If you're reading this, getting help doesn't mean you failed.
I used to think my anxiety was my best quality. The nagging voice in the back of my mind that told me that getting a B was unacceptable pushed me to a near 4.0 GPA. The voice that told me if I didn't go to the party that my friends would forget me made me social. The voice that told me I needed to exercise to be skinny forced me to run faster and faster. It told me to become pre-med, to apply for jobs, and to excel. I craved success, daily reminders that I was worth something.
I used to think my anxiety made me strong, smart, and successful. I felt on top of the world. That is, until things started to slip. Until my anxiety lead to depression. Until running caused a stress fracture that forced me to walk with crutches. Until my desire for A+s left me with panic attacks. Until I convinced myself if I told any of my friends my pain, they would turn away from me. Until I wished I were dead.
At first I thought if I ignored it, it would go away. I thought I could overcome it on my own. 7 months I tried to hide the fact I was drowning. 7 months I slept 2-3 hours most nights because I lay awake dreading the future. 7 months I tried journaling, yoga, meditation, stepping back from extracurricular activities, and then finally even therapy with no relief. I couldn't stop crying. I didn't think I could go on.
When my doctor first suggested the little green 25 mg pill of Zoloft, I felt ashamed. I felt angry. I couldn't understand why I couldn't make myself better. But after 2 months, that little green pill changed my life. It helped me realize taking another gap year wasn't the end of the world. It told me I didn't need to work out every day. It made me see that my friends loved me for who I am, and that the future was worth living. It taught me how to smile again. How to take deep breathes. How to stop the negative self-talk and all-or-nothing thinking. How to be proud of myself.
Medication isn’t necessary for everyone, and it isn’t an easy fix. But if you need it, it isn’t cheating. It didn't mean you couldn't do it on your own. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. If something inside you isn’t working correctly, fixing it isn’t failure. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that. But I can’t. Instead, I can tell you. If you are struggling, seek help. I can’t stress it enough. Getting help isn’t failing and medication is cheating. It won’t get better until you acknowledge it. I promise you won't regret it.
Anonymous, University of Virginia