is two really better than one?

I was washing a car the other day at work and got to thinking about my mental illnesses. In my psych classes in college we discussed comorbidity quite a lot. Comorbidity is the presence of two chronic diseases or illnesses in a person at the same time. It is quite common for people who have anxiety to simultaneously have depression or vice versa.

I am one of those people….if you hadn’t already guessed. I have anxiety with depression as my comorbid illness.

Comorbidity sucks fucking balls. If one starts up the other is sure to follow. Those scary little monsters feed off each other and encourage the other to grow bigger. They whisper to each other. They plan and scheme. They poke and prod my mind and heart. They snicker and smile. Anything to try to bring me down.

But I fight. Tooth and nail, I fight.

I was reading an article a while ago on having anxiety and depression. It gave a list of things that happen when someone has this comorbidity. I wanted to share some of these and a few of my own. I will include the link at the bottom so you can view the entire thing.

  1. It’s having to stay in bed because you don’t have the will to move, but unraveling at the thought of what will happen if you miss school or work.
  2. It’s making six million to-do lists just to untangle your thoughts, but knowing you’ll never actually cross anything off.
  3. It’s the constant fear of winding up alone, but accidentally isolating yourself because you sometimes just need to hide from it all.
  4. It’s alternating between feeling paralyzed in the present and scared shitless about the future.
  5. It’s sleeping too much or not at all.
  6. It’s needing a break from your racing thoughts, but not being able to climb out of the pit of yourself.
  7. It’s needing to do everything, but wanting to do nothing at all.
  8. It’s worrying about losing all your friends, but not having to energy or motivation to hang out or talk.
  9. It’s being so depressed that your mind wants to shut off, but your anxiety never allows it.
  10. It’s stressing over a first date, but canceling in the end because you know deep down it won’t work out.

There is so much more that I could list. It’s not fun. It’s a tug of war between two monsters. It’s exhausting and never ends. Fighting against those intrusive thoughts and finding the strength to get up and move are taxing, but necessary. I found myself getting lost in my depression for a long time and took even longer to crawl my way out.

I wish more people could understand this entangled dynamic. This twisted relationship between two painful illnesses. I have to mask the pain and torment because I don’t want pity or questions. How can I possibly explain something that often times doesn’t make sense in my won head? How can I explain something that only exists in my head and is a complete fabrication but feels and seems real?

If you’re interested in the whole list, please follow the link: https://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/20-feelings-that-sum-up-having-both-depression-and-anxiety?utm_term=.ctjN4A2eo#.tq4xOMn0v

this is not our choice

this is not our choice

Mental illness, as a whole, is stigmatized by society. Society believes mental illness is a made up thing and that people are finding reasons to either get prescription drugs or receive extra accommodations or some bullshit like that. Our society doesn’t look kindly on those who claim mentally ill. It is seen as a weakness and is unacceptable.

It drives me batty with how people are so quick to judge us. Yes, it is something that can’t be seen on an MRI or ultrasound, but does that make it any less real or debilitating than a broken leg or some immune disease? The answer is no, it doesn’t.

In my family, I grew up not talking about my feelings. It wasn’t done. I didn’t think it was wrong or abnormal until I was older. In high school I started having slight anxiety and some depressive episodes but I just pawned it off on teenage angst and hormones. It came to a head my freshman year of college when my roommate literally saved my life. I had been having panic attacks, constant anxiety and worry, depressed moods for months, and even physical symptoms due to the anxiety.

But with all that going on, I still refused to acknowledge that I had any problems. I didn’t want to be seen as damaged or crazy because of my mental illness. I didn’t want people to identify me as my mental illness. I feared mockery, judgement, stigma, etc. However, I couldn’t hide it for long. After my roommate found me, I knew then I had to come clean. Not only to myself but other people, mostly my family.

Telling my parents what I had been dealing with for years was painful, yet it felt like letting go of a rope I hadn’t known I’d been holding on to. The hold it had on my heart let go and I could breath just a bit better. I could think a tad bit clearer. The weight that was forcing me under water was just a little lighter. It took a while to explain and for them to understand and come to terms with this secret that’d I hid very well over the years. There was lots of crying, explaining, and questions.

I may be writing this blog talking about my mental illness and I may be very open about a lot of things, but there are a few things I’ve kept hidden except from my anchors. They know the gritty details and thoughts and feelings I wish I could forget or push away. They know every aspect and can still look at me with love in their eyes.

