Dear eNotAlone: I have been feeling miserable all the time for over 6 months and I can't figure out why. I don't feel like myself. I experience a lot of anxious thoughts and emotions, and it's impacting my life in a big way. I'm not sure if it's depression or something else. I don't feel like I have anyone to turn to and I'm at my wits' end. What can I do to get back on track and find the help that I need?
* * *
The weight of misery can suffocate us, and that is where I find myself now. For months, I have felt the toll it has taken on my emotional state, my relationships and my general outlook on life. There are days when I lay in bed, overwhelmed by emotion and tired of trying to figure out what is wrong with me. It almost feels like I am living in a perpetual grey fog, but I cannot make sense of why or how I ended up there.
I am scared that I am suffering from depression, but I also cannot deny the anxious thoughts and fears that accompany the helplessness. I often find myself in situations where I just want to disappear and pretend nothing is wrong, but this only makes matters worse. I don't feel like myself; I am disconnected and alone, and I just want it to end.
At this point, I am desperate to find a solution and the emotional help I need. In a way, facing the truth of my condition is both empowering and liberating, but it also terrifies me. I cannot ignore and traverse these feelings forever and I want to find the courage it will take to start the healing process. I understand that it may not be easy and I wonder what I can do to make it happen...
Finding help is a courageous first step and there are many things you can do to make it easier. Start by researching mental health centers, therapists and psychiatrists in your area. Make a list of people who specialize in depression and anxiety, and book appointments to get a professional diagnosis. Gently let family, friends or co-workers know that you are struggling and may need support. Look out for community groups and workshops, as they can provide vital social interaction and positive reinforcement. Remind yourself that you are strong and brave, and that you are worth taking the time to seek help.
Although the stages of recovery can be painful, it's important to put deep thought into the goal of rebuilding yourself. Have courage and conviction to know that no matter what has happened, you can still lead a fulfilled life. Believe in your ability to become a happier version of yourself as you fight off the monsters of darkness within.
Sometimes it helps to think of your journey through depression like a dream. Think of yourself as a character inside a story working toward a higher purpose, and look for potential opportunities that can help you reach a happy ending. Remember that the dark moments we face are simply part of the long journey to success, a chapter we must eventually go through in order to reach our destination. As long as you continue to focus on the hope that lies ahead, there will be paths and guidance to lead you down them.
Finding help when feeling miserable takes a large amount of inner strength. You can do it, however! Rely on yourself and engage in self-care. Find activities that bring you joy, make time to laugh and to really be present. Let friends, family and professionals work together to support you and carry the weight of your suffering. As you let go of hopelessness, remember that recovery is something you can take control of. With enough dedication, courage and support, you will be able to make it out of the fog of misery and certainly make it back home.