Dark Clouds Overhead.

It has been raining here on and off for a few weeks. Just consistently enough to make me miss the sunshine. To crave the sunshine.

I am not sure if that is why my moods have been so up and down lately, or if it is just the depression. I hate blaming things on my depression. I feel like that is my only identity now. Logically, I know that I will get a little better every day and that it is normal to have setback days and days where I feel melancholy. But the irrational, depressed part of me is screaming inside. That part of me is just straining to feel normal again. I feel sometimes like I am at the bottom of a pit trying to claw my way back towards the light, only to lose my footing and fall back to the bottom. It is so frustrating.

For the most part, I am trying to just not let myself think about it. I’m like the child with her fingers plugged in her ears yelling “LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU”. That didn’t work as a child and it certainly isn’t practical for an adult. But thinking about it makes it real, and I’m just so tired.

Tired of not feeling normal.

Tired of being tired all the time.

Tired of spoiling plans because my anxiety won’t let me leave the house.

Tired of making excuses.

Tired of lying to people who don’t know whats going on.

I’m just tired.

The dark storm clouds outside my window match the ones that have been hanging over my head lately. I just need some sunlight to come and break them up so that I can get some relief.

I apologize to anyone reading this (Did you make it all the way through without wanting to cry? Because I didn’t). I am having a pity party today, and you are all invited. I never meant for my blog to be a “Depression Blog”. But I guess it is what it is.

Let the good times roll.

Advertisements

Trying to walk the walk. This sucks.

I have started back to classes last week after taking last semester off to work on my mental health and generally just get my shit together. And for the most part, I am much better than I was at the beginning of the Spring semester that I dropped out of (I cringe just typing that, it sounds like such a failure to me still). I am still having moments of struggle though. And this is frustrating to me. Maybe I am being to hard on myself, as my mother likes to point out to me. Even so, I set high standards for myself and I just don’t feel like I am living up to them.

Now, I know that I am still suffering from the disease of depression, and that there isn’t a magic switch that just shuts it off (medicine). But I was still hoping that once I started to feel better, that it would last longer. That I wouldn’t have a panic attack trying to pack my backpack for the day just because I couldn’t find the right notebook for class. I was hoping that I wouldn’t want to sleep for hours after getting back from a full day of class. I’m tired of the tight feeling of anxiety, I am sick of being tired and feeling guilty. I feel like I am not living up to my full potential, which just kills me.

At the risk of sounding less than humble, I will say that I am a very intelligent person. Before all this happened I was getting a 4.0 in every class, without much effort. And now, I feel like half that person, the way I think is different. The way that my mind works just feels fuzzy still. And that might be the medications, but it might be that I have been permanently changed by this strange beast called Depression.

I hope that all the changes, well the bad ones at least, I hope that they are not permanent. My greatest hope is that I can return to my “normal” self, maybe just stronger for coming through all this.

Until then, I am trying to just walk the walk. I am doing my best to go about my daily life as if nothing is wrong. To not let the panic, anxiety, and exhaustion dictate my days. If you met me today in person, I know that you would not suspect that I had depression/anxiety. I have not decided if that is a good thing or a bad thing as of yet, but it is the only way that I am coping. Putting on a brave face and muscling through the day with a smile. Even if I have to fake that smile. What’s that saying, Fake it til you make it?

Well, I’m working on it. Depression sucks. Anxiety sucks. I just want my whole self back, but I am coming to the scary realization that this may never happen. This thing is big, and may have changed me forever.

depression

Google Image

Sometimes I am just so scared.

Sometimes I just want to fast-forward and be done with this, to see if I come through it OK.

Depression sucks.

A Fresh Start

Hello everyone out there on the Interwebs. You are out there aren’t you?

I have been pretty quiet on this blog as of late, having been very busy getting my head together for the start of summer classes. As you know, having read this, I am suffering from a depression and anxiety disorder. Because of the acuteness of my condition I was let go from a job that I loved and had to drop out of school for a semester. I could barely handle getting dressed or feeding myself, let alone attending class with hundreds of others and putting on my “normal face”.

