I remember when I started this blog. I wanted to fill it with everything fitness…and I still do, but I’m really struggling. I haven’t wanted to burden anyone’s eyes with words of sadness or dismay, but everyday for the past couple months has been a struggle, so hoping this will be therapeutic….
I am not where I want to be, nor am I who I want to be…
I haven’t done any cardio for weeks (almost a month), In fact, I haven’t really done much of anything, except fighting some darkness, and trying to find the light that once ignited the fire deep within me. These days, it’s all it takes for me to get out of bed. I’ve had more off days from the gym than I’ve had since I started this journey about 5 years ago. However, when I do get there, I go heavy. .
I go heavy to push all that darkness out of me…
But when a new day begins, I’m plagued by the same demons.
It’s no secret that I’ve suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for the same amount of time I started going to the gym. The gym, the weights; the control it gave me, molded my purpose, and made me fight harder than I ever knew was possible. It showed me what I was capable of and chipped away at a lot of fears and buried a lot of doubts I had about myself; about life, my purpose etc…
Fast forward, when my best friend of 16 years, passed away at the end of July, and I suddenly felt alone. I went to Las Vegas a week later for an already paid vacation and I couldn’t shake the invasive thoughts of how, I, too was ready to die.
Honestly, I don’t know how I made it through that week.
But, Vegas, I guess was a distraction. It felt different. But I felt different. I felt that it wasn’t me who was experiencing the things that surrounded me; I felt like I was just existing, and all these things; the lights, the photo taking, the eating, the laying out in the sun, just happened to be occurring, with each breath I took, every step,and with all of that, I was stuck with an extremely deep and penetrating pain and void…
And it only got worse when we came back from our trip. I was forced to deal with the reality every time I felt pain and went to pick up the phone to call her, and suddenly realized that she wasn’t ever going to be there to answer, and all I had was a voice mail from her, but I wanted so much more. I started eating like shit, my obsession with the gym was waning, and social media just became too painful to log on to.
All of it seemed like a waste of time; a vacant place to unload a false perception of my reality.
And I certainly didn’t want to socialize or interact with anyone else in person. I was being buried and I didn’t want to fix it. For once, I didn’t care to fight, to fix anything, I just wanted to shut down and sleep. I’ve suffered from acne since I was 16 and at this point, the medication that had gave me clear skin and helped my confidence was suddenly ineffective. My face was breaking out like I was 16 all over again. I was embarrassed, I felt ugly, and I was sinking into a further depression, especially when my reflection in the mirror would point out 5 or 6 more pimples to look at. And I couldn’t stop crying over the loss of my friend. I was grieving and feeling desperate…
Finally, I went to my primary doctor for help.
She ordered blood work to test my hormone levels as well as my thyroid and vitamin d levels which all came back normal, but after feeling around my thyroid, she requested that I also have a thyroid ultrasound done. She found a nodule and all I could think was the worst. Of course, I researched what it meant to have a nodule, and grew even more scared and anxious. And where I once was following a more flexible diet, I cut out all dairy, sugar, and processed food, hoping that it would make me healthier. That maybe I did something to my body; I caused this. I did this to myself…
I’ve always struggled with insomnia, but now I would lay awake until 6 or 7 am. Every night is plagued with worrying, crying, panicking, feeling my heart race, my whole body shake and perspire, I want so desperately to just be able to close my eyes and fall asleep that when I finally do, I don’t want to open my eyes to feel the pain.
In the past couple days, I’ve received two phone calls: one confirming that I have a nodule and one to to schedule the appointment with the endocrinologist, and now I just want to sleep even more to forget.
Funny how I sit here and as, I write this, I wonder what happened to me? What happened to that woman who fought so hard for strength and the freedom from the terror of anxiety and panic attacks that make me feel confined, institutionalized within my own mind. Where I once started to stand strong, I have now crashed. I am at my weakest. I am vulnerable; I feel shattered, broken, and stumbling over my own thoughts. Yes, I feel I’m at my weakest point. I’ve allowed the intensity of my emotions and circumstances to grow and wrap snug around my neck much like a venomous snake.
Depression is real. You may not be able to see it, there may not be blood tests to determine that you have depression, there will be people who don’t understand it, who think it’s made up or you’re just doing all of this on purpose, or for attention. There will be people that will tell you to ask for a higher dose of medication, more xanax, more ativan, more of anything that will numb you. But what is forgotten is that not all depression is “fixed” with medication. Going out more, socializing more, or getting out of bed is not something that will “fix” a depressed, anxious person. It’s bigger than that. In fact, it is quite similar to a venomous snake wrapping itself around your entire body and mind. It’s not a phase and it doesn’t matter if you are attractive, rich, drive a nice car, or live in a huge mansion, depression affects everyone. It’s just unfortunate that there are some people who don’t understand it and make ignorant comments that only causes the sufferer more pain.
Trying to rationalize a person’s thoughts or behaviors is not helpful. Making a statement such as, “If you’re going to live this way for the next 30 years, you might as well kill yourself” is not helpful. (Yes, I had someone say this to me) That’s just toxic. (Maybe if people weren’t so callous with their words, people suffering with depression and anxiety wouldn’t hide away and shut down.) Your anger at someone’s depression or anxiety isn’t going to make the person “snap out of it”.
Things that are helpful are:
1.) Letting the person know that although you may not understand, you are there for them when they’re ready.
2.) If the person tells you that they’re not suicidal, don’t keep bringing it up.
3.) It’s okay to worry about the person and only natural to want to help, but don’t take it personal and share your anger. It does not help at all. It only makes the person feel even more hopeless and depressed.
4.) You are not a therapist, or a doctor, leave the treatment plan between the patient and their doctors. What worked for you, may not be what will work for everyone else. Everyone experiences depression for different reasons and sometimes there’s actually a reason.
Any thoughts or suggestions, please leave a comment.