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How I Survived and Learned to Cope with Anxiety & Depression

“I dream that one day we will live in a world where mental illness such as depression and anxiety will no longer be taboo.”
An Asian man  shares his story on how he copes with depression and anxiety.

‘A period of adolescence’ is what my psychologist told me, but I knew it was more than that. I was only in 9th grade when I felt a strange void in my heart.

On the outside, peers saw me as a positive and outgoing individual who did it all. I did well academically, played varsity football, ran varsity track, danced, played instruments and sang in vocal ensembles.

I had many friends, near and distant, loving family members as well as supportive mentors. Life seemed beautiful outwardly, but internally I was ceasing to exist in my own happiness.

How could I have fallen so deep into this abyss that was seemingly never-ending? From days to weeks to months of crying, apathetically lying in bed, barcoding my wrists, I couldn’t deal with it anymore. ‘Dear mom, dad and brother: I’m done.’

Everyone told me I’d get better. Everyone told me this was normal to go through. It’s been 6 months and I’m still feeling like I don’t belong in this world…” Maybe it was best for me to not write a goodbye letter.

I can’t imagine how my family would have felt if they were to have found the letter before I came back from my attempt at jumping off the bridge.

Suicidal ideations were raging through my head. I thought the world wouldn’t care if I were to end my life. This would have been the quickest way to end my misery.

Ten years later to this day, I’m still alive and I could not be any more grateful. That daunting day, something in my heart and mind clicked for me to convince myself to live on.

Was it my faith in Christianity? Was it my sudden burst of forced optimism? Was it because my competitive prideful nature told me not to lose this game against my mental illness?

To this day, I still don’t know what turned me around, but whatever it was, I could not be happier to be alive. If there was one thing I succeeded in doing, however, was reaching out to friends and family for comfort and help.

At the age of 14, I had no idea that this feeling of perpetual melancholy was depression. Yet, I seeked help even when I didn’t know for what and even when I didn’t want to. This ultimately helped me in the long run as I still battle with depression and anxiety today.

My depression comes sporadically, but when it does come I tell myself that I don’t identify myself as a depressed human being. I realized that during depression, many people including myself desire happiness, but we also subconsciously enjoy the self-pity and attention from others.

Rather than sinking deeper into our state of self-pity, let’s force ourselves to be optimistic. During my times of anxiety, I will sit on my bed with my legs crossed and meditate in silence for 5-10 minutes focusing on nothing, but my own breathing.

I constantly remind myself that I have much more to live for and that no matter how tough the situation gets, it will always get better as long as I am being active in trying to better myself.

Self-sufficiency in moderation is good for you, but do remember that there is nothing wrong with seeking out help from friends, family and even strangers.

You are loved and you matter in this world. Don’t let depression define who you are as a person. Don’t let depression beat you. You are more than capable of beating it.

When you beat it once, you’ll come to realize how much easier it becomes in beating it again. I dream that one day we will live in a world where mental illness such as depression and anxiety will no longer be taboo.

One day, we will all live to support each other in times of difficulty and adversity. Let’s live life beautifully with a grateful heart and mind.

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