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Hello, I'm a 19 year old female who is struggling with depression and severe social anxiety. I've had these mental illnesses for as long as I can remember and I feel trapped. I feel hopeless because I'm really young and this is already how I feel and it makes me worry a lot about the future. I am in an out of state college and I am extremely stressed out. Is there anyone out there who might be struggling with the same issues?

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  • I had extreme social anxiety at your age but got by without meds until about age 31. Then I came down with extreme anxiety with a diagnosis of GAD---generalized anxiety disorder. I needed a benzodiazepine to control it and then my depression was evident and I needed an SSRI for depression. I've mostly had both under good control for 29 years since then. I was diagnosed as bipolar II a year and a half ago and had an antipsychotic added for the bipolar diagnosis which is usual.

    By social anxiety I mean I could no longer get up in front of a class and present a paper without losing my voice. After being on the benzos, I slowly got myself used to "public" speaking in small groups and now do well with presenting papers and reading to others. I desensitized myself to my social anxiety. I've been happy, peaceful and functional with my illnesses for most of my 29 years that I've been diagnosed. I have made sure that I have an excellent psychiatrist and counselor for all of those years and highly recommend the same for other people.

  • Yes public speaking or really any social interaction at this point is difficult for me! I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone and even made small talk with a person in public today. I definitely can't do this alone though so I will definitely look into therapy and maybe try the free therapy sessions that my college offer. Thanks so much for responding.

  • You're welcome. Come back to talk or ask about anything if you want to. We're here for you. I've even had my voice quiver talking with 1 person I knew well, so there's all kinds of experiences for those of us with anxiety issues. You're not alone!

  • Hi Sue

    I'm curious about bi-polar and would like to understand it better. I suffered from GAD for a few years but recovered by applying the teachings of the late (great) Dr Claire Weekes who wrote a book called Self Help for your nerves. Although the medical profession give mental health issues lots of different labels (GAD, OCD, social, health, relationship anxiety etc etc) they all have the same root cause. Fear or fear of fear. It seems to me that bi-polar may also fear based. If that is the case, acceptance of the symptoms (instead of resisting them in any way) will bring about recovery. In her books, Dr Weekes describes how anxiety magnifies all emotions (good and bad) due to sensitisation of the nerves which is caused by stress or a series of stressors. Full recovery lies in understanding anxiety and its myriad of symptoms ( e.g. Depression or depletion as she called it) and learning to accept them instead of fearing them. It requires a shift in attitude towards the symptoms but can be done. Anxiety is a learned behaviour which means it can be unravelled.

    When sufferers no longer fear the symptoms,, recovery follows gradually while Mother Nature takes care of the healing process. I know it worked for me and countless others (visit the Anxiety No More website) but did require a leap of faith because anxiety plays some awful tricks on the mind and easy to become a victim by believing the thoughts and feelings. However, with acceptance, sufferers gradually start to realise that the thoughts and feelings are utterly false and care less about them until they no longer matter. When the symptoms no longer matter, the prize is won.

  • I am also a 19 year old female and I understand. I've been suffering with anxiety and depression for what seems like my whole life. It's hard for me to get out of bed sometimes. It's hard for me to find motivation in my life, because I always think of this illness and how it will effect me in the long wrong. I'm to the point where I dont know what else to do..

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