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risksforhappiness

Lost

Social media allows us to put out the things we want others to see about our lives. To screen what is known about us. To create a facade that everything is great. 

But that’s not true. It never has been for me. There are days when I feel like I have my ish together and I can take on the world. There are far more days where I feel overwhelmed or exhausted or broken. I’ve been in a constant state of that lately, but hiding behind a forced smile or the excuse that “work is busy” or “I’m tired.” To be fair, those aren’t empty statements. Work has been colossally busy and I’m exhausted. 

But I also feel absolutely lost. Like I’m wandering around this life and floundering because I haven’t found my purpose yet. Lost because I moved myself 2000 miles away from my family and no longer feel like I have one here. Lost because when I pray for answers, I’m not given them and I’m not strong enough to take that in stride and truly know that God’s plan is greater than mine ever could be. I’m not able to believe that His timing will come. Because all I feel right now is like I’m wandering aimlessly in a forest. With trees and leaves so thick, I see nothing but more forest. How do I know which way is mine to take when the trees and leaves sit there, silent and stoic? 

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Moment of pure honesty, internet: I feel like a fraud writing these because today/the last few weeks have been some of the worst I’ve experienced so far. I know I likely won’t share this with people I know, but even in my current state of mind, it seems important. 

As someone with anxiety and depression, I read every list of facts/to-do lists/lists of things you should know/etc. in hopes of finding solace in not being alone and also to find one that sums up all the things I can’t articulate to give to those I care about and don’t want to be scared off by my mental illnesses. There isn’t a list that exists that has felt 100% true, so here’s a try at my own list that I’ve been writing for a weeks. 
1. While my anxiety attacks or bouts of depression aren’t personal towards anyone else, during those times, my overactive brain analyzes over and over again any interaction I may have had with you. That seemingly friendly exchange of hello this morning? I’ve probably relived it enough times to convince myself that the tone of your voice was slightly off and we’re clearly in a fight I don’t know about. 

2. While I crave alone time because it seems safer, I long for interaction with people who I feel safe with. Let me qualify that “interaction” here typically means simply co-existing in the same space, separately. Your mere presence can make or break my mindset. 

3. I get frustrated at how frustrating being anxious or depressed is. This quickly becomes a never-ending cycle. If you notice it, gently remind me that it’s okay to frustrated, but it’s also okay to be anxious and/or depressed. Dwelling in those things though, is not okay. 

4. I will doubt everything. Rationally, I can know things, but rational thought gets pushed out of the way for the irrational anxious thoughts without my approval. 

5. I will crave reassurance in a million different ways and I know it’s annoying. Am I doing a good job? Am I good friend? Am I good person? Am I being too much? Are you as frustrated with me as I am frustrated with me? I talk/text/message you too much, don’t I? Have I asked about you enough? Do you hate me? Are you sure you don’t hate me? You texted back with (or without) punctuation, clearly you hate me. I have a degree in math, but 12 times 12 is still 144, right? 

6. I will apologize a million different ways for a million different things that I likely don’t need to apologize for. This essentially breaks down to being sorry that I’m such a burden on others, so I must apologize for existing, profusely. I have also been on the other end of anxiety/depression with friends and due to my job, have some extra knowledge as well. I know how draining it is to be on the other side and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But if you’re there, I’m going to apologize for that. 

7. There is no list that could ever be made to encapsulate everything for everyone. How anxiety/depression manifests itself in me is different from others. That’s okay- we’re all different for a reason. 

8. I will feel like the worst friend/family member/coworker/person in the world and there is pretty much nothing that you can say to convince me otherwise. 

9. I will likely want to talk, but not know how to start the conversation. Questions help and provide structure I can adhere to. 

10. I may ask for help, but not know what will help because I am too stubborn/worried about asking for help to actually do so when it would be helpful. Make sense? Great. 

11. If I avoid eye contact and am fidgety, I’m not okay. Tell-tale signs. Add in more than normal crying and being extra spacey to have an extra definitiveness to this. 

12. Hugs help. They will also likely induce crying, but typically most things do at that point. 

13. If things get really bad, I will push people away. Pretty much all people. Or at least the ones who have proven to see past my bullshit faking. 

14. I may not want to talk or be talked to. As much as I wish there was a magic solution someone else could provide, I know it’s on me. 

15. Don’t minimize my feelings or point out others have it worse. I know that. And have thought it probably a million times already. 

Nowhere

If I don’t want to be here,

     then where do I want to be?

Sometimes that answer is nowhere,

where I imagine blankness,

     warmth,

     stillness. 

I long for it, to exist nowhere. 

Because it is free from the confines

     of the prison that is my mind. 

Quiet. Stillness. Warmth. 

How lovely. 

The Weight of Worry

The weight of worry is equivalent

     to a stampede of elephants

     to the heaviest boulder 

     to the tons of bricks used to build all the structures of the world. 

The weight of worry is equivalent

     to a bag of feathers

     to the air we breathe. 

The weight of worry is equivalent 

     to everything. 

It is

     neverending 

     all-consuming

     overwhelming. 

The weight of worry is everything. 

Listing Some of the Good

I feel like I should write this down for future times when life piles up and I can’t seem to catch my breath…

Things that help fight off anxiety & depression: Continue reading “Listing Some of the Good”

The Bad Side of the Seesaw

Over the last week or so, I’ve been feeling my anxiety building. I don’t have a good reason, or at least nothing out of the ordinary. Work is stressful and frustrating: I work with people, so that’s kind of a given. The next step in life is a giant question mark: the same as it’s been for the last three years since I started my current job. Suffice to say, nothing new has happened. There has been no triggering incident. And yet, up goes my anxiety level.  Continue reading “The Bad Side of the Seesaw”

Joy

IMG_6791 Continue reading “Joy”

Jumping off…

Working in residence life for a bit, most everyone knows that attempts to contact me will likely be met with voicemails or silence this month. That I will occasionally post something on social media so others know I’m still around, but really, all I am doing is working. Continue reading “Jumping off…”

Small steps

One of the risks I have recently taken was changing my medications for anxiety/depression. I have been somewhat lucky in that I haven’t had to cycle through drug after drug, trying to find the right dosage or combination. Until now, of course. I was previously on my main medication for over three years and tapering to then not taking it anymore was awful. After a month on a new medication that was clearly doing the opposite of what it was supposed to, I am now on a new medication.

It is during these times when I struggle the most with the notion of taking medication for my anxiety and depression. I question whether I’m doing the right thing by putting things into my body that change the chemicals and even the way I think so much that friends reach out and question if I’m okay. Why would I willingly put myself through this? I feel like that’s one of the stigmas associated with mental health and actually taking care of yourself. For instance, if you have something recognizable like cancer or diabetes, you’re going to take the medications the doctor tells you to that have shown the best results. Those doctors will likely change around dosages and combinations if their first guess isn’t quite right. But if you change the illness to something like anxiety or depression, it looks completely differently and some people can be vilified for their choice in seeking medical intervention with mental illness. Perception is everything, I guess, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

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