Here’s something fun.
So today I was with my therapist and we had sat down and talked, than I went to group. Not your every day group though, it’s my therapist’s group so her clients can meet other people with problems and have a chance to share and grow. She thought I would benefit from it. What’s funny is I am the only person who suffers from on and off severe Depression and Severe Generalized Anxiety in the group. The rest of the people have different disorders. What caught my attention though was a young women, I think she was three years younger than I am. When we had a chance to be alone, I had actually had enough of group so sunk into the back with some coffee, she sat down with me and asked me ‘what is it like?’. It was a good question and I could see the worry in her eyes when she asked, she was afraid she would upset or offend me. I didn’t mind though. I simply answered her question.
I started to explain it to her. I explained to her my point of view as a ‘sober’ person was different when I was ‘drunk’ on anxiety or depression. Particularly depression, and that was what I first explained to her. I have episodes of depression, some lasting just a short few hours and others lasting months. My view becomes completely different from that of when I was ‘sane’ and everything becomes very dark and frightening. For me the first thing I notice is my mood drop and it drops very dramatically to the point where what I used to find pleasurable I can no longer enjoy. I become void of enjoyment in life. Which can be devastating especially when you hold people close to you. I told her that was one of my biggest struggles; looking at someone I loved and not being able to find that love. Not being able to find that enjoyment in the adorable little things they do. Not being able to melt into their touch or embrace. Something that had been so normal for me a week ago just stripped from me very quickly and that is when the fear comes in. When will I feel again?
That’s when the thoughts typically hit me. When I start feeling worthless, guilty, helpless and I begin to hate myself because I just can’t feel what I want so I can express what I need to express. It becomes aggravating and unwanted feelings of deep sadness settle in because you’re trying so hard to hold yourself together and you just can’t. I told her that was where I struggled a lot in life when I was depressed because I couldn’t be there for the person I loved and cared about, instead I was so deeply sad that even just looking at them I could just burst into tears for the silliest things. It makes me feel like leaving is always the best option because it’s so hard watching everyone breath so freely when I am standing here suffocating under my depression. It’s frightening.
I pretty much withdraw from social situations, I hide.
Than I spend all my spare time alone thinking about every little possibility that could go wrong. I just worry, but it’s easier to worry behind closed doors than it is to someone’s face. I told her I am tired, I often feel fatigued or I get heavy headaches for a day or two. That I get digestive problems and I stop wanting to eat and often just stop eating in general. My body aches and pains become more intense than usual. So I stop having motivation to do things and not because I feel too sad to do it, but because I hurt. I’m too exhausted to get out of bed my body feels too heavy and even the thought of going out or doing anything brings deep dread for myself.
There was no way out of the feeling or that was how it felt. I was told by many therapists to just stay busy and focus on what makes you happy or what used to make you happy. Which was hard because what made me happy was company from others. I told her it was particularly hard right now because my most trusted company, my bestfriend, just up and left me. It threw me down hard mentally and left me feeling beaten half to death. That I was left with my mental turmoil between myself and my ex, though not true turmoil. I say turmoil because I feel greatly confused and conflicted because deep down inside me a small piece of me is screaming, ‘go to him, please’ because he had always been such a secure place for me. On the surface though I am too scared. Too worried about everything he could be doing that might hurt me, too conflicted by my loving feelings for him and my need to keep my heart safe and too depressed and anxious to do anything about it. So simply I told her, ‘my depression keeps me from loving those I wish to love and it keeps me from allowing those who want to love me from loving me. I always wander away when things get too much hoping somebody will just turn around tell me how much they love and need me, always hoping i’ll hear something. Instead I seem to receive the absence of somebody who was once a close person in my life and a broken-heart that still yearns for the comfort of somebody warm and safe. I choose to torture myself I guess knowing that nobody is going to tell me I can’t go because they need me. I guess my depression always shows me how terrible everything is so that’s all I see. How terrible things are, how hard they are. So I hurt.’
I told her I spent a lot of the time I was depressed in my life by myself with very little support from the people around me because nobody would just step up and say ‘you need me, so I can’t go anywhere’. So often by the time I was no longer depressed I wouldn’t have anybody left because everyone would be gone by the time I was ready to start functioning like a normal person. I would return to nothing and would have to start all over again and I believe a a child that was the reason I began to make less and less friends because I knew as soon as I was depressed they would just disappear. Straight to the point where I honestly normally only have one or two active friendships with people I spend time with. For me it just ended up being easier keeping most people away, than I didn’t disappoint myself so much when I just couldn’t be that happy cheerful person people wanted.
What made living the most difficult was having anxiety, generalized anxiety to be exact. For me it wasn’t social, it was everything. Just going outside my house when it’s a little bit dark makes me feel like i am going to get murdered by some serial killer. A totally irrational thought for myself but something my brain thinks is totally a rational thought. I am a person who is constantly tense and relaxing is extremely difficult and due to being so up I am normally very easy to startle. Even just a light touch on the back or side when I am not expecting it can make me jump or get tense and uncomfortable. What I hate about the anxiety the most is how it makes me feel. I get fatigued with headaches, my muscles get tense and achy, I struggle to swallow properly, i start twitching or trembling, I feel irritable, I sweat and begin to feel nauseous and I get lightheaded with hot flashes.
What makes it worse is the panic attacks, anxiety I can typically handle, but the panic attacks can be brutal. It feels like everything is sinking in and I begin to get claustrophobic and very hot to the point I just want to take my clothes off because I feel like I am burning. My body would get numb and I would breath very heavy and dramatically sometimes. I would often get chest pains and felt like somebody was choking me, I felt like I was dying and it was frightening. I normally only have my attacks in the evening/during the night sadly when everyone is asleep and I have to deal with them on my own. I told her it was hard to sit by yourself crying and scared feeling like the world is going to collapse onto you if you move. Feeling like something is eating you alive and you just can’t get away from it.
I told her having anxiety was not a walk in the park. It made it hard for me to make friends because I was typically nervous and shy around other people and when I felt like I was getting close to someone I often went quiet. With women it wasn’t as bad, but due to having gone through so much trauma with men in particular I told her I found bonding with men to be far more difficult. I told her when my recent bond, the one with my ex was a difficult struggle. I was conflicted and worried because I had only every loved one person so of course I worried. So I told her my worries:
“I was worried he wouldn’t love me back. I was worried I wouldn’t say it right. I was worried I would look at him wrong in the moment and it would be ruined. I was worried I would say it wrong or say something stupid and ruin it. I was worried that the closer I got the more likely I would lose him because closeness has always meant losing someone to me. When he told me he loved me though the worries changed. I was worried he would fall out of love with me. I was worried he would meet someone else who strikes his fancy and leave me. I was worried the more time he spent with me the less he would enjoy me. I was worried I was a mistake.”
That was simply how I worked, I worried and I worried excessively and often I never really tell people how I feel. I just worry. When in reality I should because deep down I known I want and need to hear how important I am, how much I am needed and how hard it is on me because I try so hard to give and give and give till I am just broken. I told her it hurt to be this way, it hurt because it always feels like nobody cares about you because your brain makes you feel like nobody cares. Than she put her hand on my knee and she told me, “you have people here who care.” And I honestly think that warmed my heart just the slightest. I have dwelled so much on being uncared for over the past week that I forgot that there probably was at least one person who cared.