I am broken Made to feel inferior by your constant provoking
Beaten by your words, defeated by your actions Ruined myself confidence with your dissatisfaction Overly critical of all that I do Keen to berate and rip me in two Every discussion, I’m wrong and you’re right Never realizing you brought me so much pain, night after night
If you’re new to these parts – I like to confess shit. Just say things that the bloggy-verse that I probably should say in actual confession [or to no one at all]. But you know – relieve the burden of carrying it around in my head. And I’m aging so I only have so much head space to spare.
This is a special confessions edition, specific on mental health since May was Mental Health Awareness Month. Yeah I’m late – but shit happens. And no I am not going to lecture you but rather confess some [very hard] truths about my mental health in hopes you might confess or face some hard truths about your own or someone you know. Regardless, know that it’s real, it can be very scary and very lonely and it should always be taken seriously.
So lets confess some shit…
I have chronic depression and anxiety disorder. And I am heavily medicated.
My depression began in middle school (about 6th grade) and anxiety kicked into high gear in high school. I don’t recall anytime since then that I’ve not had either in my life.
In my family – mental health anything was frowned upon. You were depressed? You were supposed to get over it. You had anxiety? You were told to stop being anxious. Period.
I once went off my meds cold turkey. Serotonin withdrawal is awful. NOT RECOMMENDED.
My depression has taken many forms over the years. From nights planning my death and calling the Suicide Lifeline (1-800-273-8255, just in case you need it) to cutting, pill taking, hiding my home or just not being able to fully function.
My anxiety has also surfaced in many forms over the years. Panic attacks that would send me to the ER with a heart rate into the 180s+, blackouts where I’d wake up really disoriented and not know who/where/what the hell was going on for about 30 mins, dizziness, blurred vision, the shakes, and so on.
When Mike and I started dating- my panic attacks slowed down dramatically.
I have eczema and pick at it when I’m stressed or down or just want to hurt, to feel something. My arms are scared and most of the time I don’t care to show them.
I have two main outlets to deal with life – writing and reading.
I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Most of my childhood journals were destroyed by my mother (a post for another time). But I’ve always kept a journal and always will.
I read to escape into new places, take new adventures, solve new mysteries. To get out of my own head for a while. This is part of the reason I needed a library in my home.
Working out is starting to become a new outlet. SHOCKING FOR ME, I KNOW!!! But I think it’s because I pushing myself. I’m also in the renaissance!
Sometimes I’m entirely nonfunctional. I feel like an awful human being. And I hate that my kid is now old enough know something is wrong.
I’ve found some comfort in other people who understand. I often seek refuge in the words of Jenny Lawson, my favorite blogger and author. She gets that’s depression lies and darkness is real. She saves me.
Last year I began my own renaissance. It was slow but steady and I accomplished some things. In 2018 I:
logged 80+ workouts
lost 35 pounds
went to the gym by myself
took my dogs to the beach for the first time
faced some of my own demons and hard truths, acquired some new ones along the way
cleaned out my Monica closet (props to those who know what this is)
bought a home
read but not nearly as much as I wanted to
bought myself something expensive and got over the mom guilt
survived another year of parenting a tween
I shared some of my progress along the way to celebrate the small wins. Because in life you have to call out the small shit, right? And I’m definitely not done. The year is well on it’s way and the renaissance must continue…
There is sooo trash in the world. So much darkness. I am cleansing all that crap out of me. Doing a little Marie Kondo on my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical baggage to make sure I am only carrying the essentials (and they are neatly folded). It won’t be easy but I’m here for it all. Then I’m hoping I can contribute to the positive. Live in the light and put some light out into the world. Because boy do we need more light in our lives. Am I right or am I right?
I don’t have particular goals or resolutions. But just as renaissance implies – I am continuing the rebirth of a better version of myself. I hope that when I take stock of the things I’ve done in 2019 that my list spreads the whole gamut of human health. Because above all things – I’m committed to myself. I need to be the best form of me to be the best mom, partner, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, and or stranger on the goddamn street I can be.
