Two months ago, I was going to write on this very subject, but all I could write was the headline. I took the header photo back in December while walking through the gardens that’s downtown.
I don’t know whats worse: depression or anxiety. Both are intertwined. One can offset the other in a moments notice. Ten days ago, I had a panic attack AT WORK. It was the worst feeling ever, knowing that I would quite possibly loose my job because of it, hours later.
And I did.
Now just applying for a new job gives me anxiety, because what if this happens… again? Hence why I believe employees don’t hire me: Because of my mental health.
This is a part of a problem I am trying to solve, after just discovering the mystery of these terrible “patterns” I have undergone years ago. Every system I have learned to derail these so called cycles have sometimes only made them worse.
So screw you anxiety, for even when I believe I have you under control, I don’t. Breathing exercises don’t calm me down anymore. I used those so much during my time in high school and collegiate band, that my body is just so use to breathing deep breathes.
I’ve written letters with my pen pals on this subject, and have asked for advice once or twice. My new favorite is to focus on five things in the room, and just focus on those items. REGAIN control of your senses, by thinking about the smell of coffee, the beautiful glass holding the tea, and so on. But when you are not in the safety of what I like to refer to as a “Chill Zone,” these are hard to accomplish. I’ve even, in the middle of a panic attack, have FORGOTTEN how to get me out of one, when I desperately need to.
I live by myself, and its so easy to just wrap myself up in a blanket and sleep all day. I have done that for the past 10 days. This is also why I am glad I have a cat. Charlotte, who was once a stray, now gives me hope to face another day. Except for those spare moments of hope, I’ve actually crawled out of bed, go to my chill out zones (more on that later), and accomplished some organizational tasks.
I also have lived with some patient roommates in the past, and they have been kind enough to motivate me during these rough times of depression and anxiety. Yes, talking with your roommate about mental health must happen.
The plus side, if there is one, is that I was able to get myself to read while being in bed. I usually read in my living room, or outside. With the winter weather here, its difficult to sit outside, because as someone who is from Texas, I STILL don’t have adequate Winter clothing.
I completed one book, and this second book I’m on, I’m halfway through. It’s odd that this second book, a romance novel, is a book that is so good that I actually don’t want to read it. I want to read other books, because this one is just TOO happy for me right now.
That’s actually what got me out of this funk for right now. The book. Thank goodness for books, for they are able to bring other aspects to life, that our brains want to shut out.
I also finished (yesterday to be exact) retaking my notes I’ve made during Bible Studies and Sermons. Those notes came in just in time, because of the stories about life and death. This motivated me to pick up my pen again, and promise to myself that I would resume a blog series, Spirituality Series.
My anxiety levels have started to go down by Sunday, but like one triggers the other, depression flared up this past week.
This is where anxiety and depression follows each other, or work together. Those damn monsters…
I won’t list depression symptoms, that’s what talking to your Doctor or therapist is for. Having the courage to give my Trombone a bath and pick up my instrument again doesn’t appealed to me like it did last week. Avoiding conversations with family, is where it all starts. I am the only one in my immediate family who is diagnosed with Major Depression and General Anxiety disorder. And, as far as I know, I am the only one who goes through these battles. This makes talking to my family incredibly difficult.
I am now warming up to the idea of discussing depression and anxiety with friends, and even my “new” boyfriend.
Can I just take a moment, and say this? HOLY COW, I have a boyfriend like damn! I just wrote about Being single & 23. And no, he’s not the reason depression is here.
I have struggled with depression since I was fifteen, and have battled this alone almost. During high school, my dumb ass takes out my depression to Facebook, and scared a shit ton of people. If anything, I am glad I learned from that. Over the years, I’ve learned to keep my Facebook positive, if only to hide what pain I am going through.
That’s when the idea of starting a blog occurred over three years ago. And slowly, I have been able to write out some of the good times and bad times with the blogging world, and its one thing that sheds positive light on all this mess. Like when I wrote about my living with an abusive Father.
