Anxiety and Depression; Two Lovers That We Hate

 

In 8th grade, the cool thing we did in our town was going to the skating rink. That’s right. The good ol’ Roller Rink you have maybe only seen in movies. I was there every Friday and Saturday night. I loved skating, I loved sitting in the concession stand area and eating sour punch straws, and I loved seeing all my friends. The three hours it was open we skated and laughed and it was the first independence I remember having. If I wasn’t there on a Friday or Saturday night I would get many calls from friends “Where are you?” “What are you doing?” “WHY ARE YOU NOT HERE?”

I have always been very social so it only makes sense that I spent the last 12 years of my life working in the restaurant industry. I have both bartended and served and I was very good at it. I remember when my ex-boyfriend got me a job at a restaurant he used to work at and told me I would never make more than $50 dollars in a shift and would be in awe when I never brought home less than $75. I am a talker. I always have been and I can talk about anything and everything. I am a sports fan, so that worked out for me bartending. I am also pretty tall and blonde with blue eyes so that helps too. I can talk to old people about my favorite books, I can talk to kids pretty easily because I have one, and I understand females body language due to being ridiculously bullied in high school. I have and always will be a social person. I can talk to anyone about anything which is a really great quality to have.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when I went deep into my depression episode and no one saw me for weeks they thought I was out-of-town because I randomly went off to Texas. I in fact was only in Texas for 4 days, Which I realize was me in the middle of a manic episode and then I finally crashed. Hard. I hid out in my house for almost two weeks. I left once a day, to buy a Diet Dr Pepper from the gas station down the road from my house and that in itself took me hours to do. I can’t explain depression as well as some of the books I have read, but I can explain it like this. I was to the point that it goes like this: “Okay Mallory, you have to move your legs and put them on the ground.” “GREAT now you’re going to move one foot in front of the other and walk to the bathroom.” “NOW you’re going to get in the shower.” It is literally like that. Your mind takes away any ability to be a normal functioning human and you can’t really look at the people you love because they would look at you like you were mental. (but really you are.)

I spoke to a friend who thought I was in Texas for 3 weeks because she hasn’t seen me or talked to me. I don’t have much family so my friends and I are extremely close. So I guess when I went into my depression episode and my close friends didn’t hear from me for almost 3 weeks they were PISSED. That’s just not normal for me. But when I am deep in a depression I don’t speak to anyone. My phone rings and I ignore it. Text messages come and go. I literally don’t care about it at all.

I realize that by doing this, I am pushing people away and of course anyone would get mad about this. I actually told a friend yesterday “I didn’t just ignore you… I IGNORED EVERYONE.” I can’t really describe that depression is a very selfish and self absorbed emotion. The jilted abusive boyfriend that tells you no one loves you but them. I understand that being both depressed and manic, You are a ticking time bomb and will obliterate anyone and everything that is in your path. And then when you get on meds, or adjust your meds, or you get out of our episode in whichever way you do, you can’t just be like “SORRY I AM GOOD NOW LETS GO GET MEXICAN FOOD.”

You hurt people. You upset people. You lash out to innocent people who don’t deserve it because you just don’t care because you feel nothing. When I am depressed, I feel nothing. I don’t feel any emotion or feeling and I am still currently that way as I head to twice a week therapy appointments and my pill cocktail that my doctor aggressively put me on after I told her I couldn’t get out of bed for 8 days and I went three days not eating or sleeping for 3 straight days and she made me swear I would call the crisis line to get me into therapy sooner.

The thing about depression is how guilty you feel about it. Sure, I saw the triggers, I knew they were coming. But I know a whole lot of people who go out and get drunk every weekend and no one tells them what terrible people they are because they are hung over and unproductive the next day because look at how easy it is to go to a bar and do just that. Our society encourages that tactic but when you are deep in your depression, there’s at least one person in your life that isn’t going to understand no matter what you say. They take it personally and they hold a grudge.
I have and always will be own worst enemy. I am well aware that my terrible decisions affect those around me and I feel a lot of guilt. But despite that, I still keep trying to get better. I don’t always take care of myself the best ways but I am trying to get myself back up from this. That doesn’t mean that the way I act is justified but I can guarantee that I am sorry. But Depression is a mental illness. Unfortunately it’s an illness that alienates you. I thought I had everyone fooled when I started spiraling out of control but I realized that I was so deep in denial I was the only one who truly thought no one knew. I know that now.

My anxiety has also played a huge part in me not going out and seeing anyone. Maybe it was my subconscious mind trying to not be around those I loved because I was spiraling and I was trying to protect them from my own messed up thoughts. But lately, being around crowds of people have given me the kind of sinking feeling you have when you’re playing baseball and you’re about to go up to bat knowing full aware you’re going to strike out because you haven’t ever played the sport in your life and Lance Lynn is pitching to you. My anxiety is Lance Lynn. But how do you convince the people you see all the time that suddenly you can’t get up and get out of bed because the thought of it literally sends you into a full on panic attack? You can’t. So, I hid out. I stayed away from everyone. Both being embarrassed by my manic behavior and my depression was going into a complete episode, my anxiety also made a surprise visit in the worst time it could.

I know that soon, after these pills kick in and I start feeling again, It will be easier and easier to be social again. But right now, It’s the last thing I want to do. I don’t know if I will ever be able to explain that to the people who love me that were unfortunately in my crossfire. That I didn’t mean to hurt anyone or make anyone feel unappreciated and unloved in a way that they can forgive me. But I believe that the only way I can ask for forgiveness is fixing myself for the sake of myself, my daughter and my life and right now that’s getting up, going to work, and taking my pills. Oh, and just answering my damn phone

When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t. We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.

When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive. We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker…but as survivors. Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it. Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand.

– Jenny Lawson; Furiously Happy

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