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Depression and Anxiety
Over the last couple of weeks or so, I’ve struggled with my motivation. I would go to bed each night promising myself a better and more productive tomorrow; but when morning came, I defaulted to not doing anything – just like the day before, and the day before that.
It’s been almost nine years since I was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety. You’d think I’d know how to handle this by now. But the truth is – I don’t. It kicks me in the bum every single time and I fall flat on my face.
Figuring out how to get back up doesn’t come so naturally to me, so I fumble about for days on end trying. Sometimes, I don’t even feel like trying.
Living With My Eyes Shut
We’re always told to live with our eyes wide open.
Mindfulness says that we should be in the present – no matter what we are doing at that given moment. Having an ice cream? Enjoy it like it’s your first ice cream. Taste the flavors as they mix with the creaminess. Going for a walk? Take in your environment and be aware of the air you breath.
But when anxiety comes with its BFF, depression – mindfulness feels like a bunch of crap (pardon my French). It seems that every time these two come for a visit, I end up living with my eyes shut.
It’s either I can’t sleep, or I sleep too much.
In my case, I’ve spent the last few weeks sleeping. I slept so much that it hurt my head… but I couldn’t stop sleeping. All I needed to do was to lay my head on my pillow, and off I went.
What’s that, you say? Then don’t sleep? Yes, I tried that too.
I tried not to sleep. I tried not to rest my weary head on that damned pillow. But all it did was leave me in a state of anxiety and dread. Believe it or not, sleeping was better. It served as an escape. My body knew I what I was going through and it asked me to lay my head gently on my pillow and close my eyes. I submitted.
So yes – for the last few weeks, I have been living with my eyes closed… for up to 20 hours a day.
What It Feels Like
My husband Wayne, is my hero. He doesn’t understand what I’m feeling, but still tucks me in bed and makes no demands.
“What does it feel like”, he asks. I have no answer.
It feels endless.
It feels like there’s no way out.
My heart pounds so hard against my chest that it feels like that my chest will rip open.
The room feels like it’s spinning – but I know that it’s not.
It feels like my soul is stuck inside my body and it panics thinking that it can never get out.
It makes me feel stupid and worthless.
It makes me dwell on my childhood.
It feels like the world is a small place and there is a clear dome shaped cover above us all – just like a cake cover.
It feels like I’m an unfit mother and a poor wife.
It feels like I’m an impostor.
It feels like I’m drenched in water, with even more water being poured above my head – like the strong downpour of a strong waterfall.
It feels like I’m drowning. I’m swallowing the water and I can’t breathe.
It feels like I’m stuck in a deep dark well and I can’t get out.
It feels dark, so I turn all the lights on.
It feels like I’m a drama queen, sinking in a deep lake weighted down my royal robe.
How to Get Through Anxiety and Depression
One doesn’t just snap out of an anxiety attack or bout of depression… so sometimes, you just have to go with it. But there are somethings that can help you get through it.
1- Go for a Walk
I know this seems odd. How do you walk when can’t even get out of bed? “YOU go for a walk”, you yell back at me.
Be patient with yourself. It will take time… anxiety and depression take all the time they need, so why can’t you? And when you feel like you finally have a little bit of energy, take it.
I took my dog out for a walk today. Actually – that’s a lie. I drove her to the dog park, and let her run wild there. I on the other hand, sat back and watched her have fun. So go for a walk, a run, or anything that gets you out and about – even if it’s just for a few minutes.
2- Take a Shower / Bath
Water is known to have many healing elements. Whenever I feel like I’m unmotivated or feel like depression is not far away, I get in the shower and let the water wash away all my doubts. It’s doesn’t wash it all away… but it does make me feel better.
3- People Watch
This is silly, I know. But sometimes, people-watching is good. Go to the mall or sit in a cafe, and just watch the world go by. It can be a therapeutic exercise.
4- Read a Book
Reading is a great way to get you out of your head and into another world. Take it slowly… don’t go reading the Odyssey or something like that. Some light reading would do.
I love writing. You don’t need to be a writer to write. Sometimes, I write even when there is no reason or direction for what I’m writing about. If you want to learn how to start writing, check this out. This was my ticket to ditching the corporate rat race.
Have you heard of stream of consciousness writing? It’s something I learned when I was in the 7th grade, and I’ve never stopped doing it.
Stream of Consciousness Writing – It’s when you just just write whatever comes to your mind – it could be about what you are feeling, what you are thinking about, what you want to do… it doesn’t matter. Just let your mind spill out on paper.
This is how this post has come about; because today – after some weeks – I finally feel a little bit of energy to keep my head away from my pillow; and I wanted to share it with you.
Go Further: Resources for You
- A Way Out: A Memoir of Conquering Depression and Social Anxiety
- Unf-k Your Brain
- The Battle: A mother’s guide to conquer anxiety, depression, and self doubt