For as long as I can remember I’ve had anxiety almost constantly. Regardless of the situation. Then when stressful situations did come up it would create a full on panic attack. I remember anxiety induced chest pain most of my life… as in I got so used to it I assumed it was normal. When I was in first grade I had a spelling test to study for, rather than studying the week of, I was in a hyperventilating crying fit (every night) because I knew I would fail. Anxiety… since 7.
When I was in middle school, my teachers got me into the gifted program. WTF? Seriously? I would go to the gifted classroom with the actual smart people and not be able to play any of their smart people games.
Answer: I don’t fucking know! I literally just had 3 full blown panic attacks trying to find this damn riddle example. Can we just color?
Side note: Adult coloring books? Yes Please!
I would be sitting their sweating, knowing the truth. I’m just here because my teachers feel sorry for me. Everyone knows it! Is this some sort of big joke on me? So much discomfort. But that is what middle school and high school is about. Awkward. Uncomfortable. A Phase. A shit storm of emotions on a daily basis. Something I can’t seem to grow out of.
In high school, I dove into music. I had a talent. I could sing. My boyfriend taught me to play the guitar and I was hooked. This was my thing. This is what I could be good at. I could sit for hours playing my guitar, writing songs, and singing. But I would sabotage myself. I would practice songs I wasn’t performing so when I would get to my performances, I would freeze up. I didn’t want to practice for days on something I was probably going to mess up anyway. It was the same story as my studying. Don’t do it or you will prove to yourself and everyone that you are an idiot. If I study and fail that means I really am a failure. If I practice hard and still mess up, I was never good to begin with. Save yourself the shame and just go for mediocre. This is what I told myself all the time. It was a hate hate relationship between my heart and my mind. I’m a good person right? I have no clue. I couldn’t get past the bitter self-hate.
I cannot believe I even went to college. I didn’t JUST go to college. I went to 4 colleges because I would transfer thinking the next college would be better, less stressful. I was just taking the wrong classes. I was just in the wrong program. I was just… excuses excuses excuses blah blah blah. I kept jumping back and forth between arts degrees…. Which one is going to make me SUCCESSFUL. That’s another post all together. Those will be titled ‘What is success’ and ‘College is a waste of time’.
I always get myself in uncomfortable situations and then run for the hills only to find more uncomfortable situations. I finally just realized my life was a series of uncomfortable situations. So I might as well get used to it.
Not only did I go to (4) College, but after completing my degree and working in my field of study for 3 years I changed career fields… again and got my real estate license. Because taking another test and learning something COMPLETELY different seemed like a good idea. Idiot. (I really need to work on my negative self-talk). I spent 6 years in CONSTANT anxiety in this career field. Every client was a potential for me to disappoint. I had my client to disappoint, the other agent, my managing broker… My disappointment list just got bigger. It’s like I was trying to shake my anxiety with as much anxiety as possible. FIGHT ANXIETY WITH ANXIETY! Take that. Ok, look, it didn’t work. I came out of that experience with a few less brain cells… and a permanent eye twitch.
The best plan of action at this point was to get pregnant and become a stay at home mom. That would solve all of my problems. So you won’t be surprised when I tell you I am currently coming on 9 years of infertility.
I wasn’t just dealing with anxiety though. It was bigger than anxiety.
I recall in 2007, before infertility, before real estate, I was driving to work and thought how much easier life would be if I just drove off the bridge. Not metaphorically speaking, but I actually wanted to drive off a bridge. I didn’t want to hurt anyone else, just myself. And I didn’t want to die, I just wanted to be in the hospital for a month or so. (At least a month) It’s so vivid because I contemplated this every day going into work for months, probably years. I figured if I could just get a month with nothing to worry about except my own health then I would feel better. I started taking sleeping pills to deal with my depression. At least I slept good at night, right?
I didn’t feel bad enough that I wanted to check myself into a psych department… or at least I didn’t think I felt bad enough. I didn’t deserve a weekend retreat at a yoga camp or meditation camp. Plus that cost way too much. I figured insurance would pay for a car accident. Besides not being crazy enough for the psych department, who knows if insurance would cover it and I wasn’t interested in finding out. Yes.. a car accident seemed like the most logical best thing I could do. Plus it would be an ‘accident’ and not my fault at all.
So what did I have going on in my life that made me feel so hopeless? Nothing. I had a good job and a great husband. I was going to school part time as well. I suppose that was a large stressor. Ultimately, I felt like people could see right through my shallow soul. They would soon find out I was a fraud. I felt like I was awful at my job (even though my bosses and co-workers praised me often). I felt like I wasn’t smart. Why bother going to school? I’m never going to be able to hold down a career. I’m not nearly as smart as the other students in my classes. My mind was constantly filled with negative self thought.
Anytime someone would point out a small error or remind me of something I forgot I would come down on myself hard. How could I ever hold any job down if I can’t accept even the slightest criticisms or reminders. Granted I was (STILL AM) a procrastinator so I never made it easy on myself. My husband would try to help me through all of it, but how do you logic with the illogical? Much of this negative thought came home with me as well. My husband was afraid to talk to me. I often overreacted. And then he overreacted at my reactions. Cycle of pain.
So was I depressed or anxious? What is the difference?
feelings of severe despondency and dejection.
a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Its hard to say. I experienced both anxiety and depression. So lets call that Depriety or how about Anxession. Yes. That is exactly what I have.
In 2010, after 2 years of infertility, I decided to beat my depriety with exercise. I would tell my body and brain who is finally boss. I own you! You don’t get to decide my fate! I trained for a half Ironman. 70.3 miles, 7 hours and 45 min of screaming at my body.
I HATE YOU! YOU ARE AN IDIOT! YOU HAVE NO PURPOSE IN THIS LIFE!
The wind and my muscles screaming right back at me, but I did it. I finished the race and my body lovingly rewarded me with MONO. Yes. I got mono. I also was diagnosed with anemia and low vitamin D. My body was done. My body told my mind that it was done. I will shut you down until you get your shit together. I got home from that race, booked an appointment with a therapist and my PCP and got on anti-depressants immediately. Within a month my body finally relaxed. My mind finally relaxed. I could breathe.
This is the story of my personal crazy. What goes on in my head. I could keep writing and I will. But today, this is where I will stop. I write to educate you. I write to help you. I don’t write for sympathy. I’m figuring this out. I want you to know that you can live WITH (not against) this bullshit called mental illness.
Of the worlds population, 5% of us suffer from depression. That is 350 Million people. In the united states that number is 6.7% – or 15 million people over the age of 18 suffer from depression. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. (Source: National Institute of Mental Health)
YOU are not alone in this. Depression and anxiety doesn’t have to make you weak. Choose to treat your disease. Do not try to fight this on your own. Call a doctor, call a friend, call me. Get a therapist. YOU ARE NOT ALONE unless you choose to be.
If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:
- Call 911 or your local emergency number.
- Stay with the person until help arrives.
- Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
- Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
If you think someone is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.