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.

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.

#14

Sadness flows through my veins-
to what pleasure do I owe this pain?
Up and down my breathing goes
Sometimes gasping for air
Fleeing from what I don’t want to know
Eyes glazed into a stare
My highs are high, my lows are low

Demons to Fight

There are too many emotions. What to say? What is most important? What makes the most sense? What can people relate to? Right now, I do not care.

I always feel like I am not good enough, whether it be a lot or a little. Always, I fall short. I have an issue with people criticizing me without reason or warning. I do not understand those who are so ill mannered and mean to others; it seems these people are always ahead in the game. I refuse to lower myself to someone I am not just to succeed. My depression is a constant ache, my obsessive compulsive thoughts only making that pain worse. Anxiety? Let me worry about my depression and OCD. Bills? Fuck, everything is late. I am never good enough because I refuse to sacrifice who I am to get ahead. When will I be enough? Never? Okay, I will learn to cope. My immune system seems to be working against me, as if everything else was not enough. Fibromyalgia, which my doctor suspects I have, sends pain through my body. Is it in my mind? Maybe. The pain is still just as real. My bones pop when I move, constantly readjusting from the pressure of life. My body is weak and tired, and my mind the same. Every day, I wake up and act as though I am fine. I am going to have a good day. I am not depressed, nor anxious. It is absurd that I am thought to have Fibromyalgia.. I am too young, too healthy. Reality sets in before I even remove my head from my pillow. I am not okay, and it hurts to admit that. I am flawed in a way that most people can not understand. I am flawed in a way that society does not accept. My depression, anxiety, OCD, and whatever the hell else is wrong does not care that my disabilities are seen as miniscule. Depressed? Well, just get up and do something; it will go away. Anxious? Why do you worry about everything? Think about something else; get out and do something and it will go away. OCD? You must be crazy, just stop. You are having a panic attack? Just calm down and come into work and get your mind off of things. You are on medication? I do not believe that helps. Have you tried yoga? I just can not believe depression and anxiety are actually caused my a chemical imbalance; the medication you are on surely is not helping.

On a good day, I am still struggling. On a bad day, it is all I can do to appear ‘normal.’ On a ‘normal’ day, my thoughts still consume me. Mental disorders are real, and those who discredit them are monsters. I do not seek sympathy, but I do seek understanding.

I say that I am okay, because in MY reality, I am. A good day for me may be equivalent to one of the worst days of your life.

Tomorrow, I will wake up the same as I did today: worried, anxious, sad, mad, lazy, avoid-ant, antisocial, introverted, eccentric, excited, achy, tired.. This is who I am, and I fear, who I will always be.

I will not apologize for the cards I have been dealt. Nor should you judge others from being a different card than you are. We are all part of the same deck; we are all important and unique. We do not have to understand one another, but we do need to accept that life has given us all different demons to fight.