Hi All :) I have been going through a really hard time with my mental health, and I wrote this blog to try and set myself free from it, and hopefully come out from under the fog. If you struggle with depression and anxiety, please read this and know that you are not alone.
Depression lies over me like a heavy blanket, dark and warm, putting me into a sleep that I can’t wake up from. Anxiety wraps itself around me like a scarf made of straw, choking and scratching my throat. I go into a panic, start worrying, start thinking everything is going to fall apart, someone is coming to get me, to take away everything, all my plans, all the good things in my life are going to break down. Then I lie down and depression covers me in its blanket and I sleep and sleep. Getting out of bed means facing the anxiety, so sleep is the only option. I sleep for days.
I’ve had depression almost my whole life, and I do believe it started when I was about 11 years old. I was extremely insecure, and felt very lonely. At an age where hormones were kicking in and kids were starting to “like each other” and we had school dances, I was not someone that anyone ever "picked." I remember going to the first school dance and being the only one out of my group of friends who no one asked to dance. I stood there alone, watching everyone couple up, and I looked down at my feet, and I thought to myself “I guess I’m just not good enough.”
Sports were very popular in my town growing up, so I tried playing basketball, and soccer. I was not good at it, I didn’t understand the rules, and everything was so fast. I got so confused out on the field and on the court, people would say “pass pass!” or “block them, play defense!” And it felt like a bunch of demons screaming at me. Everyone got so angry at me, because I would always mess up the game. So I was always sitting on the bench. I knew I wasn’t good at it, but it hurt. Because that was what all of my friends were doing, and I felt like there was nowhere for me to go, and nothing for me to do. So I turned to food, and the couch. I became very lazy. I over ate. Food was my comfort. I became about 25 pounds overweight and my parents sent me to weight loss camp. I went for three years. My parents sent me because they wanted me to be happy, they weren’t trying to put pressure on me to be a certain weight, they just knew how depressed I was about feeling isolated and bored, and that the over eating was something I was ashamed of. So, they didn’t do it in a cruel way, they asked me if I wanted to go, and I said yes. So I did that for three summers, and it was a positive turning point for me in my life. I made some amazing friends, and felt like I fit in - with a lot of people that had emotional problems and turned to food, just like I did. Those were the wonder years for me.
In my twenties my depression and anxiety was very bad, I used to stay home for days at a time, not speaking to anyone, not getting out of bed, just isolating. At around the age of 26 I noticed that things would get particularly bad around my period. And everyone always says “oh it's just PMS” but it was more than that. For about 10 days before my period I literally wanted to die. I was completely suicidal, and couldn’t control myself. I would start fights with people, say nasty things, humiliate myself, I had no sense of self control or rational. I finally sought professional help and was diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. I was put on medication and things started to get a lot better.
To this day (six years after my diagnosis) I am still on medication, and find it extremely helpful. However, medication can only do so much. I still suffer from the symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and depending on the climate of my life, it can still affect me. This particular time right now I am suffering. I have some down time from school and work right now and was originally exited to be on a “stay cation” but the PMDD kicked in and its turning it into a bit of a “stay nightmare.”
This past Saturday I couldn’t get out of bed, and I slept from noon to 9 pm. Then I even slept all throughout the night and didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I feel very scared, because its like I can’t control my moods, my feelings, my thoughts, because the depression is just there, and the anxiety. It doesn’t matter what blessings I have in my life, or how beautiful it is outside, this feeling is so powerful and it wont go away. I just can’t stop crying, and clenching my fists, and thinking about bad things.
The feelings that I get when I’m in this state are very suicidal feelings, because I feel that there is no way out. And I am writing about this, and sharing it, because I come across as a very bubbly and happy person, and I want people to know that just because someone seems happy doesn’t mean that they are. And believe me, when the chemicals in my brain are not attacking me with this horrible imbalance, I am happy. I have a lot of positive things in my life, and I have found a career path that I am exited about. But none of that matters when I’m in that depressed state. Mental health is something I’d like to be open about, since its something that I suffer from and I know a lot of others do to. When I hear about suicides from people who I love and admire, like Anthony Bourdain, it makes me so sad, and it scares me that I might know why someone would want to take their own life, because I know that level of pain.
I just want to be open about it because I’m hoping it will help me cope. I don’t want to let this disease take over my life, so I’m hoping talking about it will set things free a bit.
Read more from Emma on her blog here.