I realized that I have been a little recluse in my postings in the last few weeks. Reflecting on it I have just been feeling a little hypocritical from professing my anti-medication stance for the treatment of anxiety. I still feel that my decision was correct, but my anxiety therapy never treated the whole story. Anxiety can easily explain some of my symptoms, and physical manifestations of the disorder. However, I always felt like there was so much more to the story than I had realized. Sure I was nervous, had upset stomachs, would get shaky when nervous, would lash out in anger, and generally avoided certain situations. Here is where we get into what I mean by “more”.
On top of anxiety, I also had serious bouts of depression. I would get into these ruts where it felt like my life did not have any meaning. My brain constantly told myself terrible messages, as a way to punish me for being happy about anything. I lived in a state of fear for days at a time where I thought everyone was always mad at me, and I was a disappointment to those around me. These symptoms would last for days, and I got really great at hiding them. I convinced myself that if I needed to cry I would do it when I was alone. I let others see when I was in distressed, but not nearly to the extent that I was actually feeling bad.
I also had moments where I was in a state of feeling wonderful. Absolutely nothing to get me down, and I had so many ideas and goals that I was going to accomplish. I would start elaborate projects with plans to make my life perfect. At one point I started writing a book, I was coaching for Beachbody, I started grad school, I’ve changed jobs so many times over the years on a whim, and all due to this feeling of having zero consequences. I have also been an avid spender. I will go on these shopping sprees where I can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and not feel an ounce of guilt (until my sad spell hits). I bought things I didn’t really need, but inside my brain, I told myself I really needed them.
My life for the last 17(ish) years has bounced between one of these two moods. There were very few moments where I felt like I was at my perceived level of normal. I would go days wanting to do nothing but sleep, then 4-5 days later I didn’t need sleep anymore and could stay up all night. It’s a dangerous cycle that kept my brain exhausted in this flipping mode. It was also hard for people around me to deal with because I heard so many times “why can’t you just be happy”, “stop being so angry”, “just stop spending money”. I would get increasingly frustrated with people around me simply because I know. I know my actions were sometimes wrong, and I could never articulate what it was inside me that prevented me from making better decisions.
I feel like I owe everyone in my life an apology, but some of my actions I was not fully in control of. I am known for saying sorry, even when I don’t mean it if it avoids conflict that I don’t want. Since starting my medication, I still cry a lot. I had a moment on Tuesday where I felt like there was no hope for me again. Kevin was leaving the next day for a 2 week trip in Europe with his family, and I knew I was going to miss him terribly. I have been dreading this trip ever since I learned it existed. I am aware that 2 weeks is not that long for someone to be gone, but it does not take away the fact that I feel so sad without him around. I became angry at myself for wasting our last night together being sad and crying over it. The messages in my head got so negative, I did want to hurt myself. The best decision I made that night was to tell Kevin exactly what was going on in my head and hopped into the shower to relax.
The hardest thing anyone can do in their life is to admit that something is wrong. I spent way too many years in denial that I could be helped or that anything was wrong. I now have a great support system between my family and Kevin that I feel I am in a good place to be cared for. There are moments when I cannot carry my own weight and need to lean on my loved ones to get through it. The most important conversation that Kevin and I had was that none of this is his responsibility to fix. It’s natural when you love someone to want to fix things that are hurting them, but this is something that I need to heal on my own. All he can really do is to be by my side and listen to me talk. Right now that’s all I need is reminders that everything is going to be ok.