Living With Depression and Anxiety

Living With Depression and Anxiety | Why Hello Lovely

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.
-Giles Andreae

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.
-Amanda Seyfried

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!

  • Jen

    I think sharing this is so important, honestly you never know who you are helping by sharing your situation. I commend you for this and think it’s incredibly brave. I don’t suffer from depression on a regular basis but it has been brought on my two significant events in my life one being the death of my mother and the inability to have a child. Both of those situations crushed me but I have learned so much from both of them. I am wishing you all the best and I know that you are doing everything you can to be the person you want to be. Hugs!

    • Thanks Jen! I’ve surprisingly had a very good week so far. The depression seems to be more situational and tends to come and go at times. Anxiety, however, is unfortunately with me all the time. It’s definitely very challenging to talk about sometimes so I’m very much hoping this helps someone else out there who’s struggling with the same things I am.

  • Thanks for sharing your story. I have anxiety as well and have felt some of the same feelings you described. I was depressed several years ago as well, but what really helped me through it was yoga. I started doing it for fun and it opened up a whole new world for me. I also started running, which I know sounds impossible given the lack of motivation, but once I got past the initial hurdles I felt immensely better.

    • Hi Marette! I also started working out a lot when my husband left at the end of the summer. I was at the gym maybe 4-5 days a week and it really helped to clear my head. I always left, feeling so much better and ready to get some work done. It was hard to get started, but I was able to make it into a habit after a couple weeks or so. I love it!

  • I definitely deal with depression/anxiety. I was diagnosed with depression when I was a teen and then when I had my first child, I got postpartum depression + anxiety. I couldn’t find the energy or motivation to leave my house. Eventually I got out of the funk and was back to being okay. But I still struggled throughout the years. 2 years ago I decided to get medicated. I recently stopped taking the meds (in June) and I’ve been trying to manage it on my own because the meds were changing me. I didn’t like it. So whenever I’m in that funk, Brian has been so supportive and trying to motivate me or be there for me when I can’t be myself.

    • I’ve never actually been diagnosed with either. I’m not a big fan of doctors and I’m definitely not a fan of bringing up any issues I may be having. But I’m very worried about postpartum depression when we have children. It’s not as bad when Zack is around because he’s so amazing and supportive, but I’m still a bit worried about it. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

  • Marissa Jones

    Anxiety and depression really is one of the most difficult things to explain to people who have never experienced it. It really does change who you are, when I was on anxiety medications it was so much better I could actually function and get thru daily tasks without feeling overwhelmed. I had such a hard time in school due to social anxiety and having to do speeches or ask questions would set me over the edge to tears. It was so embarrassing which made the anxiety even worse! I am glad you are able to talk about it now it’s not easy! If you ever need a support I’m here I know what it can be like. :/

    • Thanks so much Marissa! I also couldn’t do any sort of public speaking in high school. I did a public speaking course for my business degree and it actually helped A LOT. It was an awesome course. But I also used to get super bad anxiety on exams and quizzes. I could have an A in the class and understand everything to its fullest, but the moment I was handed a test, I panicked. I’m so fortunate that my courses for my current degree don’t have exams. I’m actually graded on my understanding of the material rather than how well I can memorize vocabulary words. I actually just got in touch with a mental health counselor today so I’m hoping to set up an appointment in the next week or two to meet with him. My biggest goal is to avoid all types of medications. I don’t even take medications for headaches or anything like that so I definitely don’t want to feel like I NEED a pill to get through my day. It’s a work in progress.

  • Thank you for sharing your story – the world needs more awareness of these common mental illnesses. I struggle with both depression and anxiety. I’ve had depression longer than I’ve dealt with anxiety, but they’re both just as crippling. Learning to cope is hard, as like you said, it’s an everyday battle. I think that learning to have grace on myself has been huge. It’s not easy, but that’s the only way I can get through.

