*I am honored that Author Renee Antonia has provided a guest post while on her WOW: Women on Writing Book tour. She will talk about her experience with anxiety and depression, which inspired her book I’m Not Okay. .*
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I have struggled with anxiety and depression since my freshman year of high school. It was a tough time getting through school, and I oftentimes found myself waiting to graduate. Then, once I graduated, I found myself waiting for a better job, or a better volunteer opportunity, or a better friend group. I spent years waiting for something that was never going to come; the cure for my anxiety and depression.
My anxiety had always kept me trapped inside this little world that I had grown to accept. I wasn’t happy with my life, but at least I didn’t have to be crippled by anxiety at every turn I took. It was a decent life, which I thought I had to deal with. I didn’t need to be happy, I just needed to be content, and that’s what I lived with for a long time. I lived with living within my means. After years of living like this, I stopped being content.
How could I be content by doing the bare minimum? How could I live a life that I wasn’t really living? How long was I willing to wait for my anxiety to disappear? I had let my teenage years go by, and I couldn’t let my adult years do the same.
So, I stopped waiting for my anxiety and depression to go away. I started taking control of my life, and doing things that I would have never thought about doing before. It was scary, but once I got through it, it felt amazing. As much as my anxiety hurt, I loved living my life my way.
My anxiety is still an active part of my life today. I have been struggling with it for about seven years, and it shows no signs of leaving soon. I could let that lead me down a path where my life is no more than just me breathing, or I could take that and run with it.
When I wrote I’m Not Okay I was going through a really rough time with my anxiety and depression. It was leaving me hopeless in a way that made me feel as if everything I had accomplished in previous years was useless. I was scared of falling into that cycle of being content, so I started writing. I wrote when I felt like I couldn’t possibly go any further. I wrote when being content sounded better than being anxious. I wrote when my mental illnesses made me feel like they were all I had.
Writing became my escape from myself. It is what kept me believing that I can only live a decent life. It is what kept me from waiting for my anxiety and depression to subside.
Mental Health has the awful habit of making it seem like you have to live within a bubble, but you don’t. Your anxiety, depression, or OCD does not have control over your entire life. It took me years to figure out that the only one responsible for my life was me and me alone. I can’t say that it won’t be difficult to live with the various mental illnesses that someone can have, but it’s better than waiting for a better life.
Renee Antonia grew up in the Los Angeles area with four siblings and two wonderful parents. Having such a strong support system enabled her to decide who and what she wanted to be. However, this question haunted her for years, because she couldn’t quite pinpoint what exactly she saw herself doing for the rest of her life. She began to read a lot, hoping to find inspiration between the pages of a book. It was at this time that she realized one thing. She loved sharing, reading, and writing. Renee decided that she wanted to be a writer, and since that day, she has taken any steps necessary to achieve that goal.
You can find Renee Antonia at:
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