Monday, May 25, 2015
Real Life: "Down Episodes" of Depression.
I've written about my ten year journey with Clinical Depression on this blog many times. It's been a long time since I've talked about it. This was not purposeful, but simply that this "issue" that I possess does not overtake my life 90% of the time. I try everything in my power to not let this illness define who I am. It simply is a trial that I have been handed, that I have learned, unfortunately, will not go away; this is something that the Lord has handed to me to remind me of my strength.
I have been diagnosed since I was 14. This does not mean I am unstable human being. I am a very happy, successful, stable person. It simply means that I have episodes of deep downs and I have to try everything in my power, with the skills that I have learned, to learn to get out of the "funk", if you will/.
But this is where the difficult part is. I have friends and acquaintances texting, Facebook messaging, and talking to me about this often. People know that this issue is something that I am very open with because it was others' experiences that essentially helped me heal. And here's what I try to tell every single one of them: Every bout of depression will eventually fade if you find things that work for you. And with every bout of depression, I am constantly learning what works for me and you will need to do the same. And here I am, after years, I am still learning about my Depression and all that encompasses it. You would think after ten years of dealing with this, it would get easier, but I assure all of you, it does not. So, this is my life. I am a happy, incredibly lucky person, but my real life involves me dealing with a lot of messy emotions.
Every "down episode" (that's what I will call it for now) feels so different. Sometimes it has to do with your life, sometimes it has nothing to do with your life. Sometimes there is a trial that triggers it, and sometimes it just appears. Every single time I have a Down Episode, it can feel so different. Sometimes, I am angry. Sometimes I feel more helpless. Sometimes I feel more sad.
I have been in a Down Episode for a few weeks. And I have wished, I have pleaded out loud, in anger and frustration, in excessive humility and brokenness, to feel inner peace. And I can't seem to get it. I swear that I have read every single book, listened to every podcast, talked to multiple therapists, talked to close friends and family who know me, prayed/read my scriptures, tried every religious encounter, and my own personal things to help in the past. I have done it all. And let me assure you, sometimes those things don't help. Unfortunately, that's how it works sometimes. You can do everything possible to "feel better" and nothing seems to work. When you are at that crossroads, it's exhausting. It makes you want to throw in the towel and not try anything.
For those of you who want to know what a "down episode" is like…here is an example of everything that I have felt over the past few days:
-Excessive Anger. Towards the Lord, towards my husband, towards old friends who have seemed to hurt me, toward myself.
-Extreme Sadness. The kind of sadness where it feels like a dagger is slowly pushing through your heart. Ever been broken-hearted or gone through an ugly break up? It is EXACTLY that feeling, but with no "heartbreak" to blame it on.
-Anxiety: Anxiety attacks, heart racing, heartburns.
-Self Deprecation: belittling myself and thinking horrible things about myself. "I am overweight so I am clearly not good enough, I must be a huge screw up in my life." "I can't do anything, so I don't deserved to be loved by friends and family." "I am not social enough so friends don't reach out to me anymore and want to be my friend." (all legitimate things I have said to myself).
-Exhaustion: Sleep is the only thing that I can mentally do.
-Spontaneity: I want to not think and just do things. I want to go on an adventure, do something random, etc.
-Physical ailments: I've been so down that I got sick. This happens more than you think. Someone who fights so hard often just shuts down and their bodies can't take it.
Everyone's Down Episodes are different, others feel only a few of those, or perhaps even their own unique feelings. But, essentially, that's a simple breakdown.
Sounds ridiculous, huh? Believe me, I know. And even though, logically, I know that my life is wonderful and that I have wonderful aspects about myself, this is what happens.
And it's horrible.
It's absolutely horrible.
It's horrible to sit here, typing this, in sheer agony, and feel your heart breaking in half, and you're not entirely sure why. To feel so much pain, but you're not entirely sure how to put it into words because you know that how you feel is just ridiculous and people will truly not understand.
And even though I want The Big Guy Upstairs to reach down and just physically hug me and tell me that this will be over and that I won't feel this again and take all of my pain away, I know that it won't happen. Because I have been through this agony. I have fought through this pain MANY times in my life. And as alone and lonely, I feel, I know that I will get through. I am a fighter. I am more than this. And this will return. I will fight this illness forever. And others may not understand it, and others may judge you for it, everything will be okay.
So for those of you who are fighting this with me at this moment, because I know there are so many of you who are, I want to leave with you my mantra I have written down. And even though I don't necessarily believe it at this moment, if I keep faking it until I make it, I know I will come out on top. And you will too.
You are enough. You are a beautiful, talented, loving, fun, funny, successful woman who has many gifts you still have left to share with the world. You have many people who love you and want you to be happy. You are enough.
That, my readers, is all I have for you tonight.
And for now, I sleep.
What is your mantra?
What do you do when you want to heal?