I hate to say that once you have a struggle you always will, but it has definitely been the truth in my case. I can feel when its coming. The tears come uncontrollably and often out of out no where. I start forgetting things, picking fights with my husband over nothing and wanting to lay in bed all day. Things like eating and taking a shower become optional. But after almost ten years of living with this struggle the signs are becoming more apparent to me, and I have the strength and gumption to identify them and own them. Owning your life, and all that comes along with it, are so important to living your life well. Whatever it may be, you have to take ownership of it. Being a victim of your depression and anxiety is no way to live and I won't stand for it for myself anymore.
My recent experiences have shown me that I don't have time for people that contribute to that depression and anxiety. And people who continually send you into a downward spiral...whether that be online or in person, deserve no place in your life. Holding on to them desperately because of the guilt you think you'll have by cutting them out of your life is nothing in comparison to the anxiety you will keep inside you by keeping them there. And once you own and acknowledge that truth, and let go of all the sadness over having to make a tough decision, a literal weight is lifted.
My more sensitive, people please, non-confrontational personality can be a good or bad thing. But isn't that true of most of our personality traits? I'll avoid confrontation at my own peril. And its not good for the person that you are avoiding it with, or yourself. Pretending you have no issues instead of being upfront and honest with them (whatever your reasons are) isn't fair to them or you. So what do you do? Here's what I do for myself.....
1) Talk immediately to my husband or a designated friend ~ find your person that can help keep you centered. Someone that lets you vent that anxiety out and won't judge you. Whether it is depression caused by a medical issue, pregnancy, or triggered by a life event it doesn't matter. You have to be able to safely talk about it.
2) Don't wallow or cut yourself off ~ Usually when I'm sad I want to snuggle up and watch a movie and stay all snuggly. But when I'm going through something like this that is the very last thing I should be doing. Get up and get out! Take a walk, sit outside and read a book, go walk around somewhere.
3) Pray ~ When I'm struggling this is where I go. I usually take a deep breath and start praying wherever I am. Last time I felt it hit me and we were on our way someone. Hubby just started praying for me in the car.
4) Don't be afraid to see a doctor - This is so attached to the stigma of depression and anxiety. Whatever is happening, don't be afraid to go see a doctor, counselor, get some medication or whatever it is that you need. Sometimes you can't handle it alone. This last time around, it was definitely an particular event that triggered it for me and I was able, with my hubby and friends, and my own strength put the breaks on it before it went out of control. However, three times in my life I have gone on medication and was able to eventually stop taking it. I'm a huge believer in medication. Sometimes your brain needs a reset to get over the hump. I have never had a struggle with becoming addicted or having a relapse the moment that I stopped taking it. And while I know everyone's experience is different, and I am NOT a doctor, I want to be the voice that stands up and says "DON'T BE ASHAMED!!!"
Are you struggling? Don't be ashamed of that and own it!
I'm always here to hear your stories. If you want to be a voice for people suffering please email me or leave a comment. The more voices the less the stigma has a chance to grab hold and get louder.