Today is my 28th birthday. I can’t begin to explain how strange that feels. It’s easy to feel like I should be so much further in my life from where I am currently. I thought I might be settled in a career by now. I thought I would feel more like an adult than I do. I thought I would know more about what I wanted to do with my life. I thought I wouldn’t still be affected by the traumas of my past, but sometimes I still am. I thought I would be done with struggling with anxiety and depression by now, but it’s still a daily battle.
But also, I remember where I was two years ago at graduate school. How I was just coming to terms with my anxiety and depression and starting to truly understand what was happening to me. Then last year, how I was still such a mess. Crying on my floor. Having bits of anger where I would lash out. Then to where I am now. I see how much I have grown. I see how far I have come. I see that I am proud of the person I have come to be.
It’s easy to judge yourself, especially with the voices of anxiety and depression in your mind. They tell you how you should be doing more. They tell you that you will never be enough. They tell you to hide. They tell you that you shouldn’t bother. They tell you that you aren’t worthy. They tell you that everyone hates you. They tell you there is no joy in your life.
It’s hard to flourish when those thoughts are constantly in your mind. It’s hard to even to try to move forward when you find yourself constantly tripping on this thoughts. You pick yourself up, and then anxiety and depression knock you back down in one way or the other.
I looked at my career. I saw how people younger than me, seemed like they had their careers figured out. I saw them moving up in the professional world. They seemed so together. Then there was me, who was working at an internship and didn’t get a real job until a year later. I was terrified that I would never get one, so for a month I just stopped applying. I finally got up the courage to network, and it worked out well.
I was really hard on myself for a long time for not being where I thought I should be. I beat myself up. I told myself I was no good. I told myself there was no point in trying because anxiety and depression wouldn’t let me anyway.
Then I started to talk more about what I was going through. I mentioned to others how I was struggling. I mentioned how I have no idea what I’m doing. I quickly realized I wasn’t alone. Many people felt behind in life. Many people felt lost. Many people felt they were alone. But we are never alone. So many of us are struggling and wandering. So many of us start over when we figure out a bit more in life.
We may be on one path, but we can realize that we are wrong and start over. We can take it easy on ourselves when anxiety and depression win. We can forgive ourselves for falling or getting beaten down by anxiety and depression. We can rest and try the next day again. We can be at peace with where we are in our lives and move forward from there.
Struggling isn’t easy. Picking yourself up isn’t easy. Being knocked down by anxiety and depression isn’t easy. Learning how to be at peace where you are isn’t easy. I’m better at it, but I’m not an expert in it yet. I have my days where I need to wallow instead of try. That’s okay too. Wherever you are in your journey, it’s okay.
In the next couple days I’ll be writing an article for how to get help when you struggle with anxiety and depression – so keep a look out for that!
Follow along with my journey more closely by following me on Instagram @sylvmarcia