Hello everyone!! Tonight isn’t a sob story, it’s literally about real life shit. I don’t swear on my blog, but for this post I have made an exception. The last 48 hours or so have been probably the best yet hardest few hours of my life? I’ve gone through some pretty hard things in my nearly 20 years of living, but I think this one takes the cake.
I’ve skydived, travelled overseas alone, I’ve lost family members, I’ve been bullied all throughout primary school and high school, etc. etc.. But YET this is the thing that has had my heart rate climbing over the last few days. And tonight I announced the title of todays post on my Instagram story. Not a huge deal, right? Wrong.
I have work colleagues (present and past), family members, close friends, old school friends, randoms, and my blogging friends following me on Instagram. I was literally shaking when uploading the little story onto there. But read on, and you’ll perhaps understand why this post is so necessary for me to write (I promise this won’t be anything like ’13 Reasons Why’ even though that show IS 100%).
I can’t exactly pinpoint when I got depression or anxiety. I can definitely pinpoint when I first realised that the feelings and thoughts I was having wasn’t what is considered ‘normal’. But of course as a teenager, you’re told that you’re changing and that everything happening with your body is normal. So naturally I firstly ignored everything and thought that it was all part of becoming a teenager. I was having panic attacks almost everyday at most points in high school.
There have been many points throughout the last 10 or so years that I have felt detached, was scared of having a panic attack, I kept having the same thoughts over and over – sometimes for days or weeks, I was always wired and couldn’t relax, I felt sad for no reason – even when I was having a fantastic day, I always worried about what people thought about me, the whole ‘who am I’ moments, I lost interest in pretty much everything, I lost my appetite, I had depressive thoughts, always tired, huge migraines, heart palpitations, irregular bowel movements (yep pretty gross), chest pains, nausea, dizziness, stomach cramps, rib discomfort and even dry mouth. These are common symptoms for anxiety and they all suck. Most days I could be experiencing at least 2 or 3 all at the same time.
For those that have the pleasure of not having anxiety, for me anxiety is a brain that never stops. I have had many sleepless nights where my brain simply will. not. stop. Some nights I’d be sobbing because I couldn’t stop my mind. There’s no easy way to make your brain shut up, I’ve tried everything. Aromatherapy, shutting off electronic screens at least one hour before sleeping, and a heap of other things. Anxiety is checking that I’ve set my alarm for work in the morning 3 or 5 times before I go to bed. It’s checking multiple times that my car is locked. It’s checking what time I start work or an appointment is many times. It’s getting an assignment done weeks before it’s due – just in case. My head is always so full of thoughts, it never stops.
My depression on the other hand is quite a lot more severe than the anxiety. It’s what affects me most, and has more of an impact on my life. I’m not suicidal, but the depression part of me always has me thinking about death. I could be driving home from work, and there’s this one corner that I always have the thought of ‘what if you took the corner too fast? Your car could flip. You’d die,’ going through my head. I could be climbing a ladder at work or at home and have the thoughts of dying going through my mind. It affects me most when I’m not busy. When I’m still, that’s when it hits hardest. That’s why I always have music playing, why I fidget and why sometimes I feel the need to say something, which can lead to me saying something that sounds silly.
Having anxiety and depression is hard; anxiety makes you overthink, and makes your heart rate rise and you become alert – depression makes everything still and the happiest moments seem sad. It’s literally a constant internal battle, and I guess after people that I know in real life read this, I won’t have to constantly hide the fact that I’m having ‘one of those days’ or ‘one of those weeks’.
Really, having both anxiety and depression all comes down to the makeup of my DNA, my family has a huge history of both, and I was just lucky enough to hit the health jackpot.
I really wish that there was a cure for anxiety and depression, but I also don’t. The truth is, I wouldn’t know who I am if I was suddenly ‘cured’, even though sometimes I really struggle with this. It’s part of who I am, and I just really need to learn how to cope with it. I’m always trying new things. One of the girls at work offered self help books to read, and today I bought ‘first, we make the beast beautiful’ by Sarah Wilson. It’s not exactly a self help book but just after reading the first chapter, I felt a lot better about my new official diagnosis.
I’m lucky enough to have a strong community of people in my life that I can easily turn to for support, even if they have no idea what they’re doing for me.
When I go to work, I get to joke around with the girls, and there’s two of them that always notice when I have my ‘off’ days. Neither of them ever confront me about it, but just simply ask if I’m okay. There are so many days where I think about calling in sick, but because of the totally awesome people I work with, I push through and make myself go to work.
On top of that, I have the ladies at Guides, who have no idea about my struggles but it keeps me looking forward to something every week. Every Monday night is awesome, and just knowing that I can help a handful of young girls with their own problems in life is a really fantastic thing. It gives me a purpose to keep going. I have my best friend, who I don’t see her as much as I would love to, but she’s always so awesomely supportive with literally everything I do. I feel like I could say ‘hey I’m thinking of moving to Nepal and working in the fields’ and she’d be 100% behind me.
My family itself is super awesome. Dad knows when I’m down and lets mum come and check on me because he doesn’t want to intrude, whereas mum is fine with it. In a good way, I promise! And my little brother who comes and gets Doughnut Time with me just so I can have someone there with me. A huge incredible amount of love to mum for coming with me to yesterday’s doctor appointment though. I needed her there to hear me tell the doctor about what goes through my head, there was no way I could ever bring myself to tell mum ‘I think about dying, literally all the time’, without her putting me on suicide watch or something. But having her there and her hearing the doctor say that everything is natural, and everything is going to be okay, was probably the best news I’ve had for ages.
I hit rock bottom around Christmas last year. I tried so incredibly hard to get into the Christmas spirit and couldn’t do it. It made me confused, irritated and upset, because I usually absolutely love Christmas. From that point on, I have spent every moment thinking ‘wow, I’m next level f**ked up’.
This post is so incredibly upsetting, and I’ve struggled to write this over the last few hours. I really hope that people I know in my life do read this. Because even just a simple ‘hey’ from the people in my life make me feel a lot better.
So, from this day forward I’m going to be more open and out there with my mental health. It’s normal, I’m not ashamed of it anymore and I really need to find ways to cope with Mr Depression and Mrs Anxiety. I’ll still be doing my usual blog posts, but you’ll find that more of them will be about my journey to being ‘okay’, or something close to being ‘okay’.
I love you all, just for reading this.