Taking Care of Me

A story of overcoming anxiety, depression, and trauma.

By Keely Messino

I started therapy about a year ago for anxiety, depression, and the effects of past trauma. The journey to wellness has been a roller coaster; there was so much more involved in the journey than I ever could have foreseen. I’m really involved in the process of learning about myself, getting to know all the things about myself, the good things about myself, the things that I like about myself, as well as my flaws and the things that need to be worked o., Everyone has something about themselves that they want to change.


I wanted to work on some deep-seated fears. I struggle with many anxiety triggers due to my disability as well as my past trauma. As time passed, I dealt with the fact that I will never fully “heal” while I am getting better, but instead, I would learn to cope with my mental health struggles. 


Hearing the words “You’re never done healing” was both a gift and a curse. Those words made me feel so conflicted. I know the purpose of those words was to make me feel like I didn’t have to be hard on myself if I were struggling or if I experienced a setback. On the other hand, I’ve been a student for my entire life, all classwork has a deadline, and I wanted to know when I “was supposed to be better” or “how long therapy was supposed to last.” There is no deadline to healing. 


When I was at my lowest, I was sleeping very little, and I was eating sweets to cope with the unpleasant feelings.


The lack of sleep was taking a huge toll on my body and my mind. I would cry myself to sleep at night, and the pain in my body was never-ending. Sometimes I would drink a few glasses of wine just so that I could fall asleep. I finally went to the doctor, and he offered me medication for my pain and my mood. I had so many mixed emotions. I was scared—some people in my family struggle with alcohol abuse. I questioned if the medicine was additive. The doctor told me that addiction was not a risk. 


Within a few weeks, I started to see an improvement. I was calmer, and the pain was almost completely gone. In addition, I was sleeping through the night.


I went to visit family recently; my family noticed the little yellow medicine bottle in my purse and asked what it was for. At first, I didn’t answer; I was worried about being judged for taking these meds. But eventually, the questions became too much, and I talked about my medical issues with my family. There is no shame in taking care of my needs and putting myself first.