A Look Into the Head of Someone With Depression and Anxiety
I feel I need to write this for a mixed amount of reasons. Some good, some bad. My heart is telling me to let it out. To educate and make people aware of the everyday struggle. Something hard and embarrassing to talk about or tell anyone, but for some reason my heart is telling me to shout it out and to let people know.
Friends, family, co-workers, even random people I have never met: the struggle is real. So I will listen to my heart since my head does not cooperate like it used to.
I was diagnosed in April with severe depression and anxiety with panic attacks. Me? The strong one? The one who has been through hell and back in life but has never let it knock me down? I am strong and a fighter. There is no way this can happen to me. Why all of a sudden did it hit me? Why me? How do I tell people? Will they look at me different? Will they judge me? I can’t work. I can’t think even, though thinking is all my head keeps doing.
I am not a good writer on a good day. I jump all over the place, but to be honest that is what your mind is like with this illness. So bear with me as I try to explain how my head works. Will my head ever stop? It’s spinning, and I don’t know how to turn it off. It will not let me sleep. I am just so tired. I don’t like these thoughts. They scare me. They are not me. I want me back. I like the old me. She was not perfect, but she was so in control. So strong. I wish I could find her again. She was me. She is me. I know one day I will get her back.
It’s morning. My eyes open. I wish they hadn’t. I don’t want to wake up. I want today to go away. I wish I wasn’t here. I don’t like my life. I don’t like myself. I don’t like the way I look. I don’t like the way I feel. I wish I was gone; I don’t want to live like this. It’s too hard. How can I end this? The thoughts will go away. I won’t have to deal with this anymore. But it will hurt. I don’t like pain. I do not do pain very well. I need to survive this. I need to live. I need to fight. I close my eyes, shut them hard, sleep some more. I might wake up better. Take my meds. I hope these ones work. I need to get better. Changing meds really sucks. I don’t want to be on meds. I want the “normal” me back. I can’t talk to people about this. They will think I am “crazy.” How do I tell my work? I can’t call them and tell them I have a mental illness. They never will understand it. There is so much pressure. I used to be great at pressure. Now I just break. Will they fire me? Will they think I am too crazy and messed up to do my job? I am so dizzy. My body feels so weak. I just want to lay here in my bed. I am safe here. She will not let me though. She cares to much. She will make sure I live and fight. I like to think she is my guardian angel. She keeps me feeling real. I don’t always like her though. It’s so hard to get out of bed. I want to lay here. I don’t want to go out into the world. It’s a bad day. But she will not let me. Get up, get dressed we’re going out. Did you take your meds?
My body is so heavy. I need to shower. It’s been three days since I last showered. I drag myself to the shower. It feels so nice. I do like to be clean and fresh. It takes all my energy to finish though. And getting dressed. I don’t feel like makeup. It’s just too much work now. I am grateful that I accomplished the task of showering and getting dressed. She is here. She brings me coffee. That has not changed. I still love my coffee. I like that normal part of me. We go out. There are lots of people here. I just keep trying to breath and tell my legs to move. They are so heavy these days. I just want to go back to my bed. Are people are louder than they used to be? Or is it just me? I breathe and smile. I hope people can’t tell I am messed up. I feel like a zombie as I walk through the store. My brain will not stop. I worry people will see through my smile. I will mess up somehow. I will stutter or space out. Fall, and then they will know my secret. I have realized a new habit I do often: I rub my hands and fingers, which I know is a sign that I am anxious. And I am trying to get through it.
I did it. I made it in the outside world. But I am so relieved to be back home. Back to my bed. I hate this life. I want my old life back. I lay in bed and try to watch TV or knit. It helps a bit. My mind concentrates on these tasks. It stops the thoughts a little. I am shaking a lot lately so it’s hard to knit. Is it the meds? I wish it would stop.
I get a letter in the mail. I have been denied long-term disability. In the letter it states my condition is not a continues illness… what? I can turn this off? Please, please, please tell me how.
I have to go back to work. I, like everyone else, have bills piling up. That strong women in me I have always been tries to come through. I can do this, she says. I am a fighter. It’s hard. My thoughts do not stop this whole time. But I just breathe. The meds are not making a difference. It’s really all up to me. I put on my fake smile and get through the eight-hour days until I can once again get back to my bed where I feel safe and warm. It’s all just way too much to handle. I do not sleep. My body is getting weaker. My head hurts so much. I don’t want to move. I can’t move. I try. I really try so hard. It’s just too exhausting to smile today. I can’t find the strength to fake it anymore. I cry. Why me? I don’t want to live like this anymore. I once again am broken…
It’s so late again. No sleep. I am so tired. I just need to sleep. The thoughts of just ending my life are so strong. I fight it. It’s hard. Why fight it? Because I don’t want to die. I want to just be normal again. I just want me back. Is that too much to ask? I lay here with my thoughts. In the dark. As everyone is sleeping. Will tomorrow be a good day? Where I don’t have to fake it? Or a bad day? Why are there more bad days than good ones? I listen to the quiet. It’s so peaceful. I want peace. I look over at my husband. Does he still love me? I love him so much. I know he can never fully understand this illness.
Why? is what I keep asking myself. All my questions start with why? Why me? Why do I not want to be around anyone? Why does everyone annoy me? Why does everyone sound so loud? Why am I so stressed all the time? Why don’t I have patience anymore? Why am I going through all this? Why do I feel alone? Just why? Why? The last few months I have tried so hard to overcome this. I feel like no one understands me. They say, “She looks the same, she still smiles and laughs and jokes around. I know she is strong. I don’t see a difference?” But they cannot see the struggle on the inside. My demon, my monster that will not go away. What they see is me. But the truth is it’s not me. It’s a disguise. They can’t see me space out in my head while they are talking to me. They can’t see me wonder to myself, “Did I just say that? Or think it?” They cannot see my wonder if It has been five minutes or an hour that has passed since I asked a question or talked. They cannot see my heart beat so fast out of my chest that it hurts. They cannot see me breathing and counting as I breath to get my head to stop. They just can’t see the struggle every day that I have to live and deal with. Just to make it through that day.
I do not want to talk about it. I know family and friends think I ignore them and that I do not care. They just do not understand what it’s like. I try so hard to be normal. I go online, see posts about depression and anxiety. Maybe the more I post and share, the more they will understand this illness and then I will not have to explain it. It’s too hard. I don’t want to admit it. I do not want to have this illness. I know I am loved. But I feel so alone. I know other people struggle like I do, but I feel I am the only one. I know it’s an illness, but I feel like I am just crazy and fucked up. I know people are aware of mental illness, but they really do not understand the struggle and day-to-day challenges of this illness. It is real.
It may not happen overnight. It may take years. But I promise myself I will fight this. And win. I will because I want to live. I love my friends and my family. I want to educate people on this horrible disease. And I can only do that if I am here. I know that old me is in there somewhere. And I will get her back one day. But until then I will just have to try the best to live. With the good and the bad days. All I can do is Close my eyes and breathe.
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Thinkstock photo by Banana Stock