Open Doors

Open Doors

by Madison Jo Sieminski

I am currently typing this in bed as I’m trying to avoid getting up. It is 2:13 pm and I haven’t found the motivation to start my day. It is a gloomy, rainy day so what about this makes me want to get out of bed? These are the days you want to just relax and watch movies. The struggle with anxiety is, this never seems to happen. Anxiety makes you think you should be doing more, that everything needs to be perfect. I can barely stay awake for longer than 30 minutes. Many days of the week, several days of the month, the days add up of feeling so dark and alone. So, what now? 

Tears running down my face as I’m questioning if I’m good enough. The burning sensation in my eyes and the puddles of my own tears, asking myself; Do I deserve to be here? What is my purpose? The long days of lying in bed because you can’t find enough energy to get up. The days that pass of not eating, or overeating. But also, the days where you wake up with a smile and the energy to run a marathon. This is what makes it so much harder because you look forward to those good days, but you just never know what you will get.

Since sophomore year of high school I noticed I was never fully myself. There has been someone inside of my head telling me to constantly worry and hold back from everything. Did I listen? Of course I did. I withdrew and shrank into myself until January 1st, 2020, when I sought help. Up until then, I had failed to realize my mental health was important and I needed help. This was the day my biggest failure turned into my biggest accomplishment. The weight of feeling so low was finally lifted off of my shoulders. Finally, I was putting myself and my health first. I had an appointment this day and I was so ready to finally seek help, but I was also nervous because I thought I would be judged. 

I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. Even after hearing that, I still don’t want to believe it because I want to feel normal. Even being told mental health issues are completely normal to have, it’s not so easy to believe.  

Arriving to the doctor’s office, very unsure what would happen or how it would go. My heart was beating out of my chest because I’ve never talked to someone about the problems I struggle with. Sitting in the waiting room and listening to the names being called, I waited and waited to hear mine. 

A nurse opened the door and I hear, “Madison Sieminski.”

I immediately began worrying because what do I say? What do I not say? After being taken back to the room, my nerves began to calm down. I think this was because I realized I was finally doing it. I was finally taking a step forward in bettering my health. It was a sense of relief knowing I was already there and there was no going back. Also, having my parents support me through all of it made it somewhat easier to breathe. 

Speaking of my parents, my mom also struggles with the same issues. Growing up, seeing my mom upset or having a bad day always broke my heart. It took her years to better herself and she still has hard days, but I am up for the challenge. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I am so thankful I have my mom, my best friend, to go to with anything. She is my rock and the push I needed to better myself. She is always the one to give me the reassurance I need. This is exactly what she did as I was texting her in the room, waiting for the doctor. She kept telling me, “it will all be okay.” 

Minutes passed of me waiting in the room for the doctor to come, which happened to feel like hours. She talked to me about my issues and I began to tell her I felt like I am struggling with anxiety and depression. 

“What do you struggle with?”, Dr. Wood asked. 

I began to tell her how I have been struggling to get through each day since one of my childhood friends committed suicide. It had me in tears. It felt like the room was getting warmer and I couldn’t breathe. My palms sweating and tears dripping off my face into my lap, I realized, I couldn’t do this to myself anymore. I hit rock bottom and nothing was bringing me back up for air. 

She left the room to get papers for me to fill out about myself. What was so shocking to me was a little survey could tell if someone has anxiety or depression. It was just two pieces of paper of answering questions. Crazy, isn’t it? 

I answered questions like, “In the past two weeks, how often have you not had the motivation to do anything?” or, “How often have you thought about harming yourself?” I would answer honestly how I felt from zero, being never, to five, almost every day. Most days I have little motivation to do anything and it is mentally and physically draining. Lying in bed wanting to get up but not being able to, is a horrible feeling. I decided to circle four for that question because I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m like that every day. The thoughts of me harming myself is what breaks me. Yes, this goes through my mind. Would I ever do it? Absolutely not. The feeling I have to live with after my friend passing away, I couldn’t imagine seeing my friends and family feeling this pain. I gave that question a two.

After I answered all of these questions, she added up the points. If the number was in a certain range, it means you have anxiety or depression. Well, shocker, I was in that range. 

“If you couldn’t tell by your score, you have severe depression and anxiety.”, she said. 

As hard as it was to hear, it was kind of a relief because I finally knew why I’ve been so hard on myself and why I struggle. This is when she discussed with me the different actions I could take to get myself better. Therapy and anti-depressants was what she recommended would be best for me. So, now I take an anti-depressant that should help with my anxiety too. I am also attending therapy in a couple weeks.

I wouldn’t have been able to begin to better my mental health without the help of the doctor I spoke with and my amazing, supportive parents. My parents have been by my side through it all, picking up the phone when I need them to flying down to see me when I’m just home sick. I am proud to say, I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without them.

So, this is when my biggest failure turned into my biggest accomplishment. It turned out to help in the end because I am learning more about myself on this journey, not only the bad, but the good. All of it is making me stronger as a person. Hour by hour, day by day, month by month, I am going to continue to grow and become who I know I can be. Do not ever sell yourself short. Do not give up. Ever.

I decided to reach out to ADAA to be able to share my story with others who may have the same struggles. If my story helps someone in the smallest way, from just helping them get through their day, it helps me get through mine.


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