So You Had a Bad Day
I’ve been in a serious funk lately. It isn’t any one particular thing but I have just been present and not present at the same time. Long story short, I have been walking the “iffy line” for some time now. This is due in large part to the fact that I don’t have insurance. I don’t have any extra income and as a result I had to go off my antidepressants cold turkey about a month and a half ago.
I’ve suffered from anxiety and very degrees of depression most of my life. I was diagnosed with ulcers at the age of eleven. I was tested for various disorders (ADHD, autism…) at a very young age because I always seemed stressed and anxious. I learned to cope, as best I could, with the roller coaster of emotions that guided my life. I didn’t really think about it because it was how I always felt.
In my late teen’s I was prescribed anti-anxiety medication for the first time. I was having terrible anxiety dreams that would affect many subsequent days of my life. I would become on edge, emotional and withdrawn for days or weeks at a time. And each time it would finally subside I would be bombarded with a new round of triggers. The cycle became worse until finally it was discussed with my doctor who thought meds might help.
I hated and loved anti-anxiety medication. It helped with the panic and seemingly irrational stress I was experiencing. My mood regulated because I just didn’t really have any strong feelings about anything at all. Unfortunately I was still feeling very alienated and isolated myself from the world. After several months of locking myself away from the world, my anxiety seemed under control but it had turned into full blown depression. I was lonely but had no desire to interact with anyone. I just didn’t want to do anything. Having been the primary caregiver for my mother and grandmother, who both needed some level of care for as long as I can remember; locking myself away and sleeping through my pain wasn’t a viable option. I stopped taking the medication. I had to help and I just wasn’t doing that.
I had lived my entire life without medication and I had been getting by. I still worried about everything. I still had dreams and incidents that would set my heart racing and my mind into chaos for days but I dealt with it. I took care of my mother, grandmother and not soon after, my son. Having something to do helped me stay focused. For years I just did what needed to be done.
I have always been very focused when something needs to be done. I set myself a task and the world just falls away. This also made me feel very lonely. My depression intensified but I still managed to do what I needed to do. I get shit done. I always have although I experience a great deal of personal pressure constantly.
In my early twenties I was prescribed an antidepressant for the first time. I was trying to quit smoking and the doctor suggested I try a medication to aid me. I quit smoking for almost three years but I hated the medication. I stopped taking it after about six months. It didn’t seem to improve my emotional imbalance at all and it intensified my anxiety about a ten times over.
About three years ago I decided I wanted to change some things about myself. I was sick of being unhappy. I was sick of being negative. I was sick of not caring about myself. I made a list and changed a lot of the things that I felt needed fixing. I decided it was time to use all the crazy focus and drive to help me. I made list and went to work on making myself better. I changed my diet, lost weight, created a blog to document my progress and I started dating after a thirteen year hiatus. As I began to see myself differently I realized that those feelings and stresses I couldn’t ever really accredit to one thing or another were things I needed to talk to someone about.
The day I went to talk to my doctor about my depression and anxiety was the scariest day of my life. Since I had started my transformation, I had been seeing my doctor on a fairly regular basis. He was incredibly supportive and saw me at least once a month to discuss what I was doing and monitor my progress. He was so thrilled by the great strides I was making that he really made a point to support me as much as he could.
We had a long talk about what exactly I was feeling and which medication might help with my forward progress. He prescribed me a medication. It changed my life. I often wonder how different my childhood would have been, my adult life would have been if I had only been honest about what I felt a long time ago. That may be the closest thing to regret I feel about any decision in my life.
Right now, I am having flashbacks of what I experienced in my youth. I have been trying to get by again. The anxiety dreams, the panic attacks, the roller coaster emotions and the damn numbness… I can’t imagine how I ever made it 30+ years feeling the way I do now along with the death of two parents before my twenty-first birthday, teen pregnancy and abuse. I’ve always been strong and I know that. I appreciate that I have grown from my experiences but I just don’t know how I did it. I don’t want to have to do it again.
I am seeing a doctor in two weeks but I wanted to explain my absence. I am feeling very raw about everything at the moment and I just haven’t felt like doing anything. I’ll be forty in a week (and a day) and I am looking forward to my party. I have been trying to spend time with friends and just busy myself. I hate not being here but I love you all and I swear I’ll be back really soon.
…and today is good day.