Using Socialization to Beat Anxiety
I was initially diagnosed as having an unspecified mood disorder. I kid you not, those are the literal words in my file. It was later theorized by doctors that I may be unipolar. Ultimately, they determined that I have bipolar depression, which refers to the lows of bipolar disorder. For a large part of my life, I was depressed. However, being around people helped pull me out of it. When you are depressed, it is easy to isolate yourself but I promise people help remind you of what it is like to be happy. Go to events, get out there, live life, and more importantly, don’t give in to depression. Make it through that darkness long enough to be reminded of what joy is and of the joy that remains in the world. Sometimes you have to search for it. If it does not find you then you have to find it. More than that though, remove anyone you don’t enjoy spending time with. People who don’t make you happy don’t need to be in your life because it is hard enough finding happiness on your own. You don’t need help being depressed so get them out. My anxiety snuck up on me like a ninja in all honesty. I couldn’t tell you when anxiety first started to affect my ability to function, but I can tell you that literally any time I had to interact with people my anxiety went haywire. The mere thought of interacting with people sent me into a panic. Even with my family, whenever I heard the front door open I would hide in my room. All I felt was dread at the thought of going to school. My anxiety slowly got worse until eventually, I couldn’t leave the house without having a full blown attack. Instead of seeking social situations and being a part of the world, I isolated myself which only ended up feeding my anxiety. It got to a point where I was basically becoming Emily Dickinson who was a recluse herself. I wouldn’t leave the house, I wouldn’t speak, and I was spiraling downward. I gave into my anxiety, I allowed it to control what I did and in doing so, I also fed my depression. I became more and more isolated which basically meant that I didn’t have much of a support system left to pull me out of my dark cloud. Eventually I realized that social interaction, while infuriating and nerve wracking at times, is important if there is any chance of surviving mental illness.
So how do I manage to exist in the world without depression and anxiety suffocating me? It took me hitting rock bottom to cope. The story of my journey is one for another post but the moral of the story is that, after making a change in my life, I was able to better cope with anxiety and depression. How did I cope? I learned to socialize. As strange as it may seem, I learned how to interact with people. That’s not saying that my anxiety is completely gone, that’s just saying that I no longer allow it to rule my world. Whenever my anxiety rears its ugly head, I am tempted to slink away into my hole of loneliness. However, I have friends and people around me who remind me, if only for a moment, that there is joy to be found. So yeah, anyone who doesn’t help pull you out of your anxiety and depression needs to go.