I have two blogs, one shares rueful but funny stories about my darling children. The other has remained largely dormant as I have been largely dormant. But I am still here. I've said it before, but it is helpful to say it out loud as often as possible: I have depression. I have anxiety. I have PTSD.
I wrote my first blogs about feeling disappointment in my life more than a year ago. Back then, I didn't yet call it depression. It wasn't until December 2012 that I recognized it for what it was. It wasn't until January that I had completely succumbed to it. It wasn't until June that I checked into a hospital for intensive treatment and it wasn't until July that I was discharged. Now it is August and here I sit, still trying to sort out who I am, which of my thoughts are attempting to derail my recovery and which thoughts are rooted in truth. Even when I can distinguish them, I struggle to believe.
Depression is an ugly and multi-faceted beast. My depression attacks in several ways, eating away at my self-worth, my purpose, my desire to enjoy things, my ability to remain patient, the number of waking hours I can sustain... Rather, it renders me foggy, angry, and completely exhausted at nearly all times. In fact, the only time I'm not fighting sleep is in the middle of the night when the nightmares wake me and anxiety kicks in to keep me up.
Anxiety is another animal altogether, albeit related. Anxiety rears at just the thought of stepping through the door to my office, a place I used to love, took pride and felt at home in. It secretes paranoia and I begin worrying that the car following me is doing so for a dark purpose or that I'll leave a building to find my tires slashed. I cower when someone knocks at the door and I jump each time the phone rings. It takes a day of convincing to sort through my mail, much less open it. I get the chills, I sweat, I shake uncontrollably, I have a difficult time hearing what people are trying to say to me. Most recently, I've been throwing up at literally just the thought of doing something that causes anxiety.
And PTSD. While I can't publicly share the details of the specific situations that brought this gem into my life, I can say that I suffer. Combine the flashbacks, nightmares and sleeplessness and you've got true PTSD to go along with the anxiety.
The worst part for me is that, as an intelligent and left-brain dominant individual, I know the actions to take to fix the problems. Unfortunately, the mental illnesses render me incapable of undertaking such actions. I struggle to accept that I am sick, that this is an illness that requires treatment. I was beaten over the head with the concept by my medical team in the hospital because I didn't accept it. And so I spend hours and hours each week fighting an internal battle about what I should be doing and what I'm not doing and how I can justify that but that I know better and should be able to control it and why can't I just do normal things like a normal person...and on, and on. This struggle, this battle of tides causes a whirlpool of thoughts in which I have been drowning. But I am still here.
I write this blog for myself, although I will share it. Sharing it makes the deep dark uglies (as I like to call it) not so scary. I feel better when I'm not pretending. I spent the better part of the last year pretending, and I think very successfully, that I was handling my shit, when really I was slowly slipping away into a very dark place that I can't seem to find my way out of now. I am still here and I am still fighting. Feel free to stick around and watch the freak show.