The one I've been afraid to write11/13/2012 at 5:31 pm | Posted in me | 10 Comments
Tags: anxiety, depression
Because it’s about depression. And reading about depression is just not fun.
This blog is called pretty swell for a reason: because I want to focus on the good stuff.
But it’s time to get real(er) up in here. And maybe if there’s someone out there struggling with depression or anxiety, scouring the web looking for a sliver of comfort from a total stranger, this post will help. Just one person. You never know.
The first thing I need you to know is I AM FINE.
I always hesitate to write about my mental health because friends and family make up about 125 percent of my readership. I promise (especially to you, Mom and Dad) that when I am in a bad place, I get the help I need. I learned that lesson after Lily was born, and I’ve never let it go.
It’s hard to describe what’s been happening inside my head. Whether it’s the onset of fall, the stress of raising two kids under the age of five, or post-post-partum anxiety, maybe? Does that exist?
This darkness just keeps creeping on in.
Looking in from the outside, my life is pretty darn perfect. We have our health, jobs we love, a full pantry, family and friends who love us. Sure, it’s stressful, but not anywhere near the burden so many other people have to bear every single day. (This constantly makes me feel guilty for praying, by the way, for asking for help when so many others are in such dire need. More on that later.)
But the anxiety creeps in and fills up all the cracks that I wish were flooded with light instead.
I’m afraid of any number of terrible things happening to my kids. I worry that I’m failing them with every harsh or shouted word. Sleep is elusive. Deadlines crush me. And most days, even in truly happy times, my chest feels sort of tight.
But, in some ways, this is just me. I’ve been high-strung as long as I can remember. I’m just old enough now to know that I can do something about it, and feeling that way doesn’t have to be the norm.
So I met with my doctor and switched up my medication. And after a few weeks of silly crying (the kind where you know you shouldn’t be crying but can’t stop) from the chemistry change, I’m starting to see glimmers of the other side. I’m also practicing meditative breathing and trying to exercise more often. And hugging my kids is the best therapy of all. I seriously squeeze on them all day long.
And I feel better. I do.
It’s not sudden change. It’s slow and sort of surprising. Just last weekend in the mountains, I kept having these moments that knocked me over the head: I realized I was truly happy. I really felt it. And it was incredible.
So I continue to climb out of the pit, getting a little bit braver as I go. My anxiety can be paralyzing — like when I’m standing in the middle of my dirty kitchen trying to decide which pile of chores to tackle first — but I feel like I have more space in my brain to deal with it now.
Everything is starting to feel a little lighter. A little less big.
And I know I’m coming out on the other side because I’ve been here before. I can feel myself smiling. I hear myself laughing. And I’m relieved.
I just wish someone could promise me that it would stick. It’s tough trying to keep my eyes forward when I know how likely it is for me to slip back into the hole.
But I keep on.
Because I want more than anything to find peace. To feel like me.