Anxiety is when you care too much about everything.
Depression is when you don’t really care about anything.
Having both, is just complete torturous hell.
A while ago I spoke about my battle with anxiety and depression, since then things took on a more drastic turn.
In mid to late 2017, around September or October, my anxiety returned full throttle. And no matter what herbal medication I took, no matter the breathing exercises, yoga, meditation I did – none of them was now helping me.
I was stuck in a constant repeated cycle of tornado like, silenced thoughts and feelings that were overwhelming and drowning me, severely and intensely.
Every morning I would wake up with a horrible sense of dread. I didn’t want to go to work, I didn’t want to get out of bed – basically, I just didn’t want to face the day. It was so paralyzing.
Just getting out of bed was completely terrifying for me. Knowing that there was too much to overcome (get dressed, wash my face, apply skincare, brush teeth etc etc), too many people to talk to, and those were the thoughts in my head before I even got out of bed, before the day had even started!!
I had already decided it was just way too exhausting. I was stressing myself out but really, for no real reason at all. But as per usual, I would put on my mask to my husband, to my mother, to my work colleagues day in/day out …but over time, it all started to get harder concentrating or even remembering the most-simplest of things.
My husband was starting to get frustrated more with me as I was now constantly asking the same thing over & over again, and then forgetting what I was meant to have done or cooked.
At my office job, my work was beginning to suffer badly. The reports I was writing were making no sense (it would take the longest time in just trying to write one paragraph – I would seriously get into moments of panic), and the emails I sent to clients, had so many spelling mistakes and were incoherent.
Whenever someone gave me constructive criticism, regardless that I smiled and nodded my head in agreeance with their suggestions, I actually could only hear my inner negative voice, calling me stupid and pathetic.
I was able to block out everyone else’s words, and all I could (would) hear in my brain, how it (mis)interpreted the other person’s words – my inner critic, self-loathing voice started to speak louder, and louder… and that was all I could hear.
Soon enough I started to hyperventilate at work, break-down crying and started saying to myself how I was failing as a person, as a wife, a furbaby mama, as a co-worker:
“OMG, how pathetic and stupid am I? Could I be anymore stupider?!! I’m letting everyone down. I’m failing. I am failing at everything.”
By a miracle of a chance, those times that I broke down at work, only one colleague of mine would be there and not the other six co-workers I work with. I just never wanted to let my co-workers and manager, my husband, my mother & friends down. The thought alone was enough to completely stress me out, and bring me down.
One day as I was driving to work that morning, I had to pull over as my vision became blurry and I felt like my heart was about to explode out of my chest and from there I proceeded to severely hyperventilate. It was so overwhelming that it was scaring me.
I knew right there and then, I desperately needed professional help.
As soon as I calmed down, I texted my boss and let him know what had happened, and I was on my way to see my doctor. I let my husband and mother know what had had just happened too.
The doctor diagnosed me as having severe anxiety and suffering from mild depression, and social anxiety disorder. He put me on sertraline medication and started me off on 50mg but after two months, it was upped to 200mg.
“Sertraline is a medicine used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It belongs to a group of medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is believed that SSRIs work by increasing the activity of certain chemicals working in our brains called neurotransmitters. They pass signals from one brain cell to another. Although we don’t know for certain, the neurotransmitters that are most likely to be involved in depression and some other conditions are thought to be serotonin and noradrenaline.”
Suffering from anxiety is like being constantly afraid of something. What nobody really knows is that your mind makes you believe that there is something to always worry about, think about things more than you really humanly should and just dissect it over & over & over… dwell on the smallest and most silliest of things.
You are constantly fighting a never-ending battle within yourself, that not only are you mentally exhausted, but the physical effects can be so incredibly crippling such as insomnia, panic attacks, loss of appetite and breathing difficulties.
You are constantly tired, unenthusiastic and basically, sad. Nothing really brings or gives you joy, and you become quite isolated and withdrawn, and retreat into your own protective little world. It has given to me a complete & utter sense of isolation and loneliness.
Its debilitation can be all-consuming, and it shuts down my mechanical mental circuit board. I have felt worthless like I have nothing to offer to anyone (and more importantly even to myself), that I am failure, a fraud. Not loveable or even likeable.
Even though the medication has helped me considerably with reducing the overwhelming New York like traffic of thoughts inside my head & being able to live a normal life again, waking up with a spring in my step every morning…. I do on the very odd occasions still get quite anxious, and even more so if I have to go to social events. I start to panic. The medication doesn’t take it away completely; it just reduces the severity of it.
If you find that the anxiety (or depression) is starting to get worse again for you after a few months, after you have been prescribed medication from your doctor or therapist – return back to them, explain it and most likely they will change your medication to something else as that original medication may not working for you anymore. And if that is the case, its OK. I have had to do that recently myself.
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, think of this experience as like you are walking through a thick and dark forest. You entered into it without realizing you were entering into it at all (almost like you had a blind fold on), and now you’re struggling to find your way back out because your mind has now taken you off the path, and now your scrambling through branches, tripping over rocks and stones… sometimes it feels like there truly is no path back out of the forest. But there is: if there is a way in, there is always a way out.
WHAT I'M WEARING
Newsboy Hat bought from eBay -$3.95, Black Tank Top bought from K-Mart Australia – $4.00, Rose Gold Hoop Earrings bought from PrettyLittleThing – $8.00, Khaki Camo Print Midi-Skirt bought from PrettyLittleThing – $22.00, and Shine On Bum Bag in Bronze Sequin bought from Showpo – $29.95
But I promise you that there is a path. Try and envision it. Just try. Maybe some days you see yourself scrambling blindly, freaking out, over thinking more than usual, dissecting every word someone says to you because you believe that there is four layers of different meanings… but on other some-days you might hear the birds in the trees, sing.
Just look up at the sky, and you will see a big patch of blue sky right above you. It’s beautiful. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in.
Be as patient with yourself as you can be. Remember this: the more frustrated you become about your anxiety and whatever your triggers may be, the more power you are going to give to them. Don’t. Just try not to.
Be gentle with yourself. Be sympathetic and caring to yourself. You will find peace and calmness. It’s not all going to happen all in one day. By the way, peace is like a truce… it’s an agreement. It’s a commitment. You and your anxiety have to work together. I know I am with mine.
Photography Location: Amadora, Lisbon – Portugal 🇵🇹
Anxiety is a condition that really cannot be cured but it can be managed, and everyone experiences anxiety or depression all differently and every remedy is completely different for each other.
Just try to remember, that we all handle our ups & lows, our stresses completely different to each other. The first is acknowledging and then finding a solution. It will take time but things will get better, and you may hit a little curves, and speed bumps along the way, but that’s OK. There will at times, be stops and starts – just as long as you don’t give up.
And don’t hesitate to seek some professional help like I have or even reaching out to trusted family member, friend or even a work colleague (as long as you feel comfortable, and trust that person).
Reaching out is so incredibly important. By knowing & acknowledging that you know that you can’t do it on your own anymore, is a massive step in the right direction for healing.
Don’t you ever feel ashamed or embarrassed for experiencing anxiety, depression or any other type of mental health – so many are suffering, and hiding their pain. The more of us that speak out, the more people will come out and know that they are not alone. Be proud.
And again, just remember to be gentle with yourself, please.