I have never made it a secret that I have mental illness struggles. I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and get treatment for it. It took me a long time to realize it, but it's something I have probably struggled with for over 20 years, but just never recognized it as a mental disorder. Certain circumstances occasionally put me into a depressive or panic episode despite treatment. Many people can't really fathom what that means.
Since I'm in the midst of one of those episodes I thought this might be a good time to explain how it feels and what happens.
The only thing I want to do is be inside my house.
I want to sleep.
I want complete quiet.
I do not want to talk.
I do not want to socialize.
I find it hard to breathe.
I look outside my window and I fail to see the beauty that surrounds me.
I can't smile. If I do smile, it's fake....or someone told a really good joke.
I don't want to complete any of responsibilities, which means my house gets messy.
If I run errands, I fail to complete them because I begin to have a panic attack at being around people.
I don't want to make plans.
I will cancel plans.
I get sick.
My blood pressure rises.
The stress is suffocating.
I feel helpless.
I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I shut down.
I will snap at you.
I cry, usually out of the blue.
My feelings get hurt easily.
Nothing I can do really helps, but I still try.
I can't "snap out of it."
Counting my blessings will not make me feel better.
The small problems add up exponentially.
I am angry I feel this way.
I wonder when it will pass.
I wonder if I will ever be normal.
I wonder how people can still love me when I'm this way.
That's depression and anxiety. It's a real bitch. It goes well beyond being sad, frustrated, or lazy. I know exactly why I've been thrust into this latest episode. There are circumstances in my life that are causing a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety and I feel very helpless on how to improve those circumstances. The stress has eaten away at me, especially for the last few weeks. Add in the monster of depression that lurks inside my brain, and this is the result.
I hope that the more people learn about mental disorders like these, the more understanding and forgiving they can become. There are so many people out there struggling and you won't even recognize it. Show kindness and grace.