My Depression & Anxiety
Hello everyone! Today I am here to talk about something that's not so easy to discuss and not exactly fun but I really feel like it's been on my heart to share this with you all. I will always be honest with you and totally transparent even if it isn't always pretty. I do this because I love you all so much and I think there is a lot to learn when people allow themselves to be "naked" like this in front of others.
I had an amazing trip in the Netherlands and was actually excited to come back to the U.S. to see my friends and do some Chicago things again. However my last night before I left I could feel the reality sink in: I would be going back to an empty house, alone with my thoughts, and waiting for my best friend to come back home. 13 days seemed in theory like a piece of cake compared to the first 3 weeks that I dealt with (even though a similar thing happened during that time as well). At the theater that last night I wasn't hungry for dinner but shoved down some soup knowing I had to eat. Andrew tried to give me some of his food thinking I couldn't possibly be full but the sight of his meal made my stomach turn. Usually before the show we would have a cup of coffee in the artist foyer but even that was extremely unappealing. I was afraid that this was happening but brushed it off saying I just must be car sick from riding in the back seat when the other guys noticed I wasn't my normal self and asked what was up. I didn't want to worry anyone or draw attention to myself at all so I tried my best to put on a happy face. The next morning was a little worse. The sadness I felt in my heart was so heavy even though I had a million reasons so be happy about going back. I kept going over the reasons in my head as Andrew and I headed for the airport; my friends, my family, the Lucille Furs listening party, my car, a full closet again, my normal life which I do really love. Nothing stopped the aching and I couldn't shake the nauseous feeling which made me so so tired I slept all the way to the airport. Andrew and I got smoothies and a croissant at the train station which made me want to vomit even looking at, I couldn't eat but drank the smoothie as fast as I could barely even tasting it. Saying goodbye was equally as hard and I couldn't hold back the tears even though I hate crying in front of people. My face was on fire and the water rolled down my cheeks as I navigated the busy airport to find my gate. The tired feeling continued which made me sleep almost the complete duration of the plane ride. I forced myself to eat a fruit bar knowing that I had to eat something, but it tasted horrible. When I got back to Chicago Andrew's sister, Elisabeth, picked me up and brought me home. She stayed for a while and we sat chatting munching on pretzels. The next morning I woke up feeling utterly alone even though I knew there were plenty of people around willing to hang out. I talked to my mom on the phone, cleaned the house, took care of some business I had, did some skin care, and got ready for the day. It still wasn't even noon... I decided to go for a drive since one of my favorite things to do is cruise in my car and I even went for a walk by the river. I felt so sad, still. I stopped at an antique store that I came across figuring that would surely lift my spirits but I left in the same state as when I came in. Grocery shopping that day was torturous as I tried to buy my favorite foods but everything looked horrible. I got into my car and called my mom again. I tried to have a normal conversation but I couldn't stand it anymore and as I opened my mouth to say "Mom, I'm not doing so well again..." the tears came out too and I was crying to her on the phone. I wanted to go home, I wanted to be with my family and sit on the couch together under big blankets. Even the idea of going right that moment was comforting, and the shaking in my arms and legs calmed down. I was also conflicted because I had prior obligations in Chicago that I didn't feel like I could just abandon but everything inside me was saying "GO!" I called Andrew to get an idea of what he thought and he agreed that if I thought that's what I needed to do then that it what I should do. I hurried home and packed up my things for Wisconsin. I didn't want to have what happened the first time happen again which was me not being able to eat, throwing up everything that I tried to, and losing 10 lbs in a matter of 7 days.
Getting to my parents house I immediately felt a little better, not completely but being surrounded by so much love and support was comforting. I even planned a night out with my friend, Cassie, and cousin, Hannah, for the next night thinking that would help. I was still not hungry and food disgusted me though. I had an unsettled feeling in my stomach and my head and back ached. I ended up cancelling the plans with Cassie and Hannah (luckily they were both so understanding and sweet about it) because I just couldn't even imagine leaving the house. I ate a little when I could force it down and slept a lot. I cried and sat on my moms lap while she held onto me and spoke healing words into my life. I spent a lot of that time reflecting on my life and talking to God. I am Christian and fully believe that diving into my faith and surrounding myself with like-minded people during this time of pain has helped the healing process. Saturday evening we went to church to see my cousin and her husband get baptized (WOO! -yes adult baptism-) and the pastor, Heather, talked about Acts 16:25-36. Which essentially just told a story about how sometimes we are put into situations (a prison) to help other people, please feel free to read the story on your own and check out some teachings on it because I'm not a pro or anything, but a lot of times we get caught up in our own issues and forget to look at the bigger picture. It was really heartbreaking for me to share my own story and get so many replies where people shared that they struggle with something similar (also thank you SO much to everyone who reached out to me, literally brought me to tears). However, it really made me think and made me really want to help others. Like I said before, I believe my faith has really been the key reason for my healing. There are so many resources for mental health help but the most comforting thing I have found has been in the Word. This last Sunday as I attended the service, they asked if anyone had anything they wanted to be prayed for and I was one of the many people who stood up (there's no shame in this... everyone deals with their own stuff) so when the prayer was being said and those around me laid hands on me I could feel tension release in my chest and I couldn't help but cry the entire time tears of joy. I felt so much love in that moment and felt so full, it's like nothing else. I'm not trying to push anything on anyone so don't get it twisted, M8s but I do think it would be so selfish of me not to share my story and what has been helping me. As we left the building that day I was so hungry like I hadn't been in a long time and my lunch tasted so good again. What an amazing feeling. As of yesterday, I could eat a little more and my acid reflux from my anxiety was still lingering but I didn't feel like I was faking a smile anymore. Every day it is getting better. I am eating a little more and actually wanting to. I am falling asleep at night with ease and have been able to stay awake throughout the day. The idea of leaving the house is less daunting and I actually got dressed in my normal clothes again (before even putting on pants was a stretch). Writing this blog seemed less and less like a chore and more like something that I wanted to do. Now, I'm not saying things are fine and dandy just like that. It's a process and you don't get to pray over something and it's 100% magically better but I can feel that it's getting better. It's a relationship not religion, and when the earthquake comes I know I can rest in His peace because no matter how alone I feel I'm never alone. There will be good days, there will be bad days but that's ok.
& if you're getting help from a medical professional there is NO shame in that either. These people are a gift to us and whatever helps you is great! Along with my faith, being with my family is helpful to me. They bring so much joy into my life and I am so thankful to have such a loving and caring family that will take me in at my worst. Staying off social media is also helpful to me... sometimes you just need to rest and that can be hard when you have notifications and this and that popping up every 5 seconds. Drinking tea, lavender essential oils, HUGS, big blankets, and spending the day in your PJs--- sometimes just getting dressed is asking way too much. Try to do some exercise like yoga and then meditate afterward. The right people will understand if you need to cancel plans, not everyone knows what this kind of thing is like and that's ok too, but the people that are good for you will still be around and still love you. The people who are pressuring and angry with you just don't get it... but I wouldn't wish this on anyone else so I can forgive them since they just don't know. You need to do what is right for you. Your mental health is so important.
You are so so loved, you are beautiful, you are worth it. You are extremely strong... and crying and letting this out doesn't take that away from you. I am always here to talk and I try to reply in a timely matter to every message that I get. If you need advice, if you just need to vent--- you've got a friend in me.
Always love beyond belief,