    • Hi Summer! I think I’ve had anxiety longer. Depression seems to be a bit more situational. Like currently, my life is so unstable and all over the place with Zack being away so depression has really set in. I really can’t do instability. So I’m very much looking forward to Zack coming home this summer and being able to build our life again.

  • I am right there with you. I struggle more with both, though the anxiety is worse. I am thankful for medication and a good support system (and God’s never ending mercy), but it is so hard- especially when people don’t understand.
    Decisions are the same way for me too. I want to start reading “Just Do Something” by Kevin Deyoung. My husband keeps telling me he thinks it would help a lot. You may wanna check that out too.
    Feel better!

    • Hi Kristin! I agree that the anxiety is definitely worse. I can sometimes find ways to distract myself from the depression and have a good day, but the anxiety is always there in some form. It makes it super challenging to function sometimes and do basic daily tasks. And I will definitely have to check out that book! 🙂

  • I have never dealt with depression/anxiety, but i know it one of the most difficult things to talk about and try to make people understand what you are going through. I think sharing your story is so important because there is probably someone out there looking for some they can relate to.

    • Thanks so much Shamira! It’s definitely very challenging to talk about sometimes so I’m very much hoping this helps someone else out there who’s struggling with the same things I am.

  • Lori Lyons Luhrman

    Depression and anxiety are recurring parts of my life…coming and going at various intervals depending on life circumstances. You are totally right, unless you have experienced it firsthand it can be hard to know what it’s like. I deal with anxiety and depression by exercising regularly, getting outside as much as possible, and using medication. During my worst times, I have also frequently gone to talk with my counselor, who is amazing! Just know that you are not alone and that YOU CAN do this. I’m sure it’s a tough time being away from your husband but just take things one day at a time. Thanks so much for your vulnerability and for sharing!

    • Thanks so much Lori! My depression also comes and goes. Like I said to someone else, my depression seems to be a bit more situational. Like currently, my life is so unstable and all over the place with Zack being away so depression has really set in. I really can’t do instability. So I’m very much looking forward to Zack coming home this summer and being able to build our life again. Until then, I keep myself as busy as I can.

  • I have postpartum depression and already had anxiety. I live on Zoloft, but it doesn’t always help. To cope I read, sew, take a walk, do yoga and just take care of myself for once instead of my husband and 1yr old daughter.

    • It’s so helpful to have hobbies! My blog keeps me pretty busy and I’ve taken on a lot of projects through my blog and school and all that. I also spend a lot of time at the gym, especially on my bad days which always helps in boosting my mood a little. I do everything that I can think of to keep myself distracted from it all.

  • Kait

    I deal with anxiety and it is such an awful feeling. How brave of you for sharing, because I know so many people who might be able to relate to this post. XOXO

    • Thanks so much Kait! It definitely wasn’t my easiest post to type up. And ironically, I posted it on a day that I actually felt really good. But I see so many people who are affected by it so I really wanted to share it with you all.

  • I’m sorry your depression and anxiety have been especially bad recently, living with anxiety is extremely hard and I really hope it gets better for you. I’m so glad you have such a brilliant husband to help you through 🙂 I find it helps to get into the habit of making a least of 3 small , easy things you’d like to achieve each day ( eg. paint nails, listen to favourite song, watch movie ) and it really helps give you purpose without over stretching yourself on days when you’re struggling to get out of bed 🙂

    lots of love, Marianne xxx

    • Thanks Marianne! Zack has been incredible. I really couldn’t ask for a more supportive and caring husband. I don’t know what I’d do without him some days. I do have the habit of putting A LOT on my to do list each day, but I’m also involved in a lot of different things right now so it’s hard to limit it. Instead, I make a list of things that have to be done that DAY and then another list of things that have to be done that WEEK. So this has been super helpful!

