C r a s h

I like to pretend that I am Super Woman. I say pretend because as someone with panic disorder and major depressive disorder, my mental health will never allow me to tap into 100% of my potential. I have been flying at a fast pace for months, but today I crashed.

As I’ve said in a previous post, I am writing this to not only help sort out what I’m going through, but to also offer comfort and solidarity to someone else that’s struggling. There are a lot of articles about depression and anxiety, but there aren’t too many real accounts of other human beings that are also struggling on a daily basis. I find solace knowing that I’m not alone in this and like always, I will get through it.

I am a first-generation college student. I have student loans because I do not come from a wealthy family. My father is dead and I miss him more and more everyday. I am lucky that I receive grants and scholarships to help pay for tuition. I depend on my boyfriend of five years financially, physically, and emotionally. I have a job that I love, but I cannot work many hours when school is in session. I have an internship that I devote a lot of time to during the semester. I am an undergraduate research assistant. I coordinate a peer mentoring program at my college. I am a student ambassador. I am vice president of my college’s social service organization. I am currently on the ballot to be president for an honor society. I have a 4.0. I received a grant and am planning a big event for the fall. I am a perfectionist. I am chronically tired and have a horrible dependence on caffeine. My drink of choice is an iced mocha. I am pre-diabetic, not because I overindulge in sugar, but because of shitty genetics. I have chronic migraines and headaches. I have an unhealthy relationship with food because I view it as a reward. I have mild body dysmorphic disorder. I have endometriosis that is just getting worse. I have sleep apnea and I despise my CPAP machine, so I refuse to wear it. I have arthritis in my lower back and my neck and shoulders are tense all the time. My best friend, whom is like my brother, is going into the army in a few months. My other best friend is buying a home over four hours away, which makes it real that she is not coming back. My other best friend that lived with me moved over 10 hours away. All of these things, plus just normal everyday life, is what led up to my crash.

I cried a lot last night and went to bed with a warm cloth over my eyes so that they would not be so obviously swollen the next morning. I always set at least 12 alarms because waking up has always been incredibly difficult for me. None of the alarms woke me up this morning (which is very rare), so I missed an appointment with my psychiatrist. My anxiety shot through the roof and I immediately got angry with myself. This is when I decided to take a step back. When I am struggling and overwhelmed and sleep through my alarms, that is a sign that I need to take care of myself. Sometimes I ignore the sign, but today I chose not to. I am not sure how I plan to make myself feel better today, but I think this is a good start.

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Fondness for Silence

I have a fondness for silence 

No matter where I am, it gives me a sense of home

My mind constantly competes with the noise around me

In silence, it stops fighting 

I wander in the calmness, often with eyes closed

To the land I escape to that know one else goes

It’s been a while.

I haven’t felt the need to write lately, mainly because I feel like no one cares what I have to say. But tonight, I have that heavy, anxious feeling in my chest as if words are slowly filling up my veins, and if I don’t let them bleed out, then I will undoubtedly explode.

There are so many topics, sentences, and questions flowing through me – how do I pick out what to write down? After months upon months of nothing, why is this happening now? Words often flow through easier through my veins when I am in a state of depression, so my mental stability comes into question. I know I have been feeling more down and emotional lately, but surely my body realizes that I don’t have time to fall into a state of depression. Right?

Time has made a habit out of making the loss of a loved one easier. Time, this time, has failed me. It has been two years, three months, and six days since I lost my father. The longer he’s gone, the more of my life he’s missing, and the more it hurts like no pain I have ever experienced before. I can feel the emptiness swell through my body like a disease that eats every ounce of energy and happiness that I have left. Mannequins enjoy life more than I do sometimes.

I earned my Associate’s Degree (although useless, it’s still somewhat of an accomplishment), graduated with honors, on the Dean’s List, and a member of two National Honor Societies. You weren’t there, and honestly, I didn’t really want to be there either. I transferred to the university that I swore I’d never go to. I got into the Social Work program, and I’m a member of a couple of organizations. But I haven’t been able to tell you that. You haven’t been able to tell me that you’re proud and that you love me.

That’s what hurts so deeply, Dad. My life is moving forward without you in it. Some days, I want to just stand still. I want to quit, go back to bed, and never wake up. I want to be where ever you are. You are supposed to be here, at least until I’m done with school and get married. No twenty-four year old should have to lose their father. I’ve thought I was an adult since I was a teenager, but losing you was a harsh slap in the face. I still need my daddy, so come back. Come back and guide me, love me, and show me all of the things that I still need to know.

