works, right? Unfortunately it’s expensive and my insurance no longer covers it… I found one on Amazon that I’m going to try once I run out, so wish me luck with that one.
Things have been going really well lately, but I won’t fool myself into thinking I’m cured. I’ve relapsed before, and I know it could happen again. The difference is that I know myself better now. I know what things I need to look out for, and I’m quick to make changes when I notice things are off. I haven’t made any changes to my medication in over a year, but I still see my psychiatrist every few months just to touch base.
For me, it was all about a combo treatment. Diet and exercise alone wasn’t enough. Supplementation alone wasn’t enough. Medication alone wasn’t enough. Counselling alone wasn’t enough. I needed all of those things to help me get to where I needed to be.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the saying “God helps those who help themselves,” and I think in my case that was very true. I prayed and prayed for my burden to be lifted, but nothing changed until I started doing things. Making that first phone call to a counsellor was terrifying. Spilling my guts to a complete stranger for the first time was terrifying. But the more I saw my counsellor, the more she was able to get to know me and help me with my struggles.
I believe that God had the power to take away my pain, but I also believe that He needed me to learn something from it. He needed me to make an effort. He needed me to be in the refiner’s fire for a while so that I could come out stronger. I learned to take responsibility for my own mental health. I developed the courage to seek help, and talk about the things that were causing me axiety. I developed more empathy.
It’s easy to talk about all of this now that I’m not in the thick of it, but I do remember what it was like. I know how it feels to have suicidal thoughts – to feel like everyone you love is better off without you. I’ve been there, and by the grace of God I came back from it. I’m happier now than I’ve ever been, and although I hope I never have to struggle like that again, I know that my trials have shaped me into the person I am today.
If you’re struggling, please know that there is hope. Know that God loves you more than you can imagine. Know that there is help out there. Know that you are important, and you are needed in this world 💗