  • Christy Fleener

    You described it perfectly! I really needed to read this today. I’ve been definitely feeling a bit depressed and my anxiety seems to have increased lately. I think being honest about it definitely helps. I’m the type of person that wants to appear strong to everyone so it has always been a struggle to admit that I’m feeling depressed and anxious, usually I just keep it to myself- which makes it worse. I finally talked to my boyfriend about it last week. He definitely went out of his way to try to help me feel less anxious. I’ve been worrying about moving this spring since both of our leases on our places end at a really hectic time! He thought of one of his friends places who would be moving out a few weeks before our leases end and he surprised me with a visit to the place. Just little things like that really help. I think being honest also helps our significant others relate to us more. I know when I get triggers of the anxiety or sadness I tend to isolate myself and that has caused relationship issues in the past, so I’ve been really trying to not let that happen this time.

    • Hi Christy! I’m so glad you found this a bit helpful. My husband is absolutely amazing. He’s constantly trying to take on as much as he can so that there’s less for me to worry about. It’s so appreciated and I couldn’t be more thankful of everything he does. I just can’t handle added stress sometimes. Like money. I cannot be the one to handle money. Way too stressful lol I don’t know what I’d do without my husband by my side. He’s my best friend and biggest supporter 🙂

  • I get anxiety in waves, sometimes it’s bad, sometimes I’m fine. Well fine for me. Fine for me is a sort of numb state. Like others in the comments have mentioned, I’m not one to easily burden others with my feelings. I’d rather deal with it myself, which isn’t the best thing to do, I know. I have been trying to be more positive, more mindful and do things like yoga and meditate regularly to help me overcome this.

    • I also hate to talk about it a lot. I always feel so bad when my husband texts me to see how my day is and all I can do is cry and tell him it’s been horrible. He’s really the only person I talk to about it simply because I just don’t want to bring down everyone around me and ruin their good day. It’s definitely a work in progress. I do everything I can to keep myself as distracted and busy as possible. It makes it a bit easier sometimes to get through the day.

  • I have lived with depression and anxiety since I was little. Maybe 10 or 11? It has been better and worse at some stages, and I’ve been medicated most of the past 8-9 years (since I was 19, 20)… it had improved drastically right before I got pregnant, and I was able to stay off meds through my pregnancy, but then post partum anxiety and depression started about 2 weeks after the twins were born. It’s been pretty bad since then, but I have a fantastic husband 🙂 Most of the rest of our family is a little… ignorant?… about mental health. It’s very frustrating, and doesn’t help the depressed/anxious feelings at all to be so misunderstood. I’ve been told MANY times that I just need to forget my past, choose to be happy, snap out of it… it’s heartbreaking. So many of the other things you wrote about, I can relate to… but I don’t want this comment to be longer than the original post, lol 😉 If you ever need an ear, I’m all over the intenet, and I love getting to know people who “get” it. Hang in there!

    • Hi Katie! I’m very worried about postpartum depression when we have children. It’s not as bad when Zack is around because he’s so amazing and supportive, but I’m still a bit worried about it. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens. And I’ve also had the same type of reaction from some friends and family which is super frustrating. I have two sisters who also have anxiety and I feel like it’s more “acceptable” for them to have it and then the moment I’m having an anxious moment or a bad day, I’m told to get over it. If it’s me, then “I’m just doing it for attention”. It’s not taken as seriously. So it’s really upsetting. But my husband is incredible. He’s the most supportive and caring person I’ve ever met 🙂

  • Logan

    I love this Keating. Explaining anxiety to someone who doesn’t have it is the hardest things ever. It only makes you feel more “crazy” saying it out loud. Knowing you dot need to worry but still worrying and 100% have no control over it. Being unusually angry because of it being an all over body nightmare of an experience. I noticed mine in high school after leaving a really bad relationship. It’s only been the last few months I’ve gotten to a doctor and seen a therapist. Still working out the kinks but I’m getting there. I’m really glad that someone with wide social outreach is talking about this. It’s not something you can just stop. It’s who you are. Thank you 🙂 _logan

    • I definitely felt a bit on the crazy side when I was explaining it to Zack. It was a little hard for him to comprehend simply because he hadn’t experienced it before. But he’s been super supportive and as helpful as he possibly can be these last few months. I actually just got in touch with a mental health counselor today so I’m hoping to set up an appointment in the next week or two to meet with him. Zack’s been telling me to give them a call, but of course I have anxiety when making phone calls so I sent an email haha but I’m hoping seeing a therapist will help me through these next 6 months until Zack comes home.

