Blogging Through The Darkness: #EndTheStigma

I began writing this blog at 3:30 this morning as insomnia was kicking my butt. You are correct that there was no Wednesday blog this week, and there almost wasn’t a Thursday blog.

Seems I’m going through a bit of a depression period. And it sucks. I haven’t been motivated to do much lately which isn’t helping to improve things. And normally when I am going through a depressive time, I don’t blog. But I had a thought just now….

I write a blog on anxiety and mental illness and the times I am going through a depression I don’t choose to blog because I guess on some level I think depression isn’t uplifting or inspiring. And perhaps I worry about dragging my readers down with me.

And I just read that last sentence and realize how much bullshit it contained.

I mean, why am I afraid of blogging while I’m depressed? Bumming people out? Being too vulnerable? At the end of the day this fear does nothing but further stigmatize my mental illness.

So I’m pressing on.

I think my depression is a combination of things. Chad has been working some crazy hours lately and so we don’t see each other as much as we’d like. I also blame this stupid presidential election. Seeing it everyday in my news feed and watching all the debates (that blessedly wrapped up earlier tonight. Praise the good Lord! 😛 ) has really got me fired up. And worried about the future.

And honestly the worry still remains no matter which candidate I imagine winning.

But back to the lack of motivation. I think that’s the thing that sucks the most when I’m going through a depressive episode. Not having motivation to get things down makes things literally pile up around the house and then on top of being depressed I feel guilty that I haven’t gotten stuff done.

And the cycle continues.

I hate feeling this way and would give anything to not. I feel like one of those people in the antidepressant commercials, you know the ones where the people look detached and sad as a list of side effects flashes under the screen.

But the one thing that I hold on to during these times of depression, the thing that helps get me through, is to know that I always come out on the other side.

I will be OK.

Dear reader, if you are feeling depressed at the moment, you are NOT alone. As Victor Hugo once eloquently wrote, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise!”


Of Self Care and Vices

Self care in an important part of life, especially when you live with depression/anxiety issues. The first time I experienced a full-blown panic attack, I was with family visiting my sister’s apartment on the east coast. After a long day of walking around the city, we returned to the apartment. I began feeling dizzy and light-headed. Then I started breathing very erratically and shaking. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, it can be a pretty scary experience. Even in the days following, remembering it could send me back into a bundle of tears.

What I learned following my first panic attack was that I tire easily. If I do too many things, I get overwhelmed and need to take a break or else it could spiral into a panic attack. But what happens when you get an attack out of the blue–in PUBLIC? Well, I got your back! 🙂

So, senior year of college I’m in class and began to feel panicky. Out of the blue. On a scale of 1-10 it was about a 3 or 4. I could feel it inside, but it wasn’t to the level where I needed to leave the room. I had been taking notes at the time and during lulls in the lecture, I’d write small messages to myself in the margins of my notes. Messages such as, “You can get through this.” “Breathe.” “Jesus loves you.” “Don’t worry, you are not dying”. I began to notice this kept happening in the same class. One day after class, I approached the professor, who doubled as my advisor, told her what was going on and asked her what to do. Since she was my advisor she knew my daily schedule. She asked if I took daily naps. Naps? Well, I didn’t feel like I had time for naps! She encouraged me to make time every day for a nap. Especially on days when my schedule was crazy. You know what? I took her advice and my panic attacks stopped.

Nowadays I try to listen to my body and take precautions. If I do too much, I make sure I take breaks. When stressed I also indulge in activities that calm me. Watching TV is one of these. Now, in full disclosure it must be noted that this can be a slippery slope; as TV has become a bit of a vice for me. One TV show turns into 5 and before you know it, the day is gone and I haven’t tackled my to-do list. One thing that I’ve implemented is watching TV while I’m doing something else; dishes, folding laundry…ect. This method has proved to make me the most productive. So has eating chocolate. True story, I once ate two chocolate covered Oreos and managed to clean the living room more thoroughly then it had been in a long time. Seriously, I even dusted. Conclusion: Oreos must be healthy! 😀

This is not an exhaustive list of everything that has helped me overcome anxiety and panic attacks over the years, just some of the highlights. As always this might not work for everyone, but I wanted to write on this topic and share what has worked for me in hopes of helping others with similar struggles.

Remember you are not alone.

Tomorrow on the blog for LAFF #2; a tale of unbridled passion and lust….Stay tuned 🙂