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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Words are Not Dead

It's been a rough several months for me and my emotions.

I've been dealing my entire life with depression and, to a much lesser degree, anxiety. Typically, I have been able to manage symptoms of depression myself with an amazing support system and self care. For a period of about two years, I was on anti-depressant medication. I began tapering off of it when I was about lose my insurance because I knew I couldn't afford to keep up with the medication. Also, I felt pretty confident that I could be done with it, and the side effects were making me miserable. 

But recently, my brain decided to put my depression on the backburner and go full force with the anxiety. Granted, these two issues typically go hand-in-hand, and they still do for me. During my few bouts of severe depression, I would isolate myself and cry for hours for seemingly no reason. If I was having a particularly depressed day, I would wake up, take a sleeping pill, and immediately go back to sleep for the rest of the day in an effort to completely avoid feeling what I believed I couldn't control, or at least what I didn't feel like attempting to control that day. My grades and my work suffered. My relationships with my friends and family suffered. 

Now, I still do a lot of those things, but the motivations behind them are different. When I was mostly depressed, I just didn't want to feel my feelings, and avoided them at all costs. Now, I have a lot of feelings that I don't understand. Mostly fear. Of everything. This extreme anxiety is unprecedented for me. After years of therapy and a continuous effort to reflect, I consider myself pretty self-aware, though, like happiness, I believe that is a continuous journey and not something that can be achieved. But when I started feeling things and didn't know where they were coming from, I went slightly off the deep end.

I have always been easily stressed, especially by change or uncertainty, and there has been a lot of that in my life recently. Our financial troubles have made me panicky and angry: at myself, at my husband, at our parents, at my student loan debt, at America; everyone except for our landlord who for some reason still lets us live here (bless him). My dad's chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) landed him in the hospital for about a month not long ago, and for awhile it was a very real possibility my father could die at any moment. After he got a little better and returned home, he required a lot more care than before, and my feelings of guilt for not being there, along with my parents' unfortunate tendency to pour of all of their anxieties onto me, left me feeling panicky whenever I would go to my parents' house, talk to them, or even think about the situation. Dad is still sick, but no longer has a dangerous infection. He will always be sick unless he gets the lung transplant he's been waiting for, which will bring a whole other host of issues to be dealt with. My family does not handle stress well, I've learned, so that is something that is always at the back of my mind.

I started graduate school. Most of the time I'm happy about this decision and feel like it's a step in the right direction of where I think I might want to be. Other times, I feel guilty for going into even more debt for something that may not work out in the end. Social workers are notorious for not getting paid well. The field is also notorious for requiring a higher degree for any kind of advancement. I still have little idea of what I want to do in this field. I haven't done full time school since 2010 when my life was completely different. I questioned (still question) my ability to handle it. So far, it's going OK. I usually feel like I'm on top of things, but the list of things never ends. I feel guilty for only working eight hours per week and that I rely on Joel to dig us out of debt and pay our bills. I loathe relying on people, even my husband, despite logically understanding that I am a human (it sucks, don't do it) and I need people.

I have been questioning my friendships and worrying about what people think of me in ways I don't even think I experienced in middle school. That's when you know it's bad, because middle school was actually created to make people hate themselves. I have always felt like an outsider. In my friend group, in school, even in my family. But in recent months it's been so bad that I could feel myself drawing inward and isolating because of fears of rejection or not fitting in or whatever anxiety talk was in my head that day. It's not them. It's me. (Sometimes it's them, but I love them anyway.)  It's been my hurdle to cross, and I'm still working on it.

Because of my anxiety and the hot mess therein, I took my previous blog posts offline. They still exist, I just decided I couldn't handle them being out there for the world to see (not that a lot of people saw them, but they could). I'm still not sure if I can. I enjoy writing and want to write about more than my negative emotions, but for awhile that's all I had. I've been feeling better lately, though there are still major ups and downs. In high school and undergrad, I blogged about the stupidest shit with hilarious (to me, anyway) abandon and didn't care what anyone thought. I did it because it was fun. I want it to be fun again. I'm trying to stop worrying if people give a shit about what I have to say, because I know that's not what blogging is for me. It's a creative outlet and a way to tell stories. I'm working on finding my voice again.

I'm working on a lot of things. It's exhausting. But it needs to happen, and it's always worth it.

L,
V

2 comments:

  1. I think that you're spot on about being angry at America and noting that middle school was created to make us hate ourselves. And I think those things are related.

    Don't give up! Being human is harder even than grad school, and that's saying something. But I seriously think both are worth it, especially for someone as smart and generous as you.

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