my third and fourth year into college is when i started to really struggle with anxiety and depression. I was 22 years old and had recently returned from serving an LDS mission. I spent my first two years of college at a small jr. college in a small town where i lived with my best friend and cousin. I loved it and thrived there and got better grades than I ever have in my whole life. I took time off to serve my mission, then enrolled into a large university, the largest in the state of Utah.
I have normally been described as a happy energetic, even hyper person. I loved my family and friends and have spent my entire life surrounded my loved ones. Anywhere I went, I would find or make friends. However, a lot of things in my life were in transition, with friends coming and going, getting married having children, and the normal things that happen when you become an adult. I however felt as if I wasn't moving or progressing at all. I was stuck in one place and the whole world was moving around me. My grades started to plummet. I struggled earning my math credit. I took several different routes and classes and took the same class several times and for some reason was unable to pass and earn my final math credit. Semester after semester it got worse and worse. I had to continually fight my way out of academic probation semester after semester. Simultaneously, I was struggling with my social life as well. I went through three serious relationships that failed and left me heart broken. I grew distant from my friends who I normally was going out with daily, and no longer made any effort to go out and see.
I fell into a rut, which happens to everyone, but for some reason was unable to pull myself out of it, and felt my self falling further and further. I failed classes, failed relationships, and felt like I was failing my loved ones. On top of that I could feel my spirituality failing me. The word failure felt like it was branded on my chest like I was the main character in the Scarlet Letter. What once felt like a dark night became a thick dark fog where i couldn't see anyone or anything in front of me no matter where I turned. It became suffocating as I drowned in my own self doubt and extreme feelings of inadequacy.
My mother noticed my mood change and saw me drifting and had me meet with a professional. He diagnosed me with anxiety and depression and a mood disorder that often comes from those things called Anhedonia. Anhedonia is a form of depression where is the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable. Sometimes it is mere passive joylessness and dreariness, discouragement, dejection, lack of taste and zest and spring. My therapist helped me talk about my struggles and feelings and suggest I received medication. Being scared of the affects of anti-depressants, he helped me learn coping mechanisms and understand my triggers and be better in touch with my own thoughts and feelings. I did art therapy and painted. I got tested for learning disabilities and found out I had been struggling with ADHD and a cognitive processing disorder.
Now, 25, I have learned to cope and deal with my feelings and recognize when I'm having strong anxiety and depression. Receiving help honestly changed my life, and quite possibly saved it. I'm now grateful for parents, siblings, and friends who were brave enough to confront me without judgement and with love about my withdrawal and depression. It's made me brave enough to have those kinds of hard talks with friends and family and led a hand when I see them struggling because not only can I relate, I know there are paths to help and recovery.