Little steps can make each day easier

When dealing with anxiety and depression, small steps can make a big difference.


Ana La Rosa Grillo, Staff Writer

For the past eight years I have struggled with anxiety and depression, both of which got increasingly worse before they finally started getting better. This is partly due to my ADHD. The anxiety I have around my relationships and depression I get once I’m off my dopamine highs are without a doubt connected to my ADHD. With recent therapy I have been able to cope a lot better, so I’m going to share some of the techniques I’ve learned, in hope that this reaches someone else who needs it. 

Most of the time I don’t have the energy to do anything because of my depression. Once I sit down, I feel like I’m stuck there until I decide I need a snack so I tend to forget or just not do my chores. One trick that helps me get things done is my “might as well” mindset. Since I’m already up and in the kitchen, I might as well take the dishes out of the dishwasher. Since the dishwasher is empty, I might as well put the dirty dish in there. This way I tend to get things done quickly so I can get back to doing whatever I want. Though this isn’t a foolproof method, it does help me out a lot. 

Throughout my life, I’ve always struggled with making or keeping friends. People tend to see me as a very intense and loud person, traits brought on by my ADHD. I come off as rude, blunt and just plain loud to most people, so it’s always been hard for me to make friends without feeling insecure about these things. One thing I do to help with this is to try and make friends that talk and act like me, or that are very patient and understanding. It’s really about finding the right people with which to surround yourself. Eventually, I saw that having ADHD isn’t something to feel guilty about. 

One saying I resonate a lot with is “out of sight, out of mind.” However, this doesn’t just apply to material things. This also applies to people and emotions. I have a tendency to close myself off from people and emotionally close myself off from the world. If I can’t see the person and how they are reacting to what I say – or if the way they react is unenthusiastic – I tend to become anxious about our friendship and whether they still like me or not. I’m always convinced people have started to hate me. The closer I am to you, the more anxious I become. I never want to come off as annoying or too much, especially to the people I care about. If I feel that is what is happening, I start to distance myself from them.

This is a big problem that I’m trying to work on. One thing I do to calm this anxiety is to communicate how I feel to people. I ask if I’m being annoying or too much, and they often reassure me that I’m not. Once you have this reassurance, it’s easier to fight against those anxieties. I also try to distance myself from the people that say I am annoying, too loud or too excited. I’ve learned that these anxieties stem from having undiagnosed ADHD as a kid and always being degraded because I was different. Once you come to terms with the main cause of your anxiety then it’s a little easier to cope with. 

In conclusion, countless people like me have a lot of work to do on ourselves, and that’s OK. The best we can do is try our best to get through life with the least struggle possible. If your mental illness is too much for you to handle by yourself, then try to ask your parents about therapy. I know that it’s helped me a lot in the few months that I’ve been in it. 

After a few sessions, your therapist might talk to you about medication that may be considered as an option for you. But one thing every therapist will say is that you need to build up healthy coping mechanisms. These are some of the ones that work for me, and maybe they will work for you.