I sat down with my friend Sneha from Calgary, Alberta. If you are like Sneha and are struggling with anxiety and depression, I think this will inspire you to seek additional support if you need it. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Adam: Hi, Sneha. Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me. Let’s begin with you introducing yourself so people know a bit about who you are.
Sneha: Hello Adam, I will always make time for my favourite boy, so no worries! Well, I’m 26 years old and I live near the University of Calgary. I am currently working to get into the psychology program, and then hopefully grad school in the near future. In my spare time I like to work out, meet new people and travel.
Adam: Thanks, Sneha. So, tell me a little bit about what your disabilities are and how you were diagnosed. However, please only go into as much detail as you feel comfortable.
Sneha: I think I always struggled from a very young age. I think without an awareness of what the illness was, my parents didn’t really clue in to my struggles. During high school my parents went through a very terrible divorce, and I became extremely depressed. I often was unable to attend classes. Some days I would go to school for 30 minutes, cry in the bathroom, and then go home, without getting any work done. Despite all of this it took me many years to have the self-awareness and courage to admit I needed help. The last straw was when I had a terrifying panic attack, where I was certain I was going to die. I went to the doctor first thing the next morning and started taking an SSRI medication. I have been on medication for the past three years and couldn’t be happier with how things are going. It’s definitely getting better.
Adam: I’m relieved to hear that things are turning around for you. What are challenges you’ve encountered due to your anxiety and depression and what things have you done to overcome those challenges?
Sneha: I think one of the things with having depression or anxiety is that it takes me a while to get myself together/back up again when I get knocked down. Despite my belief that I’m a pretty resilient human, sometimes the disorder makes my thoughts go towards darker places by nature, where I’ll naturally find a dead end faster when things don’t go my way. Being anxious means, I spend too much time dwelling on things that are not in my control, this takes up time and slows me down. Depression means the more anxious I get, the more dead-ends I see, like I’ve run out of options. It’s just a downward spiral from there.
Adam: What would you say is a common misconception about your disability? Or perhaps what would you want others to know about having anxiety and depression?
Sneha: I think there are many people who think it’s a weakness to admit they need a little extra help. It all comes down to our neurotransmitters and how they function in us as individuals. Some of us just need a little more serotonin, for example, in order to cope with day to day life, like the average person would. I just wish there was more awareness, so that people could get some help sooner.
Adam: This is exactly why I wanted to started this website: to bring actual awareness to the disabilities people face. It’s more impactful to understand these experiences from someone actually going through it than reading a Wikipedia page about it. What advice would you offer to a someone younger than you with anxiety or depression?
Sneha: I would say it’s extremely important to have a support group so that you don’t feel alone. My cousin once explained depression as “that voice that tells you that you need to be alone.” That voice tries to isolate you, and things only get worse when you are left alone with thoughts spiraling downwards. Also, I would say along with support groups, medication is worth a shot! Just know it will take time to find the right doses, and you need to be patient through all of the difficult adjustment periods (when getting on a new medication).
Adam: If you could go back in time to say something to your younger self, what would it be?
Sneha: I would say everything is going to work out, and that its okay to admit you need help too. You aren’t responsible to always be the rock everyone needs.
Adam: Thank you so much, Sneha! Is there anything you want to say before you go?
Sneha: Love you Adam!
Adam: You too, Sneha! Thanks for opening up about your experiences with anxiety and depression. You’re such an inspiration to me and the people around you.
Sneha: You’re the best, keep it up!