I talk a lot on this site about how to ease the struggles of a 9 to 5 job. But the truth is, sometimes it becomes near impossible to control where your mind takes you. This was the case for me for a few weeks.
Nothing outrageous happened at my day job, just the usual stresses that I thought I had totally under control. For a few days I started to feel kinda funny - brain fog, a little more tired than normal, had some mild anxiety and just plain blah.
As someone who has not really dealt with depression before, I had never expected it to hit in this way. So I went to the doc thinking something else was going on. They did the normal blood work and discovered that nothing abnormal was happening inside of my body. The day that I got my blood work done, I was at a peak in my brain fog and my anxiety was definitely heightened. Getting blood drawn is a little bit of a trigger for me.
I went to work after and that's when it happened. The worst panic attack I have ever experienced in my life. I thought I was fine because the blood test was all over with, but my mind and body had a different plan for me.
I ran to my car out to my car in tears and embarrassment. Once I was in my car, it got worse. I started crying uncontrollably, hyperventilating and grasping for any ounce of breath that I could find. I was trying to call my mom knowing that she would give her best attempt at calming me down and couldn't get through. Finally I got ahold of my grandma but it just kept getting worse.
It was like I was drowning in my own body. I was glued to the seat and anytime I sat up I just laid back down, too weak to move. I was thinking some of the craziest thoughts that I've ever had and was convinced this was going to be the end. For those of you who haven't experienced this, it may sound totally dramatic. But when you are in that moment - it literally feels like you're dying. Your brain isn't helping you convince yourself otherwise. It's constantly fighting you through the whole process.
After my panic attack, I was left with the worst anxiety. For weeks I didn't want to leave my house or see anyone. I wanted to keep talking to a minimum and couldn't bare the thought of going back to work. I thought normalcy was gone - for good.
As I'm writing this I am on my way to recovery. Brain fog is starting to lift. Anxiety isn't constant, just when triggered. And I can function through a normal day with only a slight fatigue by the end of the day.
I learned a lot through this experience. And I want to share it for anyone else who has experienced this, is experiencing this or will experience it.
You are not alone.
I did not believe this as I was going through it, but it is so true. So many people go through this - you'd be surprised. Although everyone has their own experiences with it, someone out there knows exactly how you're feeling. They even know how your brain is working in these moments.
Which leads me to my next lesson:
Talking about it is a good thing.
Although I did not feel like much of a chatty Cathy while I was going through this, it helped me immensely to talk about it. Being open and honest with the people around me gave them an insight as to how I was feeling. It also gave me an opportunity to get some of the crap that was holding me down off of my chest.
The people I love didn't judge me or make me feel weird for this. They understood and were more patient when I had my moments. Talking to them really helped on both sides.
If you feel as though you have no one around you who will listen, seek a therapist. That's literally their job - to listen and help you through difficult times. Do not find shame in therapy!
There isn't always a reason.
The littlest thing may become a trigger for you. I wasn't going through anything out of the ordinary. My mind and my body just finally had enough and were shutting down. The stress can pack on without you even realizing it.
I felt weird saying that I was in the middle of depression because I didn't feel like I had anything to be depressed about. I learned that it doesn't work that way. Depression does not discriminate.
Allow yourself to go through the motions.
You are not going to feel better right away. And the more you force yourself to focus on getting better, the farther away from "better" you'll feel. Your anxieties will likely heighten because you won't feel like you're seeing improvement quick enough.
Be so easy on yourself. Eliminate as much stress as possible. Take it easy. Give yourself time and space. Allow yourself to be a couch potato if that's what you're feeling called to do.
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As for me, I'm still recovering every single day. I'm being easy on myself and not overwhelming myself. I am listening to what my mind and my body need and trying to honor that as much as humanly possible.
I've quit my job - where I was completely overworked and under appreciated. I realized that abuse was not worth the good pay or the covered car payment. And that I'd rather make less and have energy and happiness.
I don't want to live my life feeling like a slave to my employer. There is so much to life and I try to spread that message so much on this blog. I would be a hypocrite if I didn't follow it myself!
Always do what feels right to you. Trust your intuition and have faith in yourself. Have faith in God, the Universe, source, whatever it is that you believe in. Now is the time to put your trust into something bigger and know that this is temporary. This is not going to be your life, unless you let it. Find the balance between honoring what your body needs and perservering through this time.
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