300 million people worldwide have depression according to the World Health Organization. If you put it into perspective that would equal 92% of the entire population of the United States of America. That is A LOT.
Recently, mental health awareness has been a prominent topic. People are becoming more open about it because IT IS REAL! Everyone, at least once (probably multiple) in their lifetime experiences some type of mental health disorder somewhere on the spectrum of it being ‘small’ or ‘large’.
My first experience with any type of mental health disorder was anxiety and it happened around the time of applying to dental school, but also a huge life changing event had occurred. I had recently graduated, moved away from my family in Atlanta to travel with my, then fiancé, for baseball, and I was studying for the DAT. My experience about learning the true aspect of baseball triggered it. The frequency of players moving at the drop of a dime, the players getting released without knowing, it all through me for a loop. While, simultaneously really wanting to become a dentist!
After entering dental school, I quickly learned that time stops for no one except you. I missed Birthdays, graduations, funerals, etc. And while I understood that these were my dreams and it would pay off, I quickly learned the saying, ‘God puts some people in your life for just for a season. ‘ Not only was I missing memories, but I was stressed the hell out with the mundane, yet overwhelming load of dental school. I quickly learned that my way of studying was not at all the same in dental school and not everything came to me as easily as once before. By the 3rd year, I had fallen into a depression, High functioning depression. I was having small panic attacks that I was afraid to talk about for at least 3 months straight. It wasn’t until a conversation with a classmate that I found out what was going on with myself, but that it was actually very frequent in dental students. We woke up complaining about being there, went on with the motions, smiled and laughed, then went home to mope about going back the next day.
I had already picked up yoga in dental school as a stress reliever, but I soon started going to the gym more to help cope.
I frequently told myself positive affirmations and took time for myself. If I needed to close the book because I was stressing more than studying—I did just that.
Slowly, I started to float to the top.
Overtime, I have learned my triggers for anxiety and while I can say that thankfully I don’t have random bouts of depression, I try to frequently think positive thoughts. Acknowledge what I can control and let God handle the rest.
I also, made sure that those baby blues after pregnancy did not turn into postpartum depression. 6 months later and I still check in with myself.
‘Are you depressed?’
So far, the answer has been no and I want to keep it that way. I constantly pray, read self help books, see a therapist, shutdown social media, workout, and eat cookies and drink wine occasionally (lol). Any and everything to make sure I am happy!
It’s very cliche when we hear the saying, check or your strong friends, but it’s the truth. Sometimes a simple, ‘Hey! How are you really doing?’ Can go a really long way.