  • Oh, I love this. It’s so hard for people to explain these things, and you did a wonderful job of it. I know a lot of people with one of these issues (or both! like you) and them trying to explain how they feel is so hard for them. I know a lot of people act like they should just “get over it”- and I know that they really would if it was possible. Thanks so much for address this!! And I’m glad that you have accepted it (a bit) and are learning to cope. *Hugs*

    • Thank you! It’s definitely a hard issue to talk about and explain. Especially to people who haven’t personally experienced it themselves. It took my husband a little while to understand it better and find ways to help me. I don’t know what I’d do without him sometimes. He’s absolutely amazing.

  • Jasmine Anderson

    Thanks for sharing! If more people did this it would help others who are more guarded about what they’re going through and in return find others who relate.

    • It’s definitely very challenging to talk about sometimes so I’m hoping this helps someone else out there who’s struggling with the same things I am! It’s so important to talk about it and find a good support system to help you through it.

  • Brianna

    ((hugs)) So many people I know deal with this debilitating issue. I am praying for you right now that you would experience some freedom from the depression now that you have spoken so publically. That it would not have such a tight grasp on your heart…that you experience peace with a fresh breath. 🙂 ((hugs))

    • Thanks so much Brianna! That really means a lot to me 🙂 I actually just got in touch with a mental health counselor today so I’m hoping it will help me to move forward.

  • Allison Ellzey

    I have really bad anxiety too and just yesterday had one of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had–for no valid reason. It’s the worst and I’m just now realizing that I need help.

    • Hi Allison! I’m so sorry to hear about your anxiety attack the other day. Those are so horrible! I had one while driving once and ended up having to pull over until I could calm down enough to make it go away. Like you, there was zero reason behind it. I just called my insurance company today and am setting up an appointment with a mental health counselor. I’m super nervous about it, but I know it’s the next logical step to getting it under control.

  • Hang in there, I’ve had anxiety seen I was a kid, and after a lot of therapy, finally learned how to control it and handle it. Sometimes it gets the best of me, but more often than not, now, I get the best of it. Depression has come and gone for me before too, it’s the worst. For me it registers as apathy, sickness, and feeling hollow. Hang in there, be open about it, and know that therapy is sincerely one of the best things you’ll ever do. I’ve had one now for 7 years… and I see her now and then when I feel like I need a recharge. At first, I went every week and it was amazing the jumpstart it gave me to health. After a few months, I started to notice I was improving.

    • Thanks Lana! I started the process of looking for a therapist this week. My husband’s been really wanting me to go so that I have someone to talk to for the last 6 months that he’s away. I have no doubt that I’ll be feeling a million times better once my husband is home and we move to our next home this fall, but for now I’m needing a little help so I’m hoping to start going in the next week or two.

  • I have been battling Anxiety Disorder for years, it truly is compounded now that my husband is in the military. Some days I just have to remind myself that I am not alone. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

    • Mine decreased a lot when I married my husband and then we went overseas and it’s been a complete mess. I’m so ready for him to be done with this enlistment so that everything can go back to normal. The military really doesn’t help when it comes to these things. But I’m debating on going to therapy soon so maybe that will help a bit.

  • Jasmine B.

    This post is absolutely perfect. I’m going through a situation highly similar. Therapy and self help books have been golden to me. Thanks so much for sharing. You’re definitely not alone.

    • Thanks so much Jasmine! I love self-help books. I go through phases where I’m completely addicted to them. They really do make you feel so much better.

      • Jasmine B.

        I’m just grateful that I’m not alone in the struggle.