I wish people could understand that this isn’t a choice. I would not chose to have a panic attack. I would love not to be so anxious that it makes me physically ill. I wouldn’t choose to be depressed for months on end and question if living is even worth the hassle. I want people to understand that I did NOT chose this in any way. Did any cancer patient choose to get sick? Do people choose to have a heart attack or stroke? Do people decide the perfect moment to break a bone or sprain something? The answer is no. They don’t. It’s the same with mental illness. We don’t choose this. Why would we want to? I would not wish these illnesses on my worst enemy (I’d rather wish they would have the feeling of constantly walking on Legos, but that’s just me).

It took me years to admit I was suffering, let alone ask for any kind of help. It takes courage to admit you need help. It takes balls to go to a therapist or psychiatrist. Taking medication is a life altering event, and should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor, yourself, and if you are living with a spouse, family, or whoever. Some medications may have side effects and you can have your friends and family monitor you as well. I had my roommates look out for me and any thing strange while I was on meds. I did have some side effects that caused me to stop taking the medication.

Many people may not even be ready for medication, and that’s okay! Don’t think for one second you have to immediately take any kind of medication. Talk about all your options! There are some wonderful holistic methods of coping that have proven to really help people. You need to find what is best for you and your mind set.

Society, I say, can go fuck itself for saying we are weak. Waking up day after day, even though you feel like there is nothing to live for, takes immense amounts of courage and strength. Taking care of yourself when you don’t see the point is strength. Going to work, doing your job, and excelling when you feel like Death just ran you over is strength. Shaking off that panic attack and going about your day, whatever it may be, is strength. Don’t you dare tell me we are weak.

It is unacceptable to tell us this is a choice or it’s all made up.

listen to your body

listen to your body

Welcome to the first post of this not-so-new and improved blog of mine. I took everything down and am starting from scratch. The things I was writing were great, and I did enjoy the research I was doing for them. However, looking at them now I realize how unorganized my mind and writing had become as I spiraled.

I find myself in quite the depressive mindset and though the spiraling has stopped, I am still finding it hard to piece words together but I’m trying. I am searching for motivation in every nook and cranny I pass. Luckily I found some just sitting in bed as I rest my anxiety weary body.

Recently, I was laid off from my job at a call-center. I’m not bitter or angry, I understand why I was let go, but it still sucks. It’s been two weeks since that day and during that time I have been recuperating. Why? Long story short…I am not cut out for being behind a desk for 40 hours a week. I need to be active and working with my hands. I found myself spiraling down the rabbit hole these last few months and it was taking it’s toll physically.

Being in a depressive state and exhausted from the anxiety, leaves you physically disabled at times. I get weak and lethargic. Anytime I move it feels as if I am moving in slow motion or as if I’m walking in wet sand. Even going to the bathroom is like climbing a mountain and leaves me breathless. I will wake up some days and wonder if getting up is worth the struggle; if it’s worth the pain and exhaustion.

Often times it is worth it, and then there are the days where it’s not. The days that my body tells me, “Hell no girl! Get back in bed and rest” are the toughest days. I dislike calling in to work sick or taking a day from school because of my anxiety or depression. I make sure I work twice as hard to not be seen as a liability or weak by superiors or others. I do know some workplaces view mental illness as a disability and it’s labeled as such in handbooks and whatnot, however, I take pride in being able to somewhat control the little monsters.

Knowing when your body needs to rest and actually taking that day or two is the best decision you can make. On several occasions I took days off from work and school in order to rest. To be able to lie in bed and not do was a blessing. It gets extremely difficult to keep pushing yourself when there is no fight leftover. Taking that day or two of rest can recharge your batteries and keep you going for a while longer.

There will be people who won’t understand why you need this. They will question whether you are actually sick or just ditching so you can go shopping or visit the beach. People may joke about it or give you a hard time about needing to just stay in your pjs and marathon Disney movies. Whatever makes you happy and feel at ease for the day, please do it.

I encourage you to listen to your body, especially if you are physically impaired by your mental illness. Our bodies will tell us exactly what is wrong and what it needs. Maybe that’s a 6 hour marathon of your fav TV show or listening to that new band while laying on your front room floor or even taking an extra long shower so you can muffle your sobs as you cry it all out.

I want you to take care of yourself however you need. Your health is vital. Your sanity is critical. You are important.