Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I honestly just spent a lot of time sleeping and watching Netflix and really just relaxing. For the most part, I was pretty disconnected from my phone and computer aside from answering a few emails and talking to Zack. It was very much-needed. I was also pretty MIA around here last week and I’m so sad that I didn’t get to connect with you all more. I had a pretty rough week and just didn’t do a whole lot of anything. I know this isn’t the most exciting and cheerful post to do on a Monday morning, but I really wanted to share this with you all and kind of let you know what’s going on around here.
As many of you may not know, I deal with depression and anxiety on a daily basis. And there’s very few people who I’ve told that to. I’m not sure what age I started to develop anxiety and depression, but it took a really long time for me to be able to recognize it. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, but I think it was probably sometime in 2012 (when I was about 20) when I actually realized it wasn’t normal for me to feel the way that I was feeling or do some of the things that I did. At that point in my life, I was in a really horrible relationship which greatly contributed to a lot of this. That relationship left me feeling so helpless and lost all the time. I constantly felt like I wasn’t good enough and that I was going nowhere in life and that my life was never going to get better. Most mornings, I would wake up and feel like there was zero point to me getting out of bed. After a while, those constant feelings and thoughts completely consumed me and by April 2013, I was at my lowest point. It was a few months later, that Zack and I fell in love.
When I moved to North Carolina to be with Zack, my depression was almost nonexistent. Of course I had my bad days here and there like any other “normal” human being, but it wasn’t an everyday occurrence anymore. I think part of it was the stability that I had in my life at that point and our amazing friends and the fact that I was with someone who really loved and cared about me. And the fact that I was finally out of Maine made all the difference in the world. I was able to say goodbye to every bad memory and start over somewhere new which was exactly what I needed. That was one of the few times in my life (that I can recall) where I was truly happy. Which made it even harder for me to leave and come back to Maine for this next year. It was completely devastating to me to have to come back here and be surrounded by so many horrible memories and the possibility of seeing people I never wanted to see again.
Here is the tragedy: when you are the victim of depression, not only do you feel utterly helpless and abandoned by the world, you also know that very few people can understand, or even begin to believe, that life can be this painful. There is nothing I can think of that is quite as isolating as this.
With Zack being gone and living in Maine again, every horrible feeling I’ve ever experienced has come flooding back into my life. Unless you have experienced depression and anxiety, it can very hard for you to fully comprehend it. A lot of people think that being depressed means you’re in a bad mood and miserable all the time and that’s not it at all. I have some days where I feel perfectly fine and everything is great and then I have days where I’m either super sad all day for little to no reason or I don’t feel anything at all. I guess the best way to describe it is by saying I feel numb. I don’t feel happy, but at the same time, I don’t feel sad, depressed, mad, etc. I have zero energy or motivation to do anything. I simply just exist.
Last week was one of those weeks where I just existed and nothing else. I felt zero motivation to get work done or do anything other than laying in bed, watching Netflix. It didn’t matter who I was around or what I was doing. Aside from feeling completely exhausted in every way imaginable, I felt nothing. Some days I feel like this year apart is completely impossible and it’s challenging for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I simply don’t feel like I’m strong enough to handle it I hate that I feel this way every single day. It’s been five months so far of feeling completely miserable and alone and we still have over six months left to go. It’s hard for me to imagine that this is all going to end at some point and we’ll be able to move on and re-build our life together.
I’ve had way too many people insist that I “refuse to be happy” which is frustrating to hear because it couldn’t be further from the truth. Who would ever refuse to be happy? Who would choose to feel this way and do these things and live their life this way? Certainly not me. I’m constantly wishing I could get rid of it all. One thing some people don’t understand is that these things aren’t as easy to fix as one may think. I’m not instantly better the moment I put a smile on my face. It just doesn’t work that way. Some people require medications and years of therapy to move past it.
I’m not even sure where to begin when it comes to explaining anxiety. Anxiety is so different from person to person. For me, it’s an all day, every day occurrence. I get anxiety just going to the grocery store or having to make phone calls and send emails. Any type of interview is terrifying to me. My head is constantly full of worry and fear and negative energy. Falling asleep at night is nearly impossible because it requires me to clear my mind and relax. Basic decisions turn into a never-ending process and even after a decision has finally been made, I change my mind fifteen minutes later. I’m that person who can’t even handle untangling a string of Christmas lights without breaking down in tears. Seemingly simple tasks become way more complicated than they have to be.
It’s strange to think that so many of my personality traits are because I have depression and anxiety. If I removed anxiety and depression from my life, I’d literally be a completely different person. And that’s so crazy to think about. I’d be happier and more outgoing and I’d be able to relax a bit more and not be so uptight all the time. I wouldn’t live in a constant state of worry and actually be able to enjoy my life and everything in it.
I remember feeling like I was the worst wife in the world for the first few months that he was gone. I was constantly upset and questioning our marriage, not because I truly thought we were going to end up divorced, but because the constant fear and worry and that little voice in the back of mind kept telling me this was impossible. It kept telling me that I wasn’t good enough and that he deserved better than me. At the time, he didn’t understand where those thoughts were coming from and I can’t even imagine how worried it must have made him to all of a sudden hear his wife telling him she couldn’t handle this.
I remember trying so hard to explain it all to him and how I was feeling without necessarily using the words ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’. It was challenging to explain it to him at first. I didn’t know where to begin or even how to explain it to someone who had never experienced it first hand. Sometimes I feel like I’m crazy and losing my mind and I definitely didn’t want my own husband to think that. At first (like others), he really thought that I just wasn’t trying hard enough to get through the year without him and that I was “refusing” to make the best of it because I didn’t like being in Maine. He doesn’t feel that way now, but it definitely made it a bit more challenging in the beginning.
It’s sad, actually, because my anxiety keeps me from enjoying things as much as I should at this age.
I am so very fortunate to have the husband that I have. There really aren’t many people who I’ve opened up to about this and I couldn’t possibly be more thankful for him or more appreciative of everything he does and everything he deals with. These past few months are the first time that he’s really had to deal with this and I know it’s been tough. He fixes everything in our life and right now, a good majority of our life is out of his hands. I know that must be just as challenging for him as it is for me to accept. He can’t be here to comfort me and he doesn’t always know what to say when I’m having bad moments or bad days. But he’s been patient and he listens when I need someone to talk to and that makes all the difference in the world. It is so important to have an amazing support system when you’re dealing with something as serious as a mental health issue.
As hard as it is to talk about sometimes, I feel that it’s super important to open up about it because there are so many people out there who are dealing with the same challenges that I deal with every single day. I’m in what feels like a never-ending process of getting better so that I can live my life to the fullest. I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way and thanks to Zack, I don’t have to deal with on my own either.
Do you suffer from depression and anxiety? I’d love to know how you cope!