Lifting the Veil
Depression & anxiety are when nothing is actually wrong, but you feel like living is pointless.
Depression & anxiety are forgetting to drink water, eat food, and move.
Depression & anxiety are exhaustion while not being able to sleep.
Depression & anxiety are racing thoughts of things to do, repetition of conversations, and worry.
Depression & anxiety are forgetfulness so bad that you can’t remember from one minute to the next.
Depression & anxiety are when you want to cancel plans that you used to be excited about.
Depression & anxiety are walking in mud up to your shins, uphill, and in the fog.
Depression & anxiety are when your blood boils under the skin and rage is constant.
Depression & anxiety are snapping at loved ones and strangers alike for no real reason.
Depression & anxiety are body pain that makes no sense.
I know there are misconceptions because I have lived with these illnesses for 24 years. I never said anything when people got it wrong. In fact, I have hidden my own illnesses to the masses for 23 of those years. It was out of embarrassment, playing by society's rules, norms, and fear. Letting go of the veil this year and saying, no more to living in shame, has caused quite a stir.
I am sick, mentally. Yes.This is a fact. I cannot function without daily medicine and the addition of other medicine for the really bad days. I want to lay in my bed with the blinds closed and lock the door for days. I want to stop drinking water and eating healthy food. I want to stare at the ceiling. I want to communicate with no one. I want to sink deeper.
But what I know to do is completely different. I push myself and I hate every moment of it. Every single next right thing sucks just as much as the last. The only thing I really want to do is go back to bed and “be sick.” For me, this leads to weeks of even worse days. There are moments of clarity even in the depths of the illnesses, where I remember I am a single mom who needs to be able to care for her children. They are depending on me and another loss would destroy them in a way that they might not come back from.
So I seek out sunshine whether that be on my back deck or a plane ride away.
I drink water and eat salads.
I tell my close friends and family the truth about how I am feeling.
I take the time I need to get better.
I move my body.
I take my son to the park.
I sing loudly to Pink and The Chicks with my daughter while driving to Starbucks.
I answer texts, emails and calls.
I move slowly.
I try so very hard to not retreat from everything and everyone I love.
This is my experience, not a road map for Depression & Anxiety. This is not the way medical websites might describe it or the way you have felt in your own bouts of depression and anxiety. But it is my story and I am sharing it. I will be loud and in your face about it. I will be a voice for myself, anyone who feels this way, or for those who care for others with mental illness. I am going to normalize this discussion because no one asked for this. None of us woke up and said, “Hey, it would be cool to be so sad and angry for no reason today and not be able to function. Add in some suicidal ideation please. Sign me up!” In the same way those living with cancer didn’t ask for that burden, fear, and pain on their shoulders.
Sarah, my fabulous partner to do all things to stop the stigma, and I have a pretty cool podcast.
If you want to share your story of your own mental illness journey
on The Unqualified Therapists podcast, fill out this link. It can be anonymous on the show or you can shout it from the roof tops, either way stories heal. Getting the words out of your head can make it a bit less scary.