Today’s guest blog post is from Baylee Mehl. Baylee (Bay) Mehl lives in Provo, UT with her husband and her cat Helevar. She loves writing and reading fantasy novels, teaching yoga, and eating brie cheese. Read about her misadventures with depression, anxiety, and writing block on her blog. Blog: https://theminimeditatingdragon.wordpress.com/
My struggle with anxiety started when I was 14.
Growing up, I’d always been a little shy, but I was able to work through it and find friends. I also had the usual butterflies around tests and big events, but I truly hated being around large groups. Most people called me introverted, which was true, but I think it was also because of something bigger that I didn’t have any words for.
After several years of bullying in middle school, I started to withdraw even more. Social situations became unbearable and I rarely went out with friends. My parents hoped, and I hoped, that this shyness and fear was just a phase. An angsty teenager moment, if you will.
However, this feeling of constriction continued into my college years. At this point, my anxiety was coupled with depression. Whether the depression developed from my past experiences or if it sprang from my exhaustion of being constantly scared to go out into the real world, both aggravated each other. I finally started seeing a regular therapist, but didn’t tell my parents. Thankfully, my university offers free psychological services.
I didn’t tell my parents because, while they are loving and kind, didn’t really believe in mental illness aside from severe personality or psychotic disorders. That made it extremely hard to talk to them about what I was going through. I was scared, and still am scared, to tell them how it’s been for the past few years.
I spent several years working with different therapists, mostly on my depression because that seemed like the most pressing problem. However, when I recently started taking anti-depressants, while they helped with my depression, my anxiety got worse. It was though my depression was keeping my anxiety in check. Even though the anti-depressant I am taking is supposed to help with my anxiety, it doesn’t. My doctor upped my dose, but it didn’t work.
I went back to therapy for my anxiety, and without the depression in the way, I’ve finally been able to work on the issues that are specific to my anxiety disorder. Even though I’m making some great headway and my therapist is truly wonderful, I know that this will get a lot harder before it gets better.
The goal I have for myself is to get to a point where I no longer need therapy and I no longer need medication. It’s unclear how long this goal will take, and I’ve made several smaller goals to reach along the way, but I do believe that it’s completely possible.