Living with anxiety and depression

It’s World Mental Health Day, and I’ve been trying to write this blogpost for two weeks. No joke, two week. I just don’t know what to say. I just don’t know how to start it. I just don’t know if I’ll get my point across. It’s a difficult topic, because I feel like I should prove myself, to make you feel like I’m justified to have anxiety and depression. I shouldn’t be doing that though, nobody deserves to be depressed, and depression doesn’t discriminate, it picks you no matter who you are.

I want to explain to you what it all means though. Depression and anxiety are two disorders that people don’t take seriously. “Oh, everyone feels depressed from time to time!” is usually the answer I get when I tell people. I always feel really bad when they say that, because it isn’t time to time for me, it’s always. Every day. For years.

What is anxiety?
Anxiety for me, is being too afraid to go outside. Having panic attacks for no reason. Double, triple checking whether I locked the door properly. It’s laying awake at night for 6 hours thinking about bad stuff. It’s not being able to do things with other people, because I’m too afraid of everything. It’s shaking, it’s being out of breathe, it’s dizziness, it’s crying with no reason, it’s absolute panic, for absolutely no reason what so ever. It’s not being able to sit in my own damn living room, because I get too anxious with our curtains drawn, too afraid of people peeping through our windows (which happens more often than you think!). The more depressed I feel, the more anxious I get it. It’s a very nice circle!

What is depression?
According to Wikipedia, our Lord and Saviour:

Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known simply as depression, is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood that is present across most situations. It is often accompanied by low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, and pain without a clear cause. People may also occasionally have false beliefs or see or hear things that others cannot. Some people have periods of depression separated by years in which they are normal, while others nearly always have symptoms present. Major depressive disorder can negatively affect a person’s personal life, work life, or education, as well as sleeping, eating habits, and general health.
(…)
The cause is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Risk factors include a family history of the condition, major life changes, certain medications, chronic health problems, and substance abuse. About 40% of the risk appears to be related to genetics.

For me, it isn’t genetic  (that I know of!), but because I’ve got several conditions of which depression is a side effect, such as ADD and fibromyalgia. I won’t get into those in this blogpost, but you can read about them here!
It also didn’t really help that I got bullied for about 13 years. It also didn’t help that I’m prone to have bad luck either. All those things combined caused me to get depression at a very young age. I’ve been seeing mental health professionals (for various reasons) since I was 8 years old, and nobody really cared to help. When I was 18 y/o, I had to do a test and got one (1!!!!) point short to get professional help, they just told me “to come back when things got worse.”. I didn’t really believe that people wanted to help me because of that. I mean, if I told them I’m suicidal and they still tell me I don’t qualify for help, why would anyone else??

I still feel like I haven’t explained this well. I don’t know how to explain that it’s just complete numbness for me. Nothing brings me joy anymore. Nothing makes me happy. I used to have a lot of hobbies, watching anime, knitting, reading, writing, playing with my cats, watching movies… I just stopped all of it. I didn’t care anymore. I just woke up and waited until it was bed time again. When I’m having a good day at work, I might still hear in my head: “I don’t want to live anymore. I don’t want to live anymore. I don’t want to live anymore” over and over in my head. I kind of explain it as having 40 TVs on in your head, they are all on a different volume, and 37 are screaming mean things to me. Anyone would get sad when listening to these things all day every day!

What changed though?
Life changed. I was tired of feeling sad. I was tired of not enjoying anything anymore. I was tired of just getting through the day instead of living through the day. I was TIRED. So I got help. I went to the doctor, after 8 years of not believing in it anymore. I arrived at the doctor, told my issues, and the doctor said: “Well, you sound too happy to be depressed.”. So, I felt so angry. Again, people didn’t believe me! He told me to do a test, again, and come back a week later. I got full score. To the point he got worried and put me on medication immediately. It changed my life.

I can finally enjoy things again. Slowly, but surely, I’m getting back to my old self again. I’m not cured, I’ll never be cured, but instead of 37 TVs yelling mean things to me on a very loud volume, it’s about 20, on a soft volume. It makes me function. I can do things, I’m less scared, I don’t have to stay inside all day because I’m too afraid. I have good days, I have bad days, but oh my word, it’s so good to not be suicidal anymore. It’s so good to not panic about absolutely everything. It’s so good to not cry whenever I do anything wrong. I’m so glad to be able to sleep a little bit better. I know that medication isn’t for everyone, and I’m very very lucky mine worked immediately, and my side effects are very minimal. Some people get numb from the medication, I’m more like myself with it. I’m very, very lucky.

People still look at me funny when I tell them I’m depressed, because everyone thinks I’m too happy to be depressed. That’s the funny thing though, I’m always pretending to be happy, I’m always kind and nice to people and never say a mean word to them, because you never ever know what people are going through. Someone might just have had the worst news ever, why would I be someone that makes them feel worse? Because I know how it feels like to be sad, I’m doing everything I can to make people feel better and happier, I never want them to experience the same kind of sadness I’m experiencing.

I do experience happiness though, I love my job. My job makes me happy. I love my co-workers, I love the kids that arrive at the shop. My cats are the loves of my life. My best friend makes me feel so happy. My boyfriend makes me feel so happy. It’s just hard to find those little happy things at times. However, my days are good as soon as I can make someone else feel happy. As long as I can make other people happy, I’m good. ♥

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