Oh, and might I add this is what made me realize my LOVE for writing! Along with writing for fun, I use to only keep a journal to myself. I am now on Volume nine or ten. Sometimes, when I am in a happier mood, I like to go back and read old entries. This helps me learn so much about myself that blogging doesn’t entirely cover it.
There are times, like this week, when I don’t feel like writing. And out of thin air, I realized how much I needed to write. Writing is an art form, just as much as music. I even have two other journals, for very specific writing purposes: 1. A dream journal, to record all my dreams I’ve had; for reflection and building memory strength. 2. A prayer journal. This one is the one I tend to forget about. You may not be spiritual, but for me, having a prayer journal helps me count my blessings, show gratitude, and more. When I go back and look at my Volume 1 that I started about two years ago, I laugh at all the things I asked for.
Hence why “Unanswered Prayers” and “The River” are my two favorite Garth Brooks songs.
I’ll get out of this funk, I always do. Some most basic principles of life get put to the test, along with new creative ideas. I don’t read many murder mystery books, but you better believe that Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, is still my favorite. And yes, I have only two episodes left of the new Netflix series. I have never binged an entire series before in one weekend.
I also use to fear that I would never make it past 22 years old. Here I am, 155 days away from my 24th birthday. I do remember having a panic attack during summer school on my 22nd birthday. I was walking to class, and realized that I had in fact made it to my 22nd birthday. I cried, while making myself walk to my one class. We ended up only staying for twenty minutes in my American History class. The rest of that day went downhill, because I was then so worried about making it another year in this fog of depression and anxiety.
You know, I didn’t think I was going to write this much, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’ll work on my two years of Novel edits later, but for now, I am just enjoying the fact that I know where I can go and feel safe. For me, Starbucks and the small business tea store are those places. The artwork on the wall, the smell of caffeine. The library and the large independent bookstore is another safe place for me, both are recent discoveries. Its interesting that going to Church doesn’t do the same thing. Unless I am in a prayer room by myself. I can block out everyone asking “how are you?” with just meditation.
Another thing I have learned about Depression: At night, is when it’s at its worse. For me, sleeping actually helps fight those deathly beings in my head. If (like this week), the Depression kills out the sunlight, then that’s when I have to go into emergency mood, and fight it. Sleeping during the day doesn’t help much either, but I do it anyways.
Depression has also become easier in September and October than it use to be. Now, the new year (just like 2014) is the struggle.
Note: If you ask, yes I do take medications. I am actually trying to rely less on medicine, and more on “Mind Over Matter.” Shootout to my boyfriend who is helping me with this transition, and the “Mind Over Matter” inner workings.
Here’s some advice I have learned from counseling. I would love to return to counseling, but insurance is a problem.
- Journal your thoughts and feelings. In good or bad times, this can immensely help de-clutter the brain from outside noises.
- Interact with humans. Social media has its positives, but interacting with humans can help bring you out of the downhill slide.
- Read a book. Simple, just read.
- If you are spiritual, find those spiritual outlets that can help you during tough times.
- Talk. If you don’t want to talk about it right away, that’s fine. Maybe you can share your favorite song with someone, who will then know what to do.
- Talk to these wonderful counselors, and volunteers who are ready to help twenty- four hours a day: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255.
I have called several times, sometimes because they are the closets therapy I can have over night. They’ve talked me out of an anxiety attack, over an argument with an abusive roommate this past winter. Shout out to the guy who over the phone, who listened.
Go volunteer: at a animal shelter, at a social justice event, or even with elders.
There are thousands of methods for slowly becoming what others consider is normal. What if, in 2017, we could all say that its totally fine not to be on top of your game 100%?
For those who are friends, family, Twitter friends, blog readers, or you just happened to read this, thank you. Not everyone takes the time to listen, and that’s why I say thank you.
With love and care,
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