Murphy's Law states: If anything can go wrong, it will.
I would like to say that it came out of nowhere, but that’s not the truth. I would like to say that it was a mere visitor and left after a day or so. I would like to say that it didn’t affect me. I would like to say all of that — but, I can’t.
My depression and anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t expecting it, I didn’t know why, all I know is that for over a week, I was in a bad place. I know it would seem if you suffer from depression and anxiety, you should be able to see the signs when it’s going to hit. For me, it’s not always like that. I didn’t see it coming and it hit me... hard.
There’s so much that accompanies depression and anxiety — guilt, shame, fatigue, worry, fear, and sadness. My God, the sadness. I told my wife and one of my moms that I was struggling. I know I’m loved and supported but when I’m in that space, nothing is registering. I go on autopilot. I’m a shadow of myself — it’s like I’m trapped inside of my body watching myself and all I want to do is break free.
I become a prisoner in my own mind. It’s crazy how easily you can become so trapped in your mind by your own thoughts. Certainly, I’m not the only one? Your body can go 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, but you can’t go 3 seconds without thinking about something. You’re constantly using your mind for everything. You’re using it right now as you read this. It’s so easy to get sucked into our own negative thoughts. Self doubt, finances, something bothering you at work, something that happened to you 10 years ago, you get the point...
I’m seeing a therapist and utilizing the coping mechanisms I’ve learned. Most of the time I find them helpful, other times they simply don’t work for me. Im glad that my mental health team has helped me build what we call my "tool kit" for these situations. I have tried to learn about various coping strategies so that when I have those days, I’m bound to find at least one thing that will help pull me through those hard times. The "tool kit" might not make things go away right away. But it does help my dark times go away a lot faster. What could be a 2 week episode or could be a 1 week episode. Or a few days as you get better at it.
Now this "tool kit" is not something that is used to just get away from the issue. And it’s not something you can just use once a year either. You should sharpen your tools frequently. Practicing with them even when you don’t need to. The idea is to work through the negative thoughts and find the root to solution. Why am I feeling like this? What am I feeling? How long have I felt this for? Asking yourself those hard questions instead of falling victim. And working through it. However, I get it, sometimes you don’t have that kind of time and you need a quick release where you can just push it to the side, but be careful, because it will sneak back up on you eventually if you don’t handle it properly.
I’m also trying to get better at recognizing my triggers. I’m doing what I can to be the healthiest version of myself — for me and the people I love. Not because they put pressure on me or don’t love me as I am. Slowly I am embracing my humanness — I’m not a machine. I do not have to live my life on autopilot.
Depression and anxiety have me in their clutches... while they clutch me, I clutch onto the good days with a fierce grip. I have to because I know there will be hard times.