Lineth Trujillo Grand Prize Scholarship Winner for 2018
About the Winner: Currently an IB senior at Earl Wooster High School, Lineth has a passion for writing and inspiring others. Her hobby’s include playing the violin, taking pictures, and spending a lot of time with her animals. Lineth plans to graduate from High School in Fall of 2019 and aspires to be a Zoologist.
Dealing With Anxiety and Depression
Dealing with a mental disorder can be one of the biggest obstacles posed in a teenagers life, anyone’s life for that matter. Mental disorders contain endless drags of imbalance leading to various symptoms that ruin living a normal day to day life. But how exactly can one deal with mental disorders, especially without spending hundreds and thousands of dollars and various months on treatments that may not even work in the long term? Methods of dealing with mental disorders such as depression and anxiety don’t come easy especially when everything seems hopeless. As someone who has anxiety, I would say it definitely is one of the worst weights that I carry everyday. I felt alone in my life, feeling like no one understood what I was going through. I would sit in my classes everyday wondering how my classmates had the confidence to raise their hands and speak when even the mere thought of me getting called on left a feeling of utter dread. Everyday I overthink every possible scenario that could happen and go over past embarrassing situations or things that I’ve done wrong. My pitfalls and my failures follow me everywhere. Living in a traditional household, my parents also did not understand what I was going through and when I would explain my anxiety, I would be ignored or told to just get over it. Mental disorders are not something you can just “get over”. If I could just ignore my anxiety, I would. I feel that so many doors have been closed and so many opportunities lost because it got to the point where I was scared, terrified of going out of my daily routine to do something different. Even today anxiety has a major toll in my life, but I have learned how to control it a little more, and hopefully with more time and patience, I will be able to raise my hand in class, eat lunch out alone, go out with a different group of friends, the possibilities seem endless.
The first step I would suggest when dealing with anxiety or depression is understanding the mental disorder and the symptoms that come with it. Feeling a little sad every now and then is not a depressive disorder. Feeling anxious before a job interview is not an anxiety disorder. In reality: the duration and extent of symptoms are what determine if a behavior is a disorder. Mental disorders are hard to diagnose for psychologists because it is all happening in the head and there’s no 100% way of telling exactly what is going on. Brain scanning technology and the diagnostic manual have come a long way over the years, showing that mental disorders, like anxiety and depression, contain many environmental, genetic, evolutionary and behavioral factors the may cause a mental disorder. As seen there are many factors in diagnosis, but telling if you have been feeling differently or the people around you are starting to worry, it is a good idea to try to understand your feelings. When I realized my evident differences with my classmates I looked into symptoms to see how I could prevent them.
Symptoms of depression include, but are not limited to:
- change in appetite
- loss of interest in things that used to make you happy
- suicidal thoughts and feelings
- consistent pessimistic feelings (feelings of hopelessness)
- aches and pains, both physical and mental
- sleep problems (loss or excessive)
- There are also different types of depressive and anxiety disorders.
- Depressive disorders include: major depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), bipolar disorder, etc.
- -feelings of dread when doing day to day tasks
- -rapid heart rate
- -clammy/ sweaty/ trembling hands
- -digestive problems
- Anxiety disorders include: Generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, OCD, and others.
The second step after coming to a somewhat understanding of what you are going (or might be going) through is finding support and/or help. As I mentioned, I felt alone when I realized I had anxiety, but after talking to my friends and my sister, I found that others have anxiety too. Finding a support group may not be easy as opening yourself up to someone else may be terrifying, or you might feel silly, but it is critical you find someone you can confide in. This could be when a therapist comes in, but I know that may be costly… so a school counselor, parent, teacher, friend, or even someone you are not close to, but notice they are going through something similar. Having this type of support may make you feel less alone, and another perspective is provided for what you are going through.
The third step after providing a foundation for yourself is practicing methods of mindfulness to do internal work. Mindfulness is a common type of therapy that helps with self discovery. It requires a lot of motivation, patience, and dedication. Mindfulness includes sitting down, controlling your breathing, and emptying your mind of all your thoughts. This form of CBT once practiced routinely, can show an overall positive attitude and reduced stress levels. There are many apps and youtube videos that guide you step by step. I would highly encourage taking a minimum of 5 minutes of your day to do this. Other therapeutic things that help me include: painting, play dough, listening to music, and keeping a journal. In the end it is all baby steps and finding what works the best for you. There are also pills that may help, but in the end you may be left with more symptoms and/or a dependence on these. However, if symptoms get worse, consider seeking professional help. This journey is a hard one, but you are not alone. Persistence and dedication are the underlying factor here.
“We will accept ourselves as we are And we will be happy with the person we see in the mirror We will accept ourselves and live with anxiety”(or any mental disorder)