I live in two different realities:

  1. Depression, anxiety, sadness, irritability, anger, swollen eyes, exhaustion, migraines, aches, and pains. Nothing is worse than the sound of my alarm. I dread the thoughts of simply existing. I lack motivation. What is the point in all of this? Why do I stretch myself so thin all of the time? Why do I try so hard and care so much? We are all going to die anyway.
  2. My passions overwhelm me and I have too many things I want to get done. I am ready to start my day with a shower and an iced latte. The weather is beautiful and I want to sit outside, feel the sunshine, and listen to the birds sing. I feel my depression awakening, but I’m able to put her back to sleep. I put my anxiety back to bed as well. I’m able to overcome my negative emotions and everything is okay. I am going to change the world for the better.

To those who don’t struggle with mental illness, I may seem like a manic mess. To those who can relate, they know that this is a normal part of life. To outsiders unaware of my internal struggle, they would never assume anything was wrong. I seem like a ‘normal’ person. Some days, I even feel sort of normal.

My veins no longer feel like they are going to explode from the accumulation of unsaid words. Self-care is important, necessary even. Writing is self-care for me. I am still learning to love and respect myself.

Time. Everything takes time.

Before She Found Herself

Sometime before she fully reached adulthood, she traded in her Dr. Pepper for a whiskey and Coke and sweet tea for a shot of whatever was being offered. She was lost in a whirlwind of emotions and the alcohol made her feel numb- a pleasant state of laughter and what she thought was happiness. The happiness later turned into numerous one night stands (well, sometimes she would go back to the same person), drunk driving, and breakdowns in bathrooms where she vomited and cried by the bathtub of a stranger. None of her questions about life were answered the way she wanted, so she drank more and more until she eventually did not know who she was. She went through the motions, either drunk, hungover, or trying to get through work until she could start the cycle all over again. The panic attacks were getting worse and more frequent, and she could say the same about her depression. The alcohol numbed these and the numerous boys made her feel wanted and beautiful. She felt whole. The problem was that when she woke at 4:36am, she was naked, dehydrated, had a migraine, and was next to someone that did not care about her deeper than what he saw- anxiety and negative emotions flooded her as she gathered her things, got in her car still a little drunk, and drove away.

Emotions

I often find that it’s hard to know how to feel.

Sad? Mad? What is real?

Am I imagining things? Should I really be upset?

Surely I’m crazy.. surely I’m crazy..

Validate my feelings!

Tell me that my emotions are okay;

I know I’m crazy, but tell me that you’d feel the same way.

Tell me I’m not being illogical.

Tell me that everything will be okay.

Wipe away my tears, and please, tell me you’d feel the same way.

Roots

Imagine an old oak tree whose roots have found their way to the surface, creating a series of very intricate knots that surround the beauty they keep grounded. This tree sits alone in a park that no one seems to visit anymore. Her anxieties and depressed states are the roots in which keep her grounded. Outside, she has hair as bright as the sun, and eyes so deep that it is hard to make yourself look away; the passion she possesses flows from her to you. Everything about her is electric. Like that old tree, she radiates beauty that captivates every soul that crosses her path. Unlike the tree, you can not see the things in which hold her down-those terrible things are hidden away beneath the breathtaking body that she calls home. Throughout her life, those roots of hers keep growing, but in the end, only making her stronger. One day she stumbles across that old tree and can not help but to smile.

The Outside World

The sun was shining, so she closed her blinds as she swept her bangs from over her eyes; the brightness and glow was too much for her damaged soul to bear. An old and tattered floral chair, like the ones you see abandoned beside dumpsters, called itself home in the dimly lit corner of her room; she saw much beauty and history in things others only wanted out of their way. She also possessed a beauty that was often overlooked. By the chair sat a small table passed down from generations of people she would never know; old, dirty, and abused, the table beautifully held a caramel latte and an antique sea-foam green book. She adored things that others didn’t. In her over-sized sweater, her nervous hands picked at the threads as she imagined the outside world. Bright and happy, she thought, they just won’t understand; as always, she smiled shyly to herself, swept her silky hair behind her ear, and made that old chair home. Quietly sipping her coffee and taking in the dusty smell of her favorite book, she knew that things aren’t so bad after all.