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growing up with depression

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I feel like I'm in limbo.

I've been suffering from major depression and anxiety since the age of 15 (this was when I was diagnosed but I had been showing signs and symptoms earlier on) so consequently it has impacted my formative years gravely. I attempted to end my life at 15 and ever since then it has been an uphill battle. I wasn't able to complete school because of the debilitating nature of the illness. Everyday was a battle to get out of bed and once I actually got to school I would be met by intense anxiety attacks. Therapy and medication helped but in the end I pulled out. It was too much, and my parents wanted to give me time to recover. 

I'm now entering into my twenties and I'm managing my symptoms and episodes, but I feel at loss with what to do with my life when so much of it has been spent trying to recover and survive. When people ask me what I do I'm ashamed to reply with "nothing" because mental illness has sapped me from any form of hobbies. I used to paint and sculpt but now I feel incompetent and drained of any creative ambitions. Since I haven't completed year 12 I haven't had the opportunity to apply to uni since entry requirements demand an atar (I live in Australia so thats our exam scoring system) I know I could apply to pathways but I honestly don't even know what career I want/if I even want one. 

I feel so bewildered and useless. I don't know how to function in the "real" world because I've spent so many years just trying to survive. Now when I feel like I could almost contribute to the world I'm met with an existential crises.

Has anyone gone through something similar? and how did you find meaning/purpose? 

 

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Welcome to the community. I'm sorry you've been through so much in your life. I'm very glad that you're still here with us.

Would it possibly help to outline some goals and/or steps to take to give you direction and something to reach for? That way you might also focus on one thing at a time so as not to feel overwhelmed. In your country, is it possible to return to school to get your high school diploma?

I have a family member who struggles and I am trying to help her gain independence skills. She works with a stress scale called SUDS for her anxiety. In this, activities are rated on a 1-10 scale, 1 being the least stressful and 10 being the most stressful. Work begins on the lowest stressors first and is repeated through exposure until a person feels more comfortable and can move up the scale.

Is your family supportive? I hope so. Possibly they could be present with you as you work on new skills until you feel comfortable enough to do them independently? It can take time to build confidence, but I think that small successes can help a person gain feelings of self efficacy. I think too that it's very important to take care of yourself along the way. How is your self talk? I hope you can be gentle with and compassionate with yourself. I have found that developing an inner encouraging voice has helped me. Now if I find myself falling back into the rabbit hole...which still happens from time to time...I can pull myself out of it and bounce back quickly.

Self expression and any activity that nurtures the soul can be so important, I think. Art and sculpting are wonderful. I have been learning to paint recently and I find it helps to clear my mind. Maybe you might enjoy if you try again?

Meaning and purpose. For me, this has been about listening to my heart, engaging more, and reaching for what I want in my life.

I hope you feel better. We're here to listen if it helps to express more.

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