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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Living with depression: When you want to do things, but just can’t

It’s going on 7pm – I just got out of bed to feed my cats that had been meowing incessantly and pawing at me for about 2 hours. (The one thing I actually don’t neglect due to depression is my cats, so don’t worry. They eat at the same time every day. They’re just annoying and probably thought I was dead.) As I was lying in bed, I was googling things like “I want to be productive but I can’t” because I had the hope (for the millionth time) that maybe, just maybe, someone out there felt like this as much as I do, found a solution, and wrote about it. Not only did my results come up empty, I found that there are close to no personal accounts from people who feel this way. I don’t have a solution, not even close – but maybe my personal accounts can at least offer comfort to someone else in knowing that they aren’t alone. Maybe, together, some of us can find solutions that work for us.

My stomach has been my enemy all weekend (which sucks even more because I was out of town celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday with his family), so a kind coworker covered my shift for today. I slept late, made an iced latte, and curled up on the couch to catch up on The Bold Type. I told myself that after the episode, my coffee would be kicked in and I would spend the day doing cleaning and laundry. The episode ended, but I was comfy, so I thought I’d play Candy Crush for a couple minutes; well, I ended up getting unlimited lives, so you just can’t stop playing and waste that, right? An hour later, I decided to finally get up and eat some cereal, so I sat back down on the couch with my Honey Bunches of Oats and American Pickers was on. It was a cool episode, so I continued sitting there to watch it. Then, I decided that I was tired and so I went back to bed, played on my phone, and napped. I got up and was contemplating which chore to focus on first, but ended up so overwhelmed at everything that needed to be done that I ended up back in the bed. This is when I was trying to find something online that at least made me feel a little better. To no avail, I ended up looking at school supplies, oxfords, and I believe in Bigfoot t-shirts on Amazon. Since I’m broke and can’t afford anything that I added to my wish list, I thought I’d just go back to sleep. Why bother doing anything? I’m depressed, everything is stupid, and the house will just get dirty again anyway. Tomorrow will be better. Fast forward to my cats telling me that they are literally starving to death – I feed them, make an iced matcha latte, grab my laptop, and go sit outside.

So if by some off chance that you’re still reading, maybe you’ve had many similar days. Maybe you’ve also googled different phrases to no avail. Maybe you’re sick of seeing titles like “When You Want to be Productive, But Lack Motivation,” “How to Conquer Depression” or “10 Tips and Tricks to Overcome Laziness and Get Motivated.” Maybe you also want scream I HAVE MOTIVATION, BUT IT ISN’T ENOUGH!  I’M NOT LAZY, BUT I AM DEPRESSED AND I DON’T KNOW HOW TO MAKE MYSELF DO THINGS!  DOES NO ONE ELSE FEEL THIS WAY?  “JUST DO IT” ISN’T HELPFUL ADVICE!

Maybe I’ll try to make writing this a more regular thing.

Perhaps your love will make me forget all that I do not wish to remember –

gA%OXV2lQuedAb0%McFvmQKnoxville, TN 

Perhaps your love will – 

free me from myself

make me feel beautiful

take away some of life’s stress

show me happiness

encourage me to be the best version of myself

support me when no one else does

listen when no one else will

be the rock to keep me stable

hold me up when I am falling down

support my addiction to iced coffee

make our house feel like home

be patient with my mental illness

always listen to my political rants

(try to) understand my radical viewpoints

help me with homework that I don’t understand

care for me when I am sick

hold me accountable

make me feel worthy

make me feel strong

Perhaps your love will always make sure that I feel appreciated, adored, & loved.

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.

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.

Daily Reminders

A small step in the right direction is still a step in the right direction. I have to keep reminding myself of that, every day. I am enough. I don’t owe anyone anything. The only opinion that matters is my own. Loving myself is more than enough. Sleeping alone isn’t so bad. Always look at things from different perspectives. A day without talking is okay. Not knowing every single detail is perfectly acceptable. It’s okay to trust. It’s okay not to trust. Never apologize for sharing your feelings, even if they are irrational. Always be honest. Don’t apologize for being who you are; instead, learn to love who you are. Have control over your thoughts. Be playful. Accept that some people won’t like you. Worrying is normal. Accept that you won’t like some people. Your feelings are valid. If you care for someone, let them know. If you aren’t happy, then make yourself happy. Be open minded. Do things that make you happy on a daily basis. Saying no is okay; saying no without an explanation is okay. Know what your morals are, and don’t break them. Have hope. Never allow yourself to put in all the effort with nothing in return. Don’t be judgmental. Practice being compassionate. Expectations lead to disappointments; life is short and unpredictable, so avoid being disappointed. Be nice to people. Give yourself compliments. Know that nothing is concrete. If you are hurt, no one else can tell you that you aren’t. Find some sort of beauty in every one and every thing. Look to the past for advice. Say please and thank you. Mental illnesses aren’t anything to be ashamed of. Learn to listen to others and understand their feelings. Know that it’s okay to be depressed sometimes, as long as you pick yourself back up. Things can, and often do, change. Learn to communicate your feelings in a healthy way. Be faithful to yourself. Realize that everything isn’t as it seems. Don’t regret anything. Sometimes things fall apart, and that’s okay; pick yourself back up and try again. Know what triggers your anxiety. Treat life as if it is a magnificent journey. Know that arguments aren’t the end of the world. Sometimes, being selfish is necessary. Stop being so reliant on social media and text messaging. Know when to let go; know when to hold on. If you’re lonely, talk to God. Instagram likes shouldn’t give you a sense of self worth. Avoid going to sleep angry. Occasionally being lazy is alright. Have fun without spending money. Keep a journal throughout your lifetime. Use your talents. Yell when it’s necessary. Be charitable. Don’t put yourself down. Learn to truly laugh and find yourself being caught in a moment where you are overcome with happiness. Crying does not make you weak. Be selfless when you can. Don’t hold grudges. Smile. Have faith in something bigger than yourself. Don’t bottle up your emotions. Be environmentally friendly. Set goals for yourself that are attainable. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Only surround yourself with people who appreciate who you truly are and uplift you. Dress up for yourself. Be considerate. Enjoy nature. Create intimate and special relationships with as many people as you can. Talk to strangers; smile at strangers. Making someone else happy will make you happy in return. Most importantly, always be yourself. Spend each day learning who you are.

I once told a friend years ago that if there are two pieces of pizza left, I’ll take the smaller one. She said, “Misty, no one is going to get mad at you for taking the damn larger piece of pizza.” It’s okay to take the larger slice of pizza.