Image credit: Glen Noble
Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent series, took the time yesterday to write about her struggles with anxiety. In some ways, her story will be familiar to a lot of people who work in the games industry: she created something that her fans had strong opinions about, and some of them shared those opinions in wildly inappropriate ways – like death threats. Those threats had a negative impact on her mental health, as she explains in her blog post.
But the point of her post isn’t to admonish those fans. Instead, she talks about the way she handled her anxiety. She started seeing a therapist, which helped, but didn’t get her to the point where she felt healthy again, so she also took her therapist’s recommendation and looked into pharmaceutical options.
What follows is a great breakdown of her experiences with antidepressants. She made it through two prescriptions without much luck at all, but she kept trying.
Antidepressant 3 was promising at first. I still felt emotions, but I also felt exhausted. Can’t-get-through-the-day-without-a-nap exhausted. Can’t-exercise-because-you’re-too-sleepy exhausted.
Nope. Let’s try again.
Several months into my quest for the right dosage and the right drug, I suddenly found that I was myself again. Antidepressant 4, my little miracle. I was not my anxious self, but the person I had been underneath. Neurotic, yes, because I have always been neurotic. Capable of being nervous, and sad, and angry– capable of having negative emotions, and feeling bad, and wishing my life was different. Wishing I was different.
But also– ALSO! Capable of self soothing. Capable of fighting back without draining my energy.
She goes on to talk about the improvement this made in her life, taken alongside therapy, and how much she hopes her readers can find similar help.
But there is something on the horizon, a glimmer of something else, the hope of hey, I can handle this, even though it’s hard! I am standing there now, and looking back at where I’ve been, so I can tell you. I can tell you that hey, I can handle this, even though it’s hard! is worth fighting for. It’s worth that awful, terrifying call to the mental health clinic, the one you rehearse for, even the one you ask your mom to make for you. It’s worth every hour of bickering with your therapist because anxiety makes you a stubborn asshole. It’s worth every little green-or-blue pill you swallow, while under the supervision of a medical doctor, in the dim hope that you will one day feel just a tiny bit better than before.
It is worth it to try. And to try again. To take care of your brain.
Go read the rest of her post. It’s full of wonderful reminders of just how worthwhile it is to take care of your mental health – even when it seems like it’s too hard, and the results are too slow.
As she says, you don’t have to do it all alone.