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My Depression Is Like a Tidal Wave... but I'm a Strong Swimmer

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It’s like a tidal wave…

I’m standing on the shore line watching the waves break in front of me.

I feel them tugging on me slightly as they roll back out.

But then all of a sudden a big one comes. A tidal wave.

I’m stuck in place and cannot get out of its path.

And then it’s on top of me dragging me under and holding me down.

I tumble beneath the surf struggling to get my bearings and to come up for air…

Eventually, I find my way to the surface and crawl to shore gasping for breath and exhausted.

I lay on the sand and build my strength back up.

I feel strong enough. I approach the water yet again…

I wait for the inevitable tidal wave to come.

This is the best way I can describe how I have felt over the years, and more so lately, as I have battled my depression.

Take last week for example.

I was feeling better than I have in a long time. But then I started to feel little twinges of anxiety… waves tugging. And then before I knew it I was consumed with sadness and the tears started to fall. Tidal wave.

I fought the entire time to get out of it. My life can’t stop just because my brain wants it to. I got up, I got dressed, I got it done.

But in between when nobody was looking I fell to my knees. I cried. I prayed.

I knew eventually it would get better and I’d feel better again. I could reach the surface.

But I also knew that probably wouldn’t last… tidal wave.

I’m not being negative. I’m just going from past experience and being honest. I am always hopeful this vicious cycle will end. And with therapy and the work I am doing to get better, one day I think I can beat this!

I’m learning new coping techniques that don’t involve me punishing myself through exercise and food restriction. Perhaps that is why the past few months these bouts of anxiety/depression have hit me so hard. I have taken away my old coping techniques and now am left to actually feel the feelings behind them.

It’s hard. It hurts. And it’s scary.

Being completely honest, when I’m “under a wave” and feel like I’m drowning, I just went it all to end. That being said, all the time I’m under I can still see the sunlight above me and my children, husband, and friends in the distance.. I can’t end me
because of what it would do to them.

I have kept my disorders deeply hidden my entire life, and sometimes I wish they never were exposed. It’s hard to be vulnerable, to ask for help. Yet, it takes strength to be vulnerable, to ask for help.

I’m trying to take some time to slow down and to float on the surface. I know I am a good person, I have a good life, and I will make a difference one day.

I also know I’m a strong swimmer… I’ll never stop until I reach the shore on my own terms.

The above is an excerpt from the book “Diary Of A Disordered Mind,” edited to be on The Mighty. It is a story about living and functioning in society with an eating disorder and mental illness told through actual journal entries, poetry, and paintings.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo by trubavin

Originally published: March 24, 2017
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