Depression and anxiety have spanked me this year. I have always dealt with my anxiety. What that really means for me is, its just manifested in “non-traditional” ways, like being short with people, having very narrow focus, retaining ridiculous amounts of stress, avoiding a wide variety of situations, and being extraordinarily moody for no apparent reason. Basically, I’ve just lived with it and not acknowledged it. You know, very positively!
Now my struggle with it is far more visceral. I can’t sit still. I can’t move either. Sometimes I can’t catch my breath. Thoughts race – even the most ridiculous things seem true, imminent. Thoughts feel thick, like wading through a tub of coconut oil. There’s too many thoughts, but I can’t escape them. I feel like I’m on the brink of complete collapse sometimes. When I can gather enough clarity, I take a few pumps of oil and I can start feeling freer in 15 minutes or so. Its as though I line everything up, like little toy soldiers on a wall and I can start flicking them off the wall, one by one, every wild, racing, over-the-top thought and fear.
Since I was in high school, depression has floated in and out of my life. When I sought treatment the first time, someone close to me said “I just can’t understand what you could possibly have to be sad about.” And that’s when I stopped constructively dealing with depression. Sometimes I’ve anticipated the lows, and other times, I have been blindsided. I’ve picked up, carried on, and dealt with it. Its what we expect people to do! Quietly, privately, and with as little emotion as possible. No mess, no fussing, no drama. That’s what I thought I was accomplishing after Matt abruptly passed. I was dealing like a champ. I was pushing forward, growing, kicking ass. In reality, I was definitely surviving, if not even thriving, but I was completely failing to heal the hurt.
I have trust issues. There. I said it. I find myself not trusting people about the DUMBEST stuff. There are a million reasons running through my head why anyone isn’t doing what they claimed. It isn’t even based in reality! I was trained, systematically, over a long relationship, that I wasn’t worthy of the truth. I wasn’t worthy of being included. I wasn’t important enough to anyone. I wasn’t worthy of my own husband telling me what he’s actually doing. Its a daily struggle of insecurity. Who is excluding me from stuff? Why didn’t I get invited to something?
The more I have been sorting out, the more I realize. And the more I wonder. I wonder why I gave so much trust to someone who repeatedly broke it. I wonder why I believed someone who routinely fed me stories. I wonder why I wasn’t valuable enough to get the truth. But I also realize that this wasn’t my shortcoming. I did what I was supposed to do. I trusted the person who was supposed to take care of me and my son.
I’ve been talking with close friends lately about my purpose and what I want from life. One of my greatest aspirations in life is to be a wife and mother – explains a lot about why I was so eager to please someone who would have pushed me off a cliff if it suited him. I’ve felt this since I was young. I feel for me personally (NOT everyone!), there is no greater calling than to have a fulfilling relationship and raise good humans. That in turn gives me the framework to then achieve professionally and otherwise. And don’t worry, I don’t think my value rests solely with a marriage. Its just something I find extremely valuable personally, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
What I want to bring to you, dear friend, is the awareness about yourself. If you’re struggling similarly to myself, the first step is getting help. Get perspective. I don’t mean from your goofy friend with all the opinions. There are some easy things (from an implementation standpoint, anyway) that you can do that will help you get on the right path.
- A therapist is a great neutral sounding board. It might take a few tries to find someone that you’re comfortable with. That friend with all the opinions might be eager to listen, but they might not always have time to carefully consider your concerns – after all, they aren’t paid to listen to you. They might also have ulterior motives. God forbid they do not have your best interests at heart or don’t care who they share your personal business with. It will only compound the problem to know that someone is speaking about your issues with others. Find someone who is truly neutral.
- If consistently visiting a therapist is out of your budget (I know it can get expensive!) look into some self help books and/or workbooks. You don’t even need to pick something deeply self-exploratory. Start with something that doesn’t feel too inflammatory and work your way up (just don’t let yourself off the hook before you get there).
- Start journaling. Good old fashioned pen and paper, not on your phone or computer. Take 10 minutes each day. If you’re really committed, spend 10 minutes when you first wake up, writing about things you’re grateful for, and 10 minutes before you go to bed, brain dumping, so you can go to sleep with a blank slate. Ten minutes is just a guideline – it gives you a set window of time to commit to the process.
- Really want to go all in? Start doing guided meditation. Use YouTube videos like this one to help you.
- Figure out if you would like or if you feel you need medication. I weighed the options medications to help with anxiety and depression and I couldn’t balance the weight of not being lucid against the potential benefits. Of course, I’m a huge advocate for hemp oil because of its lack of negative side effects and overall health benefits. The hemp and cannabis plants are extraordinary in their benefits to humans and even pets; get good stuff in your body, however you choose to consume it. There are tons of things to look at when you’re looking for a brand of oil (I’ll explore it in another post), but you can get the best here.
Accepting that you’re going to have good days, you’re going to have bad days, and its all just part of life, is the first huge step to working through things. Explore your reactions to things and situations. Analyze why you’re reacting to things a certain way.
~The only thing we control in this world is how we react to things~
Read that until you understand it. You can’t control what anyone else does; you can only control your reaction to the situation. Stop letting other people’s stupidity send you over the edge. Stop letting someone else’s inconsistency, arrogance, ignorance, selfishness, lies, jealously, etc etc control how you feel!
This is all just the tip of the iceberg, but its a great start. Much love & light to you today!
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