Hello, my name is Ryan, and I live with significant mood swings, anxiety, and other major challenges. For as long as I can remember, my anxiety has played a detrimental role in my everyday life, but I didn’t know it was anxiety until later in life. It has created a lot of interpersonal and personal problems that I’m still learning my way around. Around the age of 12-13, I had my first depressive episode. It was a quiet one as a lot of my episodes tend to be. As my life progressed through my early and recent teen years, these issues would and still do constantly arise. Then, I started to experience more symptoms, and my mental illnesses developed more. The progression led me and still leads me to very challenging places to navigate and come out of, yet I do each time.
Significant mood swings, anxiety, and other challenges have kept me from understanding myself, and I couldn’t understand why I was going through these things. I thought I was completely alone in my struggles and that no one could understand, and even I couldn’t understand what was going on, and in many ways, I still don’t. I’ve often felt debilitated and paralyzed by these feelings. Months, weeks, or days of not being able to do much at all or doing too much. The constant anxieties playing out in my head. I kept these feelings I’d been living with for so many years to myself and would do my best to ensure that no one knew how I truly felt. I didn’t know how to exactly articulate the things I was experiencing or how to advocate for myself, so getting help didn’t seem reasonable to me for a very long time. I expected perfection from myself and couldn’t stand the thought of others knowing my vulnerabilities either. I didn’t think people would believe me, but I know now that it doesn’t matter as my struggles are real and valid. Eventually, it came to a point where the people around me could spot more noticeable changes, so they helped me find the resources I needed. Although it took time and countless setbacks, not counting the inevitable ones yet to come, I started to play a more active role in my mental health.
I’ve had to make very challenging decisions to feel better and simply keep myself afloat. Putting myself first and allowing myself to open up to love and support saved me and continues to save me. Going to therapy and finding things to help mitigate my symptoms saved me. Building a support system and community you can lean on when times are tough is important. I wouldn’t have been able to find my way without the people who love me. I used to believe I would never feel the way I do now. I now feel that life may not always be great, but it can be, and it is worth it. Things are imperfect and never will be perfect, but I know I’m not alone. Let people know you love them, as it’s the greatest thing we can do for each other. Mental health is an everyday battle, but we got it. You are worth it, so do things that are necessary for YOU. Continue to see the next day, and we’ll see you there! Together, We Can.