Whenever I am having a hard time with my depression, or anxiety, I just know I need to write down my feelings and thoughts so I can feel better. Oftentimes I am laying in bed, late at night, and I put together a blog post in my mind because I just can’t get these down feelings go away. It is definitely a struggle, but writing about it helps me cope with it.
I have given this a lot of thought, but I feel like I need to address this and be even more open about my condition. I have been outspoken about depression and anxiety for a long time, but I don’t think I have gone into details, nor was I really aware of how much I am really effected by it (sometimes) and through me those around me as well. There are many different types of depression and I learned that the hard way. Growing up I had people with depression around me, and I assumed depression either meant crying all the time (for no reason) or being extremely down, negative and hopeless. Little did I know that there are more depression-types than these two.
I do feel down, negative and hopeless, and absolutely bad about myself, and even get emotional at times, but most of the time I am just plain unhappy and angry. It is frustrating to be like that because people around you think, you should be more in control of how you deal with certain situations, and you should be more in control of your feelings and reactions. That is easier said than done. Those people oftentimes make very ignorant comments to those who struggle with mental illness because all they say to you is to “snap out of it”.
It took me a long time to realize I had depression. I always wondered why I felt so unhappy and angry all the time, but didn’t think it had anything to do with a mental illness. I just couldn’t understand those feelings because I knew in my heart I should be happy. I had a wonderful family, a great home, two healthy boys and awesome friends around me, yet I was always frustrated, irritated and just not happy.
I finally saw a doctor, and once I started taking medication, (for the chemical imbalance of my brain) things started getting better. It’s been years since I realized I had depression, but I am so grateful I figured it out because life is so much better and more bearable for myself and those around me.
It isn’t gone though and probably never will be. I learned to live with it, and I learned to deal with the bad days, but I am still working on figuring things out, and I am still struggling to make those around me understand.
I am not sharing this because I am looking for advice or solutions, I am sharing this so others can see what I am dealing with, why I am the way I am and why I behave the way I do. But I also want those who struggle with it as well, know that they aren’t alone and that there is someone out there who understands what they are going through.
It isn’t easy to deal with these angry feelings. I hate feeling this way and I don’t enjoy to lose my temper, snap at those around me and say things I don’t really mean. I can only control all of this to a point and so I knew I had to find somewhat of a solution for it. Family and friends often wonder, why I don’t participate in a lot of social things, or why I oftentimes keep to myself. I do that for my own protection and for those around me. I have watched myself, and I now know how I will feel and react in certain situations. It starts out okay and bearable, but can quickly turn into the exact opposite.
I had several incidents when family members asked me to go on a hike, (for example) and I tried to make them understand that I didn’t want to do that, and just couldn’t do that right now because I know myself. I let them talk me into it, and most of the time it ended up with me feeling completely overwhelmed, stressed, and angry and those around me upset at me for having such a bad attitude, for ruining family time or whatever the reason is. It taught me that I have to be completely open with everyone, tell them what my problem is and what the outcome will be. I am someone who needs her privacy, and some serious alone time, so I can function. If I don’t get that, I get to a point in which I feel like I am going to start screaming or I will explode. It is a nasty feeling.
Having anxiety is also teaching me a lot about myself and how I have to handle situations and issues. So many well-meaning people think they are helping you by throwing out advice on what to do or how I should push myself, but it doesn’t work like that. Everyone is unique and what works for one person, is the worst for another. Last Friday hubby and I took my best friend to see the Neuschwanstein castle. I myself had never been and I wanted to push myself so my friend and I could enjoy this together. I already felt a bit anxious and stressed when we almost reached our destination. (When I am trapped with other people in a car, for several hours, I get to a point when I need a break badly.) When we reached the parking lot, and I saw the floods of people everywhere, I started to really freak out, but I thought I could make myself do it. We had a 40min. hike ahead of us, and the whole area was packed. We started our hike, but I didn’t make it far at all. With each step, the anxiety grew, I got angrier and angrier, and I was close to a major meltdown. I was in such a panic mode, that I felt like screaming to get this horrible feeling off my chest, and was super close to starting to cry. I also had trouble breathing and that wasn’t just from us hiking uphill.
I don’t think I ever felt this awful before. I had bad anxiety attacks before, but this built-up was not only a big-time panic attack, it was a built-up for a huge breakdown. It wouldn’t have taken much more and I would have lost it. I absolutely hated everything about that situation. I like to stay in control of my emotions as much as I can, but I was getting to a terrible breaking point and I don’t know how I would have been able to handle that. I knew I couldn’t do this without losing my mind. I told my husband and friend that I just couldn’t do this, but that they could go on. I didn’t want them to miss out on something just because I couldn’t finish this.
As soon as I was on my walk back to the car, I felt so much better. I felt happy that I had spoken up, I felt relieved that I didn’t push myself any further and didn’t end up with a nervous breakdown. I was also grateful that I didn’t ruin the day for the other two. I actually felt like, for the first time, I succeeded on dealing with these kind of situations and not ended up unhappy, angry, and everyone frustrated with me.
Why am I sharing this? Do I want everyone to feel sorry for me? No, absolutely not! I just want people to understand how hard it is for those who struggle with mental illness, and what they go through on the inside. You can’t see their struggles on the outside, but the inner battle oftentimes is huge.
Yes my mental illness is a trial, and not something I enjoy, but at the same time I know I have this for a reason. It helps me appreciate the good times. It helps me focus on the positive and uplifting things (at least on good days), and ignore the bad more and more. It helps me to keep my faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ strong because I know if anyone knows how bad I am feeling, and how hard this is, it will be them. But most importantly it helps me understand others who struggle with mental illness, and encourages me to continue to work on being more compassionate and helpful to them, as well as speaking out about it. Life is still beautiful even if some days are a real struggle. None of our trials are wasted because we grow from them and learn. Heavenly Father loves me and that knowledge helps me through the days when I feel so sad, lonely, unloved, untalented and ugly that I just want to hide in a hole. He is by our side, as long as we want Him there and ask Him to help us through these tough times. Once we made it through another tough day, wonderful blessings are there to await us.