But I have started seeing a new wonderful doctor and started taking a miraculous (to me) medication. I am starting to see the light at the end of a very dark , self-flagellating tunnel.

As of this coming Monday I will be starting summer classes. I am taking 2 courses, each lasting 6 weeks. And to be honest with everyone reading this, I am terrified. I am terrified of failing again. I am terrified that my fellow students will look at me and know I am on medication. I am terrified that I will let myself slip and have a panic attack in class like I did last semester. (The most mortifying experience of my life to date. They thought I was having a heart attack.)

I am trying my hardest not to let the fear consume me and instead focus on the little blossom of hope I am starting to feel. The past few weeks I have slowly felt myself coming back. I am not waking up every morning crying and shaking. I am grocery shopping and cleaning the apartment and paying more attention to my cat. I am becoming a whole person again, not just the shadow of one that I was for so many months.

But the scary thing with depression and anxiety disorders is that there is no magic cure, it is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life, and it makes me feel weak. It makes me feel like I don’t deserve to succeed or be happy.

I have to reach deep down and find the inner strength that once used to come so easily. I have to fight to not let myself sink back into the dark recesses of my mind and find that despair that has become so familiar.

So I am starting classes again this Monday, and I am going on a job hunt today (wish me luck!) and I am trying to move on with my life.

Something my therapist said has stuck with me. It’s that I am a person suffering from the disorder called Depression. I am not depressed. That should not be a word that I let define myself.

I am Katie. That is what defines me.

And while I may be terrified to start over, a small part of me is starting to feel that old excitement about starting a new class and going out to find a new job. Because before this all happened, I loved work. I loved school. And I am fighting my hardest to get back to that.

So please keep me in your thoughts these coming weeks, as a lot of scary change is happening. I can use all the positive vibes I can get!

And because this post was so heavy, here’s a picture of my cat to cheer you up 🙂

Snuggly cat says don't worry. Come snuggle!

Snuggly cat says don’t worry. Come snuggle!

Thanks for reading my ramblings this morning, have a great day everyone!

 

Getting to know yourself again

It’s funny how much a person has the capacity to grow and change in the span of just 5 years. I recently celebrated my 23rd birthday and it got me thinking about the girl that I was when I was 18. It’s amazing how little I can relate to her now. I mean, fundamentally I am the same person I suppose, but I feel so different. 

When I was 18 I was in a pretty bad relationship. It wasn’t abusive in the physical sense, he never hit me, but it was very emotionally abusive. We started dating when I was just 15, a child still. I was with him for basically all of high school, and all my teenage years. That is a critical time for a girl, when you really start to build your identity and figure out what you like and who you are. It is a very impressionable time.

I had always been plagued with very low self esteem from an eating disorder that I suffered with all through grade school and high school. He took advantage of this, and played upon my insecurities. I was made to feel like I was not special, that I was boring and stupid.  He had convinced me that all I needed was him and that all my friends were against me. In doing so, he got me all to himself. Because of course I believed him. He loved me, why would he lie? Ha.

But dependency is not love, and it took me a really long time to figure that out. I finally ended the relationship when I was 20. 5 years of my life dedicated to him, to his needs and making sure he was happy. In those 5 years I slowly lost almost all my own personal identity.

I’m not sure exactly what my breaking point was. I just woke up one day and was done. I realize now that it had been a long time coming and I only stayed with him because I was afraid to be alone. Even still, leaving him was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. But you know what? As I was driving home from his house that last day, I didn’t feel sad. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, like I could breathe again. 

You know that saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”? That day was it for me. Once I was free from his influence I was able to be myself. The only problem was that I had no idea who I was. For 5 very long years I had been “XXXX’s girlfriend” I didn’t have my own identity. I barely had any friends left either, most of the friends I had before didn’t want anything to do with me. And I really can’t blame them, who wants to be friends with a doormat?

I had an opportunity to start over, to get to know myself again. These past few years I have been able to do just that. I changed colleges, moved 2 hours away and started discovering what it was that interested ME. It is a strange feeling after so long just trying to please myself and not anyone else. And even 3 years later, I still hear his voice in the back of my head sometimes, telling me that I can’t do anything, that I am weak. It has been an uphill battle replacing his voice with my own. 

