To anyone suffering from anxiety, depression or many other mental illnesses, I love you and I see you.
You are a warrior because there is nothing more terrifying than fighting a battle with your own mind.
I haven’t ever touched on extreme details of my anxiety and depression before and that is mainly due to the lack of words and metaphors to describe what I feel like on the inside. I was diagnosed with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and depression several years ago. That was a total shock by the way.
Anxiety and depression had taken over every second of my every day life at that point. I am super fortunate to have a husband that unconditionally loves me, supports me and never makes me feel less, even during my mental struggles but my anxiety and depression had become so terrible that he told me, “I love you and I am always here for you but I can’t fix this.” Therefore, I ended up at the doctor to talk about my issues, do some labs and bloodwork and ultimately leave with a prescription for lexapro.
I took lexapro for about six months. The first month or two, after you get through the beginning phase of new medication hell, were amazing! I felt better than I had felt in months. I could laugh, I could smile genuinely, I was productive and felt like my brain functioned properly. As time passed, I started to become a zombie. Not out of it but just cool with it. Cool with it as in not too happy but not too upset either. Just cool.
I began to be so relaxed to where I felt fine with not doing housework because it can be done later. I could pay the bills tomorrow and it’ll be fine. The house might burn down but it’ll be fine. Everything was fine. I was fine. We were all fine. Except for my husband. Poor guy, he has so much craziness to love through in our household. He pointed out my fine like feelings and after opening my eyes to it, I came off of lexapro per my doctors instructions.
Overall, the medication did what I hoped it would do for my body and it seemed to have leveled out some of the chemical imbalances in my brain for a while. Over the last year, anxiety and depression have slowly crept their way back into my day to day life.
Honestly, the last few weeks have been overwhelming and for no reason. My life is still the same. I love my life. We have typical struggles as does everyone else on this planet but overall we are extremely blessed to be where we are today and to have the family and friends that we do.
Nonetheless, anxiety and depression have a mind of their own and it unfortunately tends to be mine. For me, anxiety typically creeps its way in little by little. It starts with feeling like I can’t catch my breath. I inhale with force just to feel the air fill my lungs but I still feel as if they are only half full. It grows into feeling as if there is a cinder block sitting on my chest and my throat wants to close up. I find myself hardly able to eat or trying to eat the anxiety out of my body.
As time passes I am in a constant state of barely able to breath, add in nausea, a dash of trembly limbs and a heaping spoonful of hardly being able to speak words. My mind races and my heart feels like it may explode out of my chest. Everything around me overwhelms my senses to the point that I burst into tears or become ridiculously agitated with it all. Let’s not forget the paranoia that makes you feel like a psychopath and can place you in a panic attack within minutes if you lose your control over your mind.
I find myself while driving, picking up kids, grocery shopping, cooking dinner or even sitting down, repeating to myself, “I am okay. I am okay. I am okay.” Of course, that never seems to work for me and all I can look forward to is sleep because at least when I can fall asleep, I can’t feel. If I can’t feel, I can’t panic over senseless things. As the anxiety and depression grows daily, the sleeping at night turns into closing my eyes at any given moment during the day or I am barely able to keep my eyes open. I’m not sure about you but when my anxiety and depression are running full throttle I can feel all the pressure of it in my eyes. The fatigue is so intense and that results in absolutely zero motivation for day to day tasks.
As I said earlier, I am forever thankful for my husband. He has learned to read my physical signs and can pick up on it almost instantly. He doesn’t force me to talk through it or tell me to, “suck it up.” He doesn’t pity me or make me feel sorry for myself. He just loves me. He gives me space when I need it. He helps with tasks around the house when I’m struggling mentally and can’t keep up. I will kill him if he ever leaves me because I don’t know what I would do without him some days. He is my safe place.
Anxiety and depression are two of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in the world. So many of us struggle with a multitude of the destructive symptoms I mentioned above and also many more.
I see you when you say you are busy but I know you’re at home crying into your coffee cup while the kids are at school. I hear you trying to inhale deeper to catch your breath. I feel you when you need to step outside to let the fresh air embrace you and see if it awakens any endorphins in your body. I understand your silence when you are trying to calm your racing heart. I resonate with you when you look at your phone while it’s ringing and don’t answer or open a text with no intent to respond. I am also busy telling myself that I am okay.
If this is your busy, that’s okay. Mental health problems are real and they are hard but I am always here for you. I am always a phone call, text message, email, show up at my door, or mail a letter away.
On the worst days it is unbearable trying to pull yourself out of a dark place. If this is you – I am so proud of you. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are worthy.
“Just because I can’t explain the feelings causing my anxiety, doesn’t make them less valid.” – Lauren Elizabeth
In conclusion, be mindful, be kind, be humble, and just love others. We are all fighting a battle of our own. ♥️
Anxiety and depression are my demons but Jesus, self care and acceptance are my light. ✨