When My Depression and Anxiety Triggers Are Screaming at Me


It didn’t hit me until I was speeding down the road, trying to get from the hospital to my house to a Scout meeting in under an hour, that my depression and anxiety triggers were screaming at me. I hadn’t paid attention to them earlier, but now there was no mistaking the fact that I was in the middle of a spiral. They were clamoring to get my attention.

I’ve had depression and anxiety for a good part of my life. The older I get, the more I learn about these illnesses that have the capacity to turn me into someone I don’t recognize. For instance, there are the triggers. There are quite a few, and I may not recognize them as such until I find myself reacting to them. The realization dawns hard.

For many people, the triggers can include holidays, loneliness, self-doubt, criticism, fear of hurting someone or being hurt. The list is endless. It’s different for each person I’d imagine.

One of my triggers happened to be loved ones in the hospital. My standard reaction when a loved one is sick or in medical trouble is to adopt this frenetic, frenzied pace with everything. Rush here. Rush there. Can’t be late. Have to do it all. Can’t let anyone down. Have to be there for everyone.

Heart pounding. Thoughts racing. Hurry, hurry, hurry. More thoughts. Why aren’t you taking better care of yourself? Better call the doctor first thing. Why do I have a pain in my chest? Who’s going to be mad at me now? Did I remember to eat? Did I take a deep breath yet?

It’s like I don’t give myself permission to just be. In the midst of this spiral, I kept thinking I will take care of myself once everything has calmed down. But it never does, does it?

The next morning, on the verge of tears, I realized the pain in my chest and the uneasy feeling I had was likely an anxiety attack, something I haven’t had in a couple years. Meditation helped calm me, but the unease is still there, right under the surface, waiting to pop out when I finally deal with my feelings.

Maybe it’s time to try some self-care, to just think and be in the moment. Maybe it’s time to deal with the feelings surrounding my loved ones and their health. Maybe it’s time to take a deep breath and just remind myself it will be OK.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Depression

city

Why Moving to the City Was Good for My Mental Health

Just less than a week ago, I moved from a small country town into a bustling city. Since then I have set out to expand my small social circle by making new friends. Here are some reasons why the city environment is good for me: 1. The city is a more controllable environment. With more [...]
Woman in mist forest

14 Shades of Depression

Depression is not a monochromatic experience; there are different shades or aspects and some common shared metaphors. The American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the classification system for mental disorders in the United States, has a checklist of nine symptoms (over a two-week period to be diagnosed with depression), and none of these are [...]
girl with therapy dog

6 Tips for Introducing a Therapy Pet to Someone With Depression

Studies have shown pets are an effective way to manage depression, particularly for people who have found other methods like medication and therapy to be ineffective up to this point. For supporters of people with depression, it’s important to understand the first days and weeks after getting a therapy pet are crucial for determining whether [...]
woman at beginning of a maze

When Depression Is Like a Maze You Can't Escape

I can remember going into a mirror maze with my brother. He ran ahead, leaving me lost. He called out to me and I saw him. I ran to him only to smack face first into the glass. He called me again and I yelled, “Where are you?” “Over here!” he answered. I again ran [...]