Finding peace is an ongoing process
For as long as I can remember I have had anxiety and depression. For many years I wasn’t even aware I was suffering.
Being raised in an environment of fear was the bedrock of my identity – fear of failure, fear of inadequacy, fear of life, fear of… well… fear of fear itself.
Growing up neither my family nor I fully understood the nature of my mental illness. I was left with an unbearable sense of worthlessness and a resistance to any sort of external help. I tried to coast through the best I could, trying my hardest to fit into the mould that others expected of me.
I didn’t want to accept that what I was going through was not my fault. I needed to believe that I was responsible for the inadequacy and worthlessness I was feeling, and that I deserved to suffer because I was not able to keep it under control.
For a time I became more open to try things that could help. I started to experience some success after starting medication and dabbling briefly in some basic CBT.
However, it was not long before fear once again governed my choices and behaviour, forcing me down a path of despair. At this point I had been on medication for a few years, but even adjusting dosages was futile. My issues were much more deeply rooted.
In 2017 my Dad’s health suddenly began to deteriorate rapidly. The day he came home from hospital hit me like a tonne of bricks, and I realised that he would never again be the same man who raised me.
In the summer of 2018, he died.
My reality was completely shattered, like a hammer thrown into a fragile mirror. My very existence was being put into question, and I needed to find out why.
Everything in my journey with anxiety and depression so far had led to this moment: I needed help.
I became acutely aware that my approach to life was not working, and realised that I needed to go through a process of self-exploration and growth. This led to my first willing foray into therapy, with a brief stint in mindfulness and CBT. This really was great at teaching me how to slow down and accept my thoughts and feelings in the present moment.
After some time I realised that delving deeper into my past was necessary. I soon transitioned to psychodynamic counseling, which has been a fantastic tool on shining a light on the origins of my issues. In recent months I’ve even been able to recognise that I suffer from trauma and complex PTSD, which was only possible after undergoing years of prior therapeutic work.
My experiences have taught me that it is so important that we learn to recognise our mental health issues, avoid self-blame and be willing to accept help. This is always an ongoing process and I am so excited to continue to share my journey in the hopes that others may relate and find some comfort.
Alpay is a content writer with a diverse media background, and is very passionate about mental health. He believes that human beings are unique and multi-faceted, and that an eclectic approach would be the most ideal way to deal with complex mental health issues. When not pounding away at his keyboard, he will most likely be found lost in a self-help book, engaging with his creative side or engrossed in an indie art-house movie he thinks he understands.