I am down. I am real down. I am bring-in-the-big-guns down. I am at the point where eating makes me nauseous, I am beyond exhausted, but I can’t get my heart rate to go down or my mind to stop racing enough to allow me to sleep. This happens when you have depression and anxiety. This happens when you have depression and anxiety, have been living through a global pandemic, go through winter, have lost all semblance of a routine, and spend the bulk of your time in isolation at home.
This pandemic is not new so why now? Fatigue? The fact that there is no end in sight?
Here is the funny thing, 2020 was actually a pretty phenomenal year for me. I met someone a year ago. I have spent this past year in a huge amount of bliss, enjoying falling and being in love. We are both big nature people so, even though we were in the middle of the pandemic, we went on all sorts of outdoor adventures. But then winter happened. It is harder for me to do things outside when it is cold. I can’t move in all the layers. My fingers stop working when they get cold. And January happened. January is always a crap time even in the best of times. All the lights come down. No more festivities. Just cold and grey abyss that is January.
I am so thankful for this relationship. It is the one really good thing still. I am still so much in love. But the depression hurts, like cut like a knife hurts. Actually more like pour acid on your face and body hurts. It has a special way of inflicting pain. And I have been fighting like hell. I have increased my anti-depressants. I have added other medicine to help with anxiety and nausea. I recently started TMS therapy, a fun little activity of going and sitting in a chair for 20 minutes every day for six weeks to have magnets tap on your skull. I have continued with my standing therapy and have added in another therapist just to have everything covered. I have reached out to someone for energy work. I have an appointment to see a functional medicine doctor. I have read more self-help books than I can count. I have watched YouTube, attended online workshops, researched on Reddit–you name it, I have done it. My boyfriend says I probably know more about therapy than most therapists do.
Then why can’t I beat this? Why can’t I pull myself out of this? My dad asked how I pulled myself out of it last time. I said I started a blog. That is when I realized I needed to pull a Hamilton and write my way out.
I have been writing for myself, mostly about how I feel like crap. But I haven’t written about it here, for anyone who wants to read it can. And the simple fact of the matter is that I am deeply embarrassed and ashamed of the fact that I am back here again, after all the work I have done to not be here again. I see it as a failure. And then I realize that really is the depression talking. The more shame I feel around this, well the more shame I will feel and the worse I will feel. I don’t want people to know what is going on with me because I am ashamed of what is going on with me. But I have realized that sometimes our biggest fears, once faced and brought into the light, often subside. Sometimes, they just want to be seen and heard.
So here is my fear. I am telling you all that I am in a major funk of depression and anxiety. I am embarrassed I am here again. I am mad at myself for bringing what I feel is a less than subpar version of myself to my job, to my relationship, to my friendships, to all aspects of my life. I have a physical disability that I cannot hide even if I wanted to. But my depression, that I can hide. I can’t let myself have a physical disability and mental health issues. Sure, people may be able to embrace the disability but add depression on top and that makes me what I fear worst–too much. I am just too much everything. I am not worth the trouble. I am a drain on everything. These are the narratives I tell myself. Sometimes bringing a shadow to light reveals an old shoe rather than a big scary monster. These fears, well they aren’t true. Yes, I can have a physical disability and mental health issues. I know that cause I do. It doesn’t make me too much, it makes me human. It does not make me incapable. It does not make me weak.
This, what I am doing right now, is terrifying. By putting myself out there like this, I am opening myself up for major judgement. When I get depressed, I go inward. I shut down. I don’t respond to people when they reach out. If I have to interact, I am just flat. I feel terrible when I have these interactions with people and think they must think I am the rudest person ever. But I would rather them think that than to know what is really going on. And I realized I don’t want to think that way anymore. That is shame talking. That is self-inflicted pain and darkness and unworthiness. So I am shining a light on it. I am owning it. Sometimes I am a mess. I cry just because it hurts. I don’t eat even though I am hungry because I know whatever I put in my mouth is going to make me nauseous. I wake up with a racing heart and an upset stomach. This is part of me. These are the moments that I learn, and feel, and grow.
So what have I learned? Well, I have learned that I really love people. A whole huge mess of people are complete assholes. People have hurt me terribly. But people are also beautiful and compassionate and kind and creative and funny. I miss people terribly. I miss smiling at strangers or complementing the woman at the grocery store on her bomb-ass necklace. I miss my coworkers. I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss the rude guy at the crowded bar who runs into my chair and doesn’t even stop to say excuse me. Because the other truth of the matter is that I care for every single one of them. This has been a tough year to care about people. So much pain and death have happened. We have caused each other pain but the hardest pain to face is the one that has no one to fault. Because by not being able to find the blame, we have to admit that we can’t really fix it either. We are living in uncertain times and it is scary. And it just is what it is.
So that is where I am at. I broke into tears approximately five different times today. I have eaten a protein shake, three bites of ham, a green bean or two, and an oatmeal cookie. I talked to two psychiatrists today, a coworker, my boyfriend, my dad, and a therapist. I felt like a mess in front of each and every one of them. And that is ok. Because sometimes you just have to be not ok.