Personal Stories

When A Superhero Needs Their Sidekick: Coming to Terms with Getting Help

I’ve have struggled with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) for all my life, but only was recently diagnosed. At times when my anxiety was high, I would dip into depression. In 2013, I moved away for school and my anxiety took over my life in response to all these new experiences. The depression that followed was the kind where I became very irritable, negative and hostile in my interactions with other people and towards my outlook on life. Looking back on it I can say it completely ruined any chance I had at making a successful transition professionally and forming a supportive group of friends.

Now, after going in for help two years ago, I am in the process of recovering and learning to forgive myself. It is helping me much more than I thought it would. The reason I didn’t go in for help sooner is because I did not want to admit to myself that my mental state was that bad. I kept dismissing it as something that I could control when I couldn’t. Because GAD is a genetic trait seen in my family, I was fearful of being “that bad” because of how I have personally seen GAD and depression affect my family. Furthermore, I have struggled with GAD and depression for so long on my own and successfully found ways to manage it in previously, it was hard to admit when I needed to give up fighting it alone. 

The moment I decided to get help was when I finally realized how much I’ve allowed GAD and depression to destroy my life and everything I’ve worked for. It felt like I woke up out of a deep sleep and saw the damage from a tornado that passed through while I was asleep. It was a tipping point where I felt disbelief, shock, shame, and guilt at my actions under depression, all which seemed to have gradually morphed me into an entirely different person over these past two years. If I had gotten help sooner, I could have saved myself some grace and peace of mind. My best advice is to not let your pride, independence, or the fear of mental stigma stop you from getting the help you need. Realize even the strongest people need help getting back up sometimes. Metaphorically, even superheroes need their sidekick.