The last three months have been the hardest of my life. Harder than caring for a baby who screamed nonstop; harder than divorce; harder than anything. It’s difficult to explain, but some of you have asked, so I’m going to try.
I’ve been very open about the fact that I am diagnosed with and suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. I’ve navigated this most of my adult life, but it’s also been pretty manageable with therapy, distraction, and sometimes meds. In early March I had a panic attack of epic proportion and it sent my brain to a very dark place. Three days later, my dear friend Melissa took me to Parkview so I could admit myself to their inpatient behavioral health facility. The team there encouraged me not to do so, and to this day, I’m not sure if I made the right choice. I went home that day, but the struggle has continued. (P.S. I met a really sweet boy around this time, and had to cancel one of our first dates because I was checking myself into a mental health facility. He was incredibly gracious and gentle with me — just a note to surround yourself with good people). Anyway…
For months now, I’ve been dealing with near constant anxiety. I’ve been at war with my brain daily, and it’s absolutely exhausting. I’ve pulled out all the stops — tried two new meds, changed therapists, attended a support group, hired a yoga instructor to give me private classes in my home specific to managing anxiety, spent $300 to have my genetics tested to determine what meds would work best for me; downloaded and used a unwinding anxiety app, meditation, books about mindfulness, etc., etc. I’m so tired.
On top of the anxiety, depression has set it big time. And honestly, depression almost feels worse. Let me be clear, I am not suicidal. I think that’s one of the reasons they wouldn’t admit me at Parkview. But I will say this, these last three months have really helped me to understand why people take their lives. I was talking with a friend recently who did struggle with suicidal thoughts last year before receiving treatment, and he said, “honestly, I just wanted to destroy my brain.” That made perfect sense to me. The brain is powerful, and when it’s misfiring, it’s scary.
I guess I’m sharing this for a few reasons.
1. If you feel distant from me or let down by me recently, I’m sorry. I’m in the gutter. I’m fighting my way out, but I am not myself. And even when I’m with people, I don’t feel fully present, which is beyond frustrating.
2. If you’re struggling, I’m sorry. I understand. I know how hard this is. Please hold on, and please seek help. And maybe I’m not in the best position to help someone else, but maybe I am. Call me.
3. If you have friends or family who suffer mental health issues, please be gentle with them. Even if you don’t understand it.
4. Life seems like business as usual for me on social media. That’s the danger of living so much of our lives online. What people are suffering on the other side of the screen may not be apparent. Spend time with your people — face to face. It’s so much important.
As for me, I have an appointment with a psychiatrist on July 5. My therapist thought I should see someone who specializes in medication since I’ve had so much trouble with the recent meds I’ve been on. I’m hopeful that I’ll find something that will bring me relief. I’m also beginning to examine the role alcohol plays in my anxiety and depression, which I think may lead to some lifestyle changes — mostly not self medicating. I’m enjoying the yoga and even starting to be able to meditate without wanting to claw my face off. So I’m trying to remain optimistic that this is just a season. I love my life so much and I’m eager to get back to enjoying it fully. Thanks to all of you who have been near and patient. I love you.