It Took a Lot for Me to Leave the House This Morning
As I wake up at 6 a.m., alarm blaring through my skull after I retired to bed just nine and a half hours earlier, I try to put on my “positivity hat.” I feel more tired than when I went to bed the night before — how is that even possible?
I physically struggle to keep my eyes open as I sit up in bed, stomach churning with anxiety and whole body aching from chronic illness. I’m having a flare-up due to stress.
I think about how much I desperately desire a few more hours of sleep. And then I think about how if I did get it, it probably wouldn’t make me feel much better anyway. No amount of sleep helps to relieve my fatigue and exhaustion, and it wouldn’t help me mentally either. Not really. I’d just feel like rubbish and beat myself up for missing work. Again.
The gloomy voice of depression sets in and tells me I’m useless anyway. Why do you bother pretending you can live a regular life? I inevitably crumble at the slightest change to my routine, and my chronic illness flares up at times, catching me off guard and resulting in a worsened mental state in addition to the physical. I feel like I can’t cope.
Old friend Anxiety arrives, too. It reminds me of all the things I could do wrong today and everything I’m not yet comfortable with, that isn’t familiar or predictable to me. I feel like I’m going to be sick. I’m almost paralyzed.
I think about how easy it would be to just cower away under my duvet, or run away and never look back. Sadly, the thought of no longer existing seems the best option for a moment, as it would take away the pain I feel, the doom and gloom hanging over me and the wretched anxiety plaguing me every single minute of every day. It would put a stop to it all. It often presents as seemingly the only way out of me feeling so useless, hopeless and not capable of coping with anything. The delicate link of depression and anxiety for me is debilitating in every way possible.
It starts with anxiety, which sets in when I feel out of control, out of my comfort zone or useless — i.e. when I’m not learning something as quickly as I “should be,” when my routine has changed or when my chronic illness has flared up. This anxiety is constant for me and causes many symptoms, from nausea to diarrhea and insomnia. Having these symptoms constantly initiates more anxiety, and it’s an endless cycle. I’m anxious about being anxious. Feeling this way all the time makes me feel down, and at times I dislike existing, therefore I slip into a depressive state and another bout of depression arrives swiftly. Often, those around me notice it before even I do. Then I’m battling both anxiety and depression, and I’m sure this isn’t an unfamiliar story to many of you.
Despite waking up feeling so dreadful this morning, hounded by anxiety, depression and chronic illness, I still got up, showered, dressed, ate breakfast and made my way to work. Every single second on the train, I spent it trying to enforce some positivity: Today will be different. Today, we can do this. Today, I’ll be in control. Trying to calm the anxiety down makes me more anxious, though. But I still left the house today. And it took a lot for me to do so. More than anyone might imagine.
Image via Thinkstock.
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