I’ve been fighting with myself lately. An internal battle for the stronger, the better, the good. I thought I was winning, but apparently I’m not.
I’ve been struggling with severe anxiety and depression.
I thought this was past me – an over the hill and “down yonder” type deal. Especially seeing as I thought that the hardest part of my life was behind me – that at the age of twenty-five a marriage and a divorce was a lot for one to live and experience.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
A friend of mine, Erin, posted this image on her wall a few days ago and it really spoke to me. I went to the doctor early in February because I thought that I was sick. I was having trouble concentrating on things – reading was nearly impossible, and the screen would sometimes just fuzz up. My migraines were terrifying and severe, and insomnia was becoming more due to my body than it was due to the troll who lives above me. Provided, that is, that he doesn’t help the situation – but I woke up in the middle of the night with a panic attack. I was feeling dizzy, nauseated, scared, frustrated – I’d start shaking randomly and I would drink water and coffee insistently. I knew something was wrong, and being that I work in oncology, my fears were accentuated, which didn’t help either.
So I went into my doctor’s office and she asked me a bunch of questions. I told her about the stomach pains, the shortness of breath, and she kept plodding through questions. When she finally asked me, “do you randomly cry?” And I was about to say no, but then I realized — that in the past week, after I hung up the phone with my mom or my grandpa on my drives home, I would cry.
She looked at me and said, “Samantha, you meet the clinical guidelines for severe anxiety and depression.” Which ultimately depressed me more. It made me feel weak. It made me feel awful. And worse – she wanted to start me on medication to help me – which is something I refused a year ago when I started seeing a therapist. To me, the medication meant that I was insane. That I was crazy – broken.
She promised me it would help, though, and that it wasn’t something that I would be on for life – just for a little while and only to help me get myself back on track. It put me in a funk, but I decided that I could either live under my rock that I was slowly crawling back under, or I could try this out. See if it helps.
It’s helping – I’m back to myself, a bit. Writing is much easier, and the thoughts aren’t as clouded or as deranged. I wrote some really screwed up stuff that I couldn’t fathom sharing. A lot of it didn’t even make sense. I’m behind in my Spanish studies because I had no energy to learn it in the beginning of this semester. I was getting frustrated super easy, and I just gave in.
I’ve been a lot better until today.
My ex-husband sent me a text message and said that we either can up the mortgage payment on our house or we can pay more money in a lump sum to our escrow account. Apparently this is something we’ve done every year, but I never knew about it, but it’s something I have to pay attention to now. The only problem is, this little hiccup puts a very large dent in my mental status about the adventures I have coming my way. The text was enough to make my anxiety level fly through the roof.
I started shaking.
I started not being able to breathe.
The screen started going blank and fuzzy.
My head started to pound.
….So I went for a walk.
I started feeling weak, and started feeling stupid and dumb. I started questioning everything about me – my life, my directions, my decisions that I’ve made but the time hasn’t come to follow through with those decisions. I started my breathing exercises and counting backwards from 10.
And then I remembered Erin’s post.
“It’s a sign that I’ve remained strong for too long,” I said out loud.
I’m strong, because I make big decisions every day of my life. I’m strong because I don’t run from them and I get scared, anxious, nervous and afraid because I’m responsible for my decisions and I take the consequences that come from them. I am strong. I am not weak. This is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign that I have a lot of shit on my plate, and that I have a lot of decisions to make.
Low and short of it all – I needed to get this out. It’s been holding me back from writing, because lately, I’ve been very … anxious.