We each have things in life that make our hearts smile and shine bright. For me that involves a number of things including family, photography, travel, reading, creating art, writing and making a difference in the lives of others.
We also each have moments where our hearts don’t shine as bright. For everyone this is different and for some it can last single fleeting moments and for others may last hours, days, weeks, etc.
I suffer from bouts of anxiety and depression, as I am fairly certain all humans do in some capacity. I suffer to a degree that I am on medication to help with the severity of the episodes. Again, I know I am not alone in that experience, however it is not commonly accepted to be open about that. I also know that there are many that suffer in silence and do not seek treatment in fear of being judged or those that have attempted to talk with their doctor about it and not been taken seriously. I am lucky to have a doctor that listened to me, took my concerns to heart, talked me through everything and connected me with the proper professional for analysis and treatment.
Now many may have stopped reading already and thought that this does not apply to them or it is just another story about mental health. For those that are still with me, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you and thank you for being open to learning more to either help yourself or help somebody you love.
My hope is that by sharing my experience of what it feels like during my episodes that you or someone you love may find value in it or maybe even benefit from it.
The anxiety sometimes creeps up on me. I may feel a twinge of doubt or nervousness but it will disappear as quickly as it came. Then another twinge followed by another and another until my heart is racing, my chest feels tight and heavy and my stomach feels like it is in my throat. During this time my head feels like a pinball machine with non-defined ‘thoughts’ bouncing around in my brain. Focus is near impossible and motivation has gone out the door and around the block. I feel worried and nervous for no apparent reason and as if I am crawling out of my own skin. I know the feelings are irrational, unwarranted and definitely unwanted; but in the midst of it I am seemingly powerless to change it.
Other times all of those feelings will simply pounce on me out of the blue; usually when I am winding down for the night or as soon as I wake in the morning. No matter if it is a sneak attack or an all-at-once blow, it is a terrible feeling and something very difficult to control.
The other episodes I deal with are those of depression, which often like to jump in on the fun alongside anxiety. While many believe that depression involves feeling sad or blue, I choose to explain it more as a feeling of emptiness. During times of the deepest depression I truly feel….nothing; empty; invisible. We all have moments (especially women) where we feel inferior or doubt our abilities or worth. Take those moments and multiply them by one hundred and then extend them out for awhile; that is close to what depression feels like for me. When these bouts hit me, my inner hermit appears. I want to crawl into a cave and hide, never to come out. I often find that during these episodes I feel extremely tired; which I personally think is my body’s way of coping. If I sleep, I can’t ‘feel’ the emptiness and the loneliness.
So why am I sharing this with you? Because I am one of the lucky ones. Lucky to be in tune with myself; my body, my heart, my mind, my spirit. Lucky to recognize when something isn’t quite right. Lucky to have a trusted doctor, friends and family that support me through these discoveries. Lucky to know that I am not alone in this battle, even when it feels like I am. Lucky to be proud of who I am and not let this define me.
Others are not as lucky. Others are suffering in silence and fear. Others are unarmed and unaware of the battle they are up against. Others have stood up to fight and hit obstacles only to surrender and give up hope for any relief.
I share this with you today to let you know that you are not alone; you do not need to fight unarmed or surrender; you are worth it; you are loved; and the world needs you. Do not sit silently and suffer. Reach out to those you love and trust. If you hit an obstacle, do not give up. Find a way around that obstacle; go over, under, around or through.
And if you do not know what it is like to live these battles, please understand that there are many around you that do. Be kind and understanding to others always; as everybody you meet has their own battles and their own story.
Until next time…♥♥