You keep it on the inside because that is the safest place to hide.
These demons, the ones I keep locked in the darkest places in my mind, are finding their way to break free. A way to live on the surface and to overtake me. They want control over every thought and action in my life. I have to fight. I have to fight to save myself because if I don't then who will?
I labeled myself as a fighter. So much so that I have a tattoo of the word "fighter" hidden in plan sight. I see myself this way because I have overcome a lot in my still short life. Even on the darkest of days I had always found a way to push through and keep fighting. There were times where that felt almost impossible to do. Yet somehow, I would come out strong. A many of the battles I have fought have been within myself. My own feelings, irrational fears, reactions to situations, etc. I am my own worst enemy.
What I failed to realize over the years was that there was much more going on with me than what I thought. Growing up I was told I was overdramatic, that I could be an actress. Really, it was a perfectly acceptable reaction to anxiety and stress induced by years of mental, physical, and emotional abuse. Later on in my adult years, after finally going to therapy, I found out that I have severe anxiety with PTSD. Like most people, I thought that PTSD was only for those who served in the military. However, after research and asking my therapist A LOT of questions it came to light that PTSD can happen to anyone who has experienced severe trauma in their life.
As I was going to therapy and learning more about these repressed memories, feelings and resentment I had hidden, I became closer to my aunt. She started to take me in as one of her own; already having two kids as it was. But, it was like I was always meant to be part of the family. It was during this time that my baby cousin became my hero. An unfortunate traumatic situation happened, and it left her with similar struggles as my own; only more severe. Being there with her to see how she was handling and coping with what was happening, made her brave in my eyes. She was so outwardly out spoken and open about the struggles she faced. Even when she couldn't put feelings to words. I admired that. She also never let anything sway her from who she was as a person. She is so loving, compassionate, and has the best sense of humor. Witnessing her fight made me want to work on mine. Without her unknowing influence I would have not sought the help I needed. It was also with the support and unconditional love of my aunt, her mother, that I was able to see it through. I will forever be grateful for them.
My name is Brittany Sergent and I have Anxiety with PTSD from years of child abuse. My anxiety had gotten so severe and the fight inside me died that I became very depressed. My choices were reckless and there were many of days/nights where I wish it would all just end.
Somewhere along the way I lost all my favorite parts of myself. I kept searching for a reason or something to blame. The harder I looked the more I realized that I am the reason for my own unhappiness. Although there are many factors in my life that have had happened to me, everything has been my choice. The reason I was able to overcome these feelings before was because of my mentality. I was stronger than my demons, and my own personal feelings. Somewhere along the way I stopped fighting. I stopped caring about myself, what I looked like, how I felt every day etc. It has always been important to me to get up everyone morning and put my damn self together. It got to the point where those days were few and far between. I stopped caring. I knew I needed help, more than therapy. I needed something that was stronger than me. I finally swallowed my pride, and got the courage to talk to my doctor.
Although it has only been a few weeks since I have started antidepressants and anxiety medication, I have finally started to feel like myself. I used to have such strong feelings about not taking medicine and going about my healing in a more holistic manner. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time in the day and enough Zen in the world to help put my trouble mind at easy. When I sought additional treatment I feared becoming a zombie or numb. Even with all the crazy emotions I felt when life was bad they were equally as powerful when life was good. I love with my whole heart. I am also crazy, vivacious and outgoing. I didn't want that to go away too. I truly felt like I would much rather live with all my demons than risk losing those other parts that I loved.
I took the risk, knowing everything was my decision and if I turned into this person I feared I might... I could stop the medications and be Brittany again. To finally reach out and ask for help with my mental health medically was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I don't have a cripplingly sadness or a sense of failure every minute of every day. I'm not a zombie or completely numb either. I can finally cope with the world around me and enjoy it for the first time in a really long time. Ironically enough, my coworkers have also started noticing a difference in me as well.
Although I am getting better, I am still healing. Recently, within the last month, I had to call into work. I just couldn't do it. Couldn't bring myself to leave the house to face the world. I was so sad that anything I thought about left me in tears. On the opposite end I was extremely anxious because I was worried people would be mad that I called in for a stupid reason. But my mental health is not stupid. I matter. And if I needed a day to cry, lay down and snuggle with my pets, I could do that. And I did!
I matter! And it's important that I take care of me, because there is only one.
This is what anxiety and depression looks like. Most would describe me as outgoing, fun, humorous, and determined. But what you don't know is the countless nights I have laid awake worrying, how often I fell to pieces on the floor crying, or not being able to leave the house because of the irritation fears/anxiety.
It's often that a person that suffers from anxiety/depression fights in silence or in the comfort of their home. Anxiety and depression is seldom shared with friends, family, or loved ones. Most people choose not to share what they are going through because they feel like they are annoying and obnoxious. My advise if someone decides to open up about what they are going through, just listen and show love. Show them that they mean something in this world. By being willing to listen, it shows the person that their feelings are valid. Although it may sound irritation and a little off the wall, what the person is going through and feeling is very real to them.
Love, listen and support positive changes. Everyone needs that in their lives.