Eating You from the Inside
Anxiety is that feeling of being too comfortable in a pool and suddenly walking to a deeper end where you lose your step and all your senses become amplified. Pair that with depression and you have a cocktail of constant internal disasters. Two polar mental illnesses intertwined, when the depression hits and the glass seems to be getting empty the anxiety kicks in and that glass shatters. Dealing with and living with both of these illnesses on a day to day basis can get overwhelming, but the best way to face it is to accept it.
I find that when my anxiety is at its peak I’m usually being reckless with my feelings and not truly paying attention to myself. What has helped me stay grounded and at ease is my breathing, centering my focus, and remembering that as a vessel with needs I have to take a little extra steps to be on an even plane. Meditation, the practice of emptying your mind and focusing on breathing helps be in touch with your soul. Whether I’m out in public trying to figure out how to approach a situation or just thinking too far ahead that my mind thinks of too many possible outcomes that I make myself physically sick and can’t seem to catch my breath. This is when those exercises come in handy, I try to ground myself once more and remind myself that what matters at this very moment is this moment only. Although not everyone can manage without pharmaceutical drugs, which most know I am against for personal reasons, there is always alternatives which I go to if I have a highly stressful day or week, which happen to be herbs. Whether I turn to kava in the night or ashwagandha during the day, I make sure that I eat throughout the day and practice yoga in a class or at home as a form of exercise and centering activity.
When depression knocks on the door it’s almost like it moves in with you, won’t let you out of bed, makes you feel exhausted emotionally and physically, gives me migraines, I feel like I’m just carrying a ridiculously heavy weight on my shoulders when I’m trying to go about my day, and at night it won’t let me sleep until my mind has reminded me every little situation I’ve completely failed at or could have changed. The worse part is that you can’t just cry, your body just won’t let you, you become numb. The numbness can consume you if you let it, you get so accustomed to it that you are suddenly “fine” but not even sure what that means. This is and always was tricky for me to kick myself out of, I think pushing myself each day to do more and tire myself out doing “real life” things helped get me out of the abandoned trail of melancholy; it really is not easy, with or without the pharmaceuticals because good and bad days will always be. It really comes down to your mindset, reconditioning yourself to think and twist things in a positive way even when there seems to be none. Learning gratitude and patience with yourself will heal, forgiving yourself and others, and doing things for yourself (as little as hydrating yourself, taking long baths, or reading something that will make you smile), there is no set time/duration of these episodes. Sometimes it’ll be a day, week, month or even a year. The key is to accept it and face it like you would a sick child/pet, take care of yourself, love yourself and give yourself time to rebalance.
Although I know that most people cannot get by like I have and everyone deals with their own illness differently, just know that there is always someone who cares and that you can open up to. Talking things out, regardless how small they seem really helps. And if you don’t have that I am always willing to lend an ear and some advice. I know how fucked up it feels to not have someone to be there when you need it and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Be patient, love yourself and others, don’t let the darkness consume you and remember to breathe.