Thursday, August 2, 2018

My Anxiety and Depression...

have reared their ugly heads once more.  Its the reason I've been MIA on my blog.  I've found myself feeling rather blue and riddled with nerves. And I've hated every minute of it. I'm not even sure how it began, but it did and it wouldn't leave me alone for quite some time. I started going to a therapist and at first I thought it was helping. I figured that talking about it and learning coping methods would help.  But then I realized that it really wasn't helping, so I quit going. As for medication to help combat my depression and anxiety...well, they didn't work out like I had hoped. The one for my blue mood resulted in the WORST day of my life ever, so I swore I would never take it again. And when I say WORST day, I mean, like that I honestly thought I was going to die and that terrified me beyond anything.