First Things First

The real story of teenage anxiety and depression.

First Things First

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from having anxiety and depression, it’s that life…well, life isn’t always beautiful.

There will always be struggles. Some days I can hardly get out of bed. Sometimes the only thing I want is to be held by one specific person, and absolutely nothing else. I can’t remember what day of the week it is, or what dream I had last night, but I know it was bad.

Did I eat today? Yesterday I couldn’t stop.

Going to the gym seems like the hardest task I’ve been given in months. Then again, it seemed that way on Monday, too.

I keep telling myself that I should be used to it by now. I’ve been dealing with it all for years. But somehow it freaks me out every time. It comes and goes in waves of intensity. Right now it’s worse because I haven’t had a job in over a month. (Consistency is key!) My boyfriend of 2+ years is gone for three months. My best friend is leaving for the summer as well. And to be completely honest, I didn’t do too hot in my first year of college.

“Calm down, you’re young.”

“You have nothing but time to figure things out.”

Well. Maybe. Those are all somewhat true. But in my mind, not knowing what I’ll be doing the next day stresses me out. So I’m sure you can imagine what not having a 5-year plan feels like.

I’m coping though. While some days SUCK, others turn out to be pretty good. It’s quite entertaining actually – watching me prance around the house in an old t-shirt singing anything and everything at the top of my lungs. Cracking dad jokes left and right. Smiling at everyone that walks by just because. I’m not sure why or how I even do it, but I’m glad I do. Makes me the quirky lil smartass that I am.

I’ve got all these weird things that I like to do to help me cope with my non-stop brain and emotions. Right now it’s watercolor painting.

I’ve always been artsy fartsy and it decides to manifest itself in a new way every year or two. I made myself a little Etsy shop to make it seem legit this time. (Yes, I’m self-promoting. Sue me.)

My fallback is hiking – has been since my family moved to Utah about 4 years ago. There are trails within walking distance of my house. I can literally see about 3 of them from my bedroom window. It’s great having mountains in every direction. Whenever I feel an episode coming on, I lace up my tennis shoes, grab some water and some headphones, and just go. Sometimes new trails, but usually the same few. I went to school in St. George and man, that place is a hiker’s paradise. Having Zion National Park an hour away was a dream. I have never figured out why hiking helps. I HATE cardio. Maybe it’s because it takes my mind off pointless anxieties and makes me focus on breathing to the beat of my music.

Sometimes when it’s something small that’s nagging at me, I’ll do something super weird. I lock myself in the bathroom with the shower turned on as hot as it goes, and just sit in the steam. Don’t worry, you read that right. I don’t get in the shower. Yes, I realize that this is an awful waste of water and I promise I don’t do it much. But it reminds me of Georgia. The humidity is comforting. I told you, weird.

So here’s my spiel for today: The world around us consistently has something to offer, which can make the lows seem a bit lower than they should. BUT that also means the highs are so much sweeter.

Try your best, keep your head up, and cry when you need to.

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Baylee Ence
See all posts by Baylee Ence