For a long time, I have debated writing a post that touched more on my struggle with depression and anxiety. One the one hand, I thought it would be somewhat cathartic and therapeutic to just put it all out there; on the other hand, it's not something that I talk about often outside of my immediate family and circle of friends. It's a sensitive subject, and one that is prone to a LOT of judgement. I get it, to a point. To those who are unaffected by them, mental health problems seem to defy logic. I know that what I and others experience is hard to understand. Even so, while understanding our struggles might be difficult, treating others with kindness should not be. If I get no other message across with this post, I hope that one sticks. We can always afford to be more kind.
Ultimately, I have decided to talk about this, after some urging from friends, in an attempt to help others. If even one or two people read this and feel more "normal" and less alone afterwards, then it will have been worth it. Please understand that every individual is different, though, and that I can only speak of what is true for me.
So, here is my life...
I wake up in the morning, and instantly wish I hadn't. To me, there is something wonderful and calming about the blissful nothingness that sleep provides. But from the moment I awake, my brain tortures me. Or at least that is what it feels like. Between the anxiety that causes my brain to LITERALLY never stop, and the negative thoughts that are a constant in my head, being awake isn't a treat. I stay in bed until the last possible minute before getting up. Because the truth is, I don't want to get up. Ever.
Time with my kids brings me joy, albeit with the proverbial cloud floating around over my head. But when I have to head off to work, it's another story. I don't work at a bad place. I don't work at a particularly stressful place. And I have great coworkers who are a pleasure to work with. There is simply no logical reason as to why heading to work should be such a problem for me, except that I CAN NOT cope. Remember when I said that my brain does not stop running along? That includes time where I am at work. I'm not sure that there is any way I can properly articulate how exhausting it is for me to try to focus my brain for hours at a time. I can feel my heart racing, my palms sweating, tears welling up in my eyes, and my internal body temperature shoot up as I try to keep myself composed. I plaster a smile on my face, and make as many lame jokes and I possibly can to keep the mood light. But in reality, I'm wondering how long it is until my next break so that I can just go and lose it in the bathroom. And then I feel like a child.
By the time I get home, my brain is done. I can not focus on anything, and I feel trapped in a state of near-constant daydreaming. I feel that my family suffers for it, and my kids suffer. And I only work part time!!! For financial reasons, I need a full time position (sooner rather than later) and the thought of that makes me physically ill. I simply do not understand how I will ever be able to survive that without being committed to a loonie bin.
I have to engage in a lot of self-talk during the day, too, to prevent my thoughts from going too dark. I hate to over the "life is tiring" mantra, but I can't stress enough how I tire myself out. That might be the worst part - how exhausted I am. Just from living life. Every day.
I have a loving husband, two amazing children whom I love more than anything else in the world, and a great family...and yet every day is just simply something that I have to "get through". How pathetic is that? Sometimes, I just don't know how long I can keep going...
I am not writing this for sympathy. I do not want that. I am writing this to help others understand what their loved ones might be going through. If you don't care to understand, fine. You can judge me if you want. But this is my reality. And believe me, I am doing my best. And so are so many others. Every day. In every country of the world. We are NOT alone.
Without fail, there is one thing I look forward to every day (aside from time with my family, OBVIOUSLY): when I climb into bed, shut off the lights, and wait for sweet oblivion to welcome me.