These days, it feels like everyone has depression and I almost feel like it’s a cliche saying that I struggle with it. When I was 15, I started seeing my 3rd psychologist with great hesitancy, who diagnosed me with depression. My mom had decided that we were going to continue with me seeing him once a week (sometimes twice) to try work through all the sads and try avoid being put on medication. Now, before you jump down my throat, I have nothing against medication in fact there are times I wish that we had chosen to put me on anti-depressants back then. My husband suffers with depression, bi-polar and borderline something or other. He uses several medications to help him manage it and he credits the person he has become to being on the right combination of medicine.
Before I met Darren, I was part of the masses who thought that mental illness was an indication of weakness. I am sorry to admit it but I was exceptionally ignorant. I remember sitting in someone’s house when I was a kid, who went on to say that her sister-in-law who was battling bi-polar just needed to go to church. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy! Being with my husband has taught me a lot about mental illness and has helped me accept my own problems and be more direct in managing them.
It was only recently that I realized how I suffer with anxiety. I think the best way that I can explain it is that I always knew the book definition of anxiety but I couldn’t identify it, in myself. I realize now that I have been suffering with anxiety since the beginning of time, really. When I think back to my days at school, I remember sitting in the sick room where I couldn’t think of a way to explain the cramping in my stomach. It feels like bubbles and as each one pops, this intense pain fills my entire stomach which constrains me from exhaling and making it really tough to breathe. I used to go to a physiotherapist on the weekly basis to work on the tension in my neck, back, feet and hands. Yes, I had knots in my hands! These are all things that I still experience, even in my adulthood. At night, I toss and turn over stupid little things that happened when I was in school, or ways that I may have reacted in a situation, nit picking at each scenario and how I could have handled it better. Do you think the people in each case is up at night, thinking back to that time? No, I don’t! Yet, here I am, stressing and worrying over something that was rather insignificant which just so happens to keep me up at night.
Anxiety explains why I struggle in social situations. I am exceptionally talkative and can keep a conversation going, except when it is with a group of people that I don’t know. Networking events are things that my nightmares are made of! Recently (and by recent, I mean in May – and yes, I am still worrying about it) I attended an opening and as I walked through the doors, they had a red carpet lined with people acting as paparazzi snapping pictures with the flash on. I was on my own, I didn’t know anyone and was stunned. I literally could have curled up and died. I ended up walking through, got my name badge, went to the food section which had so much incredible food and cakes, but I was too hung up on the shock of walking into all those cameras that I could only grab a water before awkwardly finding a place to sit down. The entire event was a sham for me and I begged Darren to come fetch me as soon as it was done. On the rare occasion that I do get invited to events, I spend the entire time leading up to the event worrying about what I will wear. This isn’t like a typical girl saying, “Ermagerd, but this dress is so cute!” It is more like an intense fear that I might sit wrong in the outfit that I pick, and there’ll be photos shared on social media and my arms will look fatter and my family will see it and they’ll try to host an intervention for my weight gain.
My anxiety makes me emotional and sometimes, Darren thinks that I am just being a broken human but something as small as a statement about the meat being overdone makes me worry that I am a horrible cook and that dinner was obviously terrible and why do I even bother. Other times, like this week, I hear that my mom is visiting and I stress about the house being cleaned, hire someone to help me spring clean and then end up cleaning even after the nanny leaves because it isn’t good enough. I am probably one notch away from ironing the bed.
And the reason I am sharing this with you is because there are times where I wake up and I know that I am meant to get up and write a post and be inspiring or something like that. But I can’t and I just disappear. These past two weeks I have been fighting the inevitable sads and have been ridden with anxiety, trying my best to work through it. I have learnt so much through my own late night research which helps me. I feel like that what I am feeling may not be normal, but I am not alone in it and perhaps knowing what’s wrong is the first step to learning to manage it.