Living with depression, anxiety

Kristin Gooding, Writer

We’ve all lightly thrown around the word anxiety or depression, maybe even joked around about it with some friends, but it’s a real mental illness. It actually affects people. I know because I have anxiety and major depressive disorder or MDD.  

In November 2018, I was diagnosed with it after I had a huge panic attack over a minor detail that morning. The doctor asked me a few questions and had me fill out some surveys just to see what was going on, and then she diagnosed me.

At that point in my life, I had been having panic attacks for about a year.  I’ve always been what someone might call a “Nervous Nellie.” I thought I had anxiety, but I wasn’t going to “WebMD” over it and self diagnose myself because that’s not the best thing to do.

While my anxiety was always sort of apparent to me, my depression was more masked. I thought that my depression was just how every teenager felt, but it was more than that.

I have MDD which means I go through persistent and intense feelings of sadness for extended periods of time. While it may look like I’m happy and everything is going great, in the back of my head there’s always that thought that I’m not good enough or that all my friends hate me.

Eventually, I started noticing a change in my personality and attitude, for the worse. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I would become upset or frustrated at my closest friends, and it drove me to neglect something I love–theatre.

That’s when I knew I had to get help and after that visit with the doctor, I started improving with medication and therapy. I kept the whole process to myself with the exception of my family. Anxiety and MDD was my problem, and I didn’t want my friends to judge me because of my mental illness.

I waited about two weeks after my diagnosis to tell some of my closest friends; some of the people I told brushed it off like it was no big deal, but my true friends supported me and asked how they could help. One of the most supportive people was my theatre teacher Mrs. Rotan. She always made sure I was OK in theatre and really helped me come to terms with my mental illness.

Some days I feel like I’m myself again happy and bubbly but other days I let anxiety and MDD rule my life, and it feels like no one is there for me. It is hard living with it, but I have a wonderful supportive family and an amazing theatre family who helps me on my bad days and is with me on the good days.

If you have depressive thoughts or think you might have mental health issues, I would urge you to talk to your parents about seeking help or talk to the LIGHT counselor, Teri Holamon. Seeking help has allowed me to take control of my life and be able to be myself again with anxiety and MDD.