My anxiety is on the fritz. Like when when your children act up in public, my anxiety is not something I love to acknowledge. But we alllll know it’s happening (or it feels that way anyway). My not sure what my trigger was this time around but whatever it was – it’s been sticking around and I am not a fan. I’m leaning towards stress. I’m trying to focus on the things I can control and take it one task at a time. Yeah, I said task. I’m not even on the day level. Baby steps.
I don’t talk about my anxiety for a variety of reasons. Mainly because people give you this phony look like you are making the whole thing up, like it’s all in your head. And as much as I would love to play along – I don’t have time for bull shit.
Anxiety is very real for lots of people. And everyone is different so therefore their anxiety is too.
In the past – my anxiety has taken on many shapes and forms. In high school, it was panic attacks that would send my heart heart well above 180 and require a trip to the ER. My mother – a doctor herself – was of the “it’s all in your head” tribe and couldn’t possibly understand how her daughter – a girl brought up in a well off, Christian home – could possibly have this problem. She did nothing but throw Bible versus at me and essentially told me to get out of my own head and not embarrass the family with my “foolishness.”
In college, my anxiety decided to party hard (even though I didn’t) sending me into panic attacks so taxing that I would black out (sometimes hurting myself in the process), wake up so confused and not know who/what/where I was for a solid 20+ minutes. It was terrifying. My best friend at the time, Katie, would constantly write her name and number on my hand in Sharpie so that when I woke up confused I knew to call her and she would explain.
When I was pregnant I was SO WORRIED about having panic attacks and depriving the baby of oxygen. I had sleepless nights my first trimester. Then when I got over that hump – I obsessively cleaned, cooked and nested to keep busy. And I was an emotional disaster. Countless times Mike caught me crying over nothing – brushing my teeth, baking cookies, folding laundry. Sometimes happy tears, sometimes sad, sometimes tears for no reason at all. I attribute that phase to angst about entering motherhood. I mean it’s not like they give you this magical guide to not fucking up your kid when you push them out at the hospital. You know?
At the present, my anxiety is a bit unpredictable but far more tame. I thank Mike for that. He grounded me and while all of the anxiety didn’t go away – the scary stuff did. Your partner should always bring out the good in you, help you grow, heal, flourish. Mike helped wipe away a lot of my fears and worries, kept me calm and encouraged me. And certainly didn’t mock my pain and anxiousness. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for better. I’m so lucky. Not all spouses get it.
But for now – it appears my anxiety is here to stay. So it’s one task at a time. I just have to stay focused and
I have depression (who doesn’t, right?) and anxiety. Neither are anything I love to talk about but mental health is a real struggle that a lot of us face, often in silence. I’m medicated, so I function. Just like most, I have ups and downs, peaks and valleys of good mental health and bad.
Currently – I’m in a valley. A dark, desolate valley.
The valley is surrounded by enormous mountains, dark and ominous on all sides. Intimidating even at a distance, even at night. It’s dry here. Even the air is stale, as if all the moisture was sucked out of it. It’s hard to breathe. The ground around me is nothing but dirt and rocks. No grass grows. Nothing. Drought has seized this valley. It is brittle and sad. Hardly any life flourishes because the ground has barely anything left to give. What does survive is the most resilient of plants and animals. The outcasts. The things no one truly wants. Also the things that scare me the most. The ground is jagged with fallen boulders and rocks as obstacles almost in all directions.
The wind begins to pick up. It’s rough, almost like a storm. The kind of storm that you love in the comfort of your own bed but is terrifying in a valley of your depressive conscience. There is no where safe for me to take shelter. No trees to help cover me. I can barely see in front of me. The dust and dirt and pebbles are pelting my body. It hurts. Darkness consumes me. The wind envelopes me. All I want to do it lay down and let them take over. But I don’t. I walk. I’ve been here before. Maybe not this exact valley but one like it. This is familiar. I can feel blood start to run down the arm I am using to protect my face. It stings from all the dirt. I walk on in hopes that darkness will end. That there will be light.