I was duped by Disney

Source: www.fanpop.com

So most people probably figure out that the whole “happily ever after” thing doesn’t really exist around age 13. I am a really slow learner, so for me, it was more like 30. And it took me a LONG time to get over it.

I truly wanted to believe that I would be whisked away by my soulmate on a white stallion; that good always triumphs over evil; that people are inherently good; that if I worked hard enough my dreams would come true; that friends are easy to come by and will always pull through no matter what; and that happiness drops in your lap when you aren’t even looking.

Since I didn’t have the most idyllic childhood, these movies gave me unwavering hope; something to look forward to in life. That as I got older, things would only get better. And I continued to believe this even after reality smacked me in the face on a regular basis. After all, Cinderella had some hard knocks, and she made it work!

I think this has always been a part of my problem with anxiety and depression: I had unrealistic expectations from a really early age. Shakespeare has been quoted as saying,”Expectation is the root of all heartache.” Oh, was he right.

I like to learn things the hard way. Here are just a few of the things I have finally accepted:
Life can really suck, but it’s what you make of it. If things aren’t working out, do something different. Nothing will change unless you do.
Hard work does not equal success. You can find a job you love and truly enjoy — but you may not get paid in money, recognition, admiration, or the like. And you have to be OK with that.
People screw up. You have to learn to be happy with yourself first and not depend so much on others. They will never be able to give you everything you need, because they are all humans after all.
I really have to love myself before I can love others. I know, I know, this is really cliché. I found if I am not confident in myself, no one else will be either. I have to accept myself warts and all. If other people don’t like me, well then, I probably won’t like them either. Win-win!

Does anyone else have thoughts or beliefs from childhood that turned out not to be true? 



Two for one: Anxiety = Depression?

Source: http://www.artfire.com

According to PsychologyToday.com, anxiety and depression are “two sides of the same coin.”
• Of those who suffer from depression, 60%-70% also report having anxiety.
• Anxiety typically appears in a person’s life years before depression.
• The average age to develop an anxiety disorder is late childhood/early adolescence.
• Anxiety can manifest itself into a variety of disorders like OCD, panic disorder, social phobias, PTSD, and others.

(To see more, visit http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200310/anxiety-and-depression-together to read the full article.)

Whelp, I am over-qualified for this one. I was diagnosed with panic disorder (as a tween), clinical depression (as a teen), and PTSD (as an adult). Triple threat, baby! To the outside world, I can really look like an erratic, hot mess. When I am in the throws of anxiety or depression, I feel like I am (A) slowly sinking into the bottom of a dark, dank hole, or I am (B) free falling off a mountain — desperately grabbing for anything and everything on the way down.

Unfortunately most people I know don’t know how to help, react, or respond. And why would they? If they haven’t experienced it for themselves or witnessed it firsthand from a loved one, they can’t possibly get it. And I can’t take it personally. I can’t say what it’s like to be on a battlefield, so I wouldn’t know how to comfort a combat solider. I haven’t seen what they have seen or felt what they have felt.

Thankfully I have found a few people I can trust with my feelings. If anyone tries to tell you things like, “Just get over it already,” “Things are not really that bad,” or “At least you are not starving in Africa,” then you need to find someone else to confide in.

When I can’t get a hold of someone, I try to work out what might be causing my stress or sadness in the first place. I find it’s almost always related to warped or unhealthy thinking.

I try to ask myself:
• What am I really afraid of? It’s usually losing something I have or not getting something I want.
• What can I do about it right now? Taking action gets me out of the problem and moving toward the solution.
• What’s the worst that could happen? Whatever my answer usually is, it has never happened. If it ever does, at least I will not be taken off guard.

Although feelings are very real, they are not always facts. Just because I feel worthless, lonely, like I am going to die or go crazy, etc., does not mean it is reality. I may have to live with these challenges, but it does not mean I am out of control or helpless. Always remember that anxiety and depression are real medical problems that can require treatment. But take heart — they can be greatly reduced or even eliminated with a professional’s help.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “There is a light of the end of the tunnel, and it’s not always a train.”

Finding hope in depression & anxiety

Like millions of people around the world, I suffer from clinical depression. I have tried everything — exercise, prescriptions, therapy, substance abuse, and even hospitalization — and nothing has entirely removed this darkness from my life.

So instead of drowning in it, I have decided to finally take a stand. It’s my life, and I am ready to start living regardless of my diagnosis! I know I will have good days along with the bad, and I will share both.

I am NOT a doctor nor an expert on the subject; all I can offer is what has worked for me. 

Here’s to finding the hope amongst depression!