Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Problem With Depression

When I was first diagnosed, I was in bad shape. My doctor wasn't quite sure which way to go with me. "I don't know if you're anxious because you're depressed or if you're depressed because you're anxious," she said, "but we need to try to alleviate both of those for you."

It turned out to be a chicken-or-egg argument. I can't remember a time when I felt like I belonged anywhere, ever. I have spent my entire life feeling like an imposter, waiting to be called out as a fake, everywhere I've gone -- which includes family holiday gatherings and elementary school field trips and college and jobs and everywhere. As a result, I mostly fake it until I make it, but doing so is exhausting and contributes to my anxiety.

For the record, I also don't remember a time in my life when I haven't had anxiety attacks; for years, though, I didn't know what they were. I thought they were low-grade asthma attacks that my inhaler wouldn't touch -- a situation which made me more anxious because why wasn't my medicine working, agh, help, what is going on?

It's not comfortable to live in my head, is what I'm trying to say. It never has been. 

As a result, I second-guess my reactions to things. I wonder if I'm reacting like a normal person or if I'm filtering through the skewed, lying filter of depression and anxiety and making things worse than they are.  That's the worst thing about my flawed brain chemistry, you see: I can't always trust that how I feel about something is valid. When your brain tells you on the regular that your family doesn't love you, that you're stupid, that you're ugly, that you're dumb and worthless, that you're a joke ... Even when you know it's not true, it feels true. And when all of that feels true, how can you separate what is true from what is misfiring synapses?

It's hard.

I hate talking about this. I hate it. But I'm talking about it now because mostly we don't talk about it. I'm talking about it because I'm having a hard time this week and I want anyone else who feels this way, anyone else who feels unloved and alone and afraid because of faulty chemical reactions to know that you are not the only one. None of us are. And also? You are not ugly, or stupid, or worthless, or a joke, or unloved.  

I am learning, slowly, to acknowledge how I feel, to name it, and then to do what I need to in order to release it so that I am not stuck in that endless loop of fear -- sorrow -- fight -- flight-- exhaustion -- fear-- sorrow, until I am unable to function.

There are a lot of avenues to breaking that loop. I am finding the ones that work for me. If you get stuck there, you'll find yours. Ask for help. Let people help you. 

And remember at depression will lie. Don't forget. You are more than brain chemistry. You are beauty and vivaciousness and intelligence and you have so much worth.

So much.

1 comment:

  1. Depression only wins if you let it. It's a lot easier to not take any action against it, then it is to face your problems head on. I was in a horrible depression a few years ago that got so bad I started having thoughts of suicide. I was on some medication at the time as well, which is what I believe gave me suicidal thoughts. I decided to take matters into my own hand, and I'm proud to say that I'm much better now thanks to what I read over at aestheticreview really changed who I am completely. Please don't give in to depression, you are completely capable of putting a stop to it on your own. Be strong!