Trigger Warning: Depression/Anxiety, Suicidal Ideation
Hi there! If you’re a newbie to me and my blog, you don’t know this, but I suffer from depression and anxiety. I was diagnosed with depression in my teens and diagnosed officially with anxiety about 5 or so years ago, although there were signs of that from the beginning when I look back on my life. A few months ago, I started counseling for the second time in my life, and a couple months ago, I upped my depression/anxiety medicine and was put on a new sedative medication to quiet my racing thoughts at night so I can sleep. Something strange happened about a month ago. I started feeling different. My life for what seems like several years now had been this person who didn’t have the motivation to do much at all. COVID didn’t have much of a negative effect on me because I embraced the ability to not have to make excuses for not going anywhere and not doing anything. I had a job for almost 7 years working at home doing medical transcription, and it just became a daily routine to get up, work, get done with work then immediately watch TV, read, and go to bed. For those who don’t suffer with mental health, I bet you’re thinking, “Wow! That’s ALL you did? You sound lazy!” Well, yeah, I was. I’m being honest and real. That was 100% my life for so long. I left the house for doctor appointments, and before COVID, I would occasionally go see a movie or eat out with my husband every once in a while, but for the most part, my life was very introverted and not very productive (except for the job part). April 2020, I stopped working due to not getting paid. I planned to return once I got paid what I was owed as did some of my coworkers who also made the choice (and the company we were independent contractors for said they were fine with that.) Well, they kicked me out of the system and the others who had stopped working, and after a month of not working and starting on unemployment, I decided that I wasn’t going to beg for a job back where I wasn’t treated right (a longer story there). I became one of those on unemployment during COVID.
A couple months into not working, I discovered that I was unable to type for very long on my laptop without my CMT bothering me. Even with my blogging now, I know that I can only do so much so often. My hand numbness that previously only bothered me occasionally when typing for 8 hours now starting bothering me after an hour on the computer. It now also bothered me worse and left my hands aching worse. Standing up and walking jobs have been a no go for me for years because of pain, and since I started having balance issues and now need a cane, it’s most definitely off the table. Phone answering jobs? Uh, that’s a no because I have horrible anxiety with making phone calls. I make a few phone calls in one day and I am mentally done. I came to the very devastating realization that going back to a typing job would be impossible. I mean, I doubt anyone would hire someone to work an hour here and a hour there, and how would I live on that kind of job? So, I have been going through the steps of trying to get disability and I still am going through that process as we speak. How does that relate to my depression/anxiety? Well, knowing that my brain has the ability to do things but my body doesn’t is extremely depressing and knowing that I am going to struggle financially because of that doesn’t help either. I’m 37 now, but I was 36 when I first came to this realization. I was not prepared for my life to change so drastically.
So suffice it to say, the depression/anxiety I was already dealing with for years while still managing to hold down a job got even worse when I no longer had a job. I had days when I couldn’t wait to fall asleep because in my sleep I was so happy. In my sleep, everything was great. When I woke up, it broke my heart because I just wanted to die in my sleep so I didn’t have to live anymore. I told my husband this several times. I thought about how I would choose to die if I could. I contemplated driving off the road or crashing into things. I would stand close to the edge of places and wonder what it would be like to just fall over and be done. By the end of 2020, as I realized that without a job, I would have no health insurance, and without health insurance, I would have no way of paying for my medications, I decided to go to our local Mental Health facility to see if they would take me as a patient simply so I could use them to fill my medicine. Well, obviously, you have to be accepted based on your mental health, and I definitely fit the guidelines of someone who is mentally ill enough. I was accepted. I was completely honest about how I had been feeling, and though it took some time, I was able to talk with one of their doctors and was given a changed dosage of my medicine. I told her I had trouble falling asleep because of racing thoughts, and she put me on a medicine that quieted them. They weren’t able to get me into counseling THERE due to a long wait list, but they referred me somewhere else. I started counseling about 2-3 months ago with a lady who I wish I could be best friends with, but I know there’s rules against being friends with your clients. Since the medication changes and the counseling, I have slowly felt myself changing.
It all started about a month ago. I looked at this huge pile of clothes and junk on the loveseat near my bed that had been there for an embarrassing amount of time because I never could find it in myself to clean it. All of a sudden, I got this urge to clean it, so I did. It tired me out because I still have CMT, but I did it. Then I decided I wanted to blog again because I found my racing thoughts at night had switched from just thoughts to an inner monologue, so I started my blog back. I found myself deciding to go to a store after the doctor instead of coming straight home. I went out of town for a niece’s baby shower, and I found myself excited to get dressed and do things. I put on a tank top and instead of putting a shrug or kimono on with it, I thought, “What the heck? I’m going to just go sleeveless!” Then I decided to take pictures, and I didn’t just take flattering pics. I lifted my arm and showed my “angel wings” proudly and posted them online. I started feeling more confident in wearing what was comfortable in the Texas heat rather than what made others comfortable to see. I find myself not being able to just sit all day and watch TV without my brain telling me to do things.
A couple of weeks ago, I first started to reflect on these changes and wondered if I was going insane or something. I didn’t recognize myself anymore. Who was this girl who wanted to do, do, do instead of be lazy? Was I taken over by an alien?! Then I thought back to times in my life where I might have been more like this me I have been lately. I vaguely remember myself being this way at times, but it’s been a LONG time. Friday in counseling, I talked to my therapist about how weird I was acting, and she perfectly summed it up with mentioning how when you get into therapy, you go through a phase where you’re doing well and you find yourself feeling anxious over NOT being anxious, and Boom! That is so true! The way I am acting now is actually the TRUE, REAL me, but when you’re depressed and anxious for so long, you forget what it’s like to not be like that all the time. It feels surreal.
Friday night, I had a moment of feeling depression trying to rear its ugly head again. Maybe it was from opening up in therapy or my hormones, I don’t know, but I couldn’t help but feel this doom feeling. Feeling depression’s dark hold try to grab me back scared me so much. I found myself crying and telling my depression that I refused for it to return. I cried to my husband that I didn’t want the depressed Sharon to return, that “I hated that Sharon.” I guess that’s kind of harsh now that I think back to it. The depressed me deserves more love and understanding. It’s hard when you’ve been in it so long and finally feel a release to realize that it could come back at any time. I mean, my medication has stopped working before. It probably will again. That’s not thinking negatively but rather realistically. But it scares me, you know? As much as I sometimes want my brain to let me be a little lazy without pushing me to always be productive, I also don’t want to go back to the me that never had any motivation, the me who hid away from the World, the me that wasn’t really happy. I want more time with this stranger I am getting to know again. I want to always be the TRUE me and not go back to the mentally ill version of me. I guess I am just going to have to embrace this new me for as long as I get to and try not to worry about when depression and/or anxiety will take me over again. Life is short. I just got to enjoy the bits of my life where the true me gets to shine again.