I have a loud voice now. I know what I like and don’t like. Don’t get me wrong, I am still growing and changing, we all are. But I am more sure of myself that I ever have been in my life. I realize that I don’t have to like something just because someone else likes it. I don’t have to be afraid to try new things. I have learned that I am awesome just because I am me, and not because someone else is dictating my actions or thoughts.

That relationship left some big wounds. But in the process of leaving and finding myself, I realize that wounds heal with time and that I am a stronger person because of it.

Image

Warrior Dash 2011

Image

Horseback riding in Virginia 2012

Image

Solo trip to Washington DC 2013

I like the person I am now, and can’t wait to see how much I grow and can improve in the next 5 years. Life is an adventure and I am finally living it.

Depression: Good for the Soul?

Hello friends, I’m having kind of a blah day today.

A little bit of background info on me is that I am on the upswing (most days) from a very severe battle with acute depression and anxiety. The kind of depression that hits you like a truck and knocks you flat on your ass. Along with paralyzing anxiety attacks every time I tried to do ANYTHING besides sleep. It was a hoot, trust me. I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty details of my recovery process, but needless to say it’s been a long road.

I suffered silently with this depression/anxiety for 3 months before I hit a breaking point and realized I needed to get help. I cannot stress enough to anyone fighting this illness to not be proud like I was and to GET HELP. Having a depression diagnosis is no different than having a diabetes diagnosis. Both are severe conditions that require medications in most cases.  Da Nile is not just a river in Egypt. (Bad pun, sorry)  But I was in denial, big time, thinking I could do it on my own.

I had convinced myself that I could handle this depression and that the crying spells and the panic attacks would just go away IF I MADE THEM. But there is no reasoning with depression/anxiety. D/A doesn’t care if you have a big exam tomorrow, because guess what, you’re not getting out of bed today. D/A doesn’t care that you had plans with friends, because guess what, you’re going to spend the day crying. It is the most frustrated and helpless I have ever felt in my life. And I have also never felt more alone.

Image

Google Image

So, I got help from several wonderful doctors. And after experimenting with lots of different anxiety and depression medications we have finally found the combo that works for me. I am starting to feel better again. Better yet, I am starting to FEEL again.

That is a big milestone for anyone suffering from depression. I’m here to tell anyone reading this who is also suffering, IT GETS BETTER. I promise.  It might seem like it is taking forever, and that nothing is working and your life sucks (which it will for a while). But things will turn around, and you will start to feel like yourself again.

That was the biggest thing for me, that I didn’t know who I was anymore. I am not a girl who fails classes or has to drop a class because I just couldn’t do it.   But I am on an upswing, starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

That is why even though today is kind of a blah day for me, I don’t mind. Because having a blah day is NORMAL. I’m allowed to feel a little lackluster, because this is not my depression telling me to stay in bed all day. It is Katie, me, just feeling stressed because I have a million things going on this month. It is me, and I’ll take it. Because feeling like yourself and knowing who you are is one of the best feelings in the world. It’s good for the soul.

So I am being a little lazy today in preparation for a very hectic few days coming up. And in my laziness I am being a little introspective. Thinking about the months that have passed that were out of my control. I’m thinking about how I am starting to feel in control of my body and my emotions again. (Only cried once writing this post, but mostly from remembering).

My depression took a lot from me. It took me from school, it lost me my job, it took away my social life, and it took away my ability to run the half-marathon I was supposed to run this month. But It didn’t take ME. I’m still here. And I’m a fighter. Anyone with depression is a fighter, that’s why you’re still here. And even though it might be the hardest fight of your life, you will come out of it an even better version of yourself. You will realize how strong you are. And that, my friends, is good for the soul.

Note:

Anyone reading this who is suffering silently, you don’t need to. I am always here to talk and there are also many resources available to you.

Your life means something, so don’t let the depression tell you otherwise. If you ever consider harming yourself, take a step back and please, get some help.  This world needs you, even if you can’t see it at the time.

Here are some depression resources for anyone out there who needs them:

Depression/suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255

A good website with info and people to talk to: http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/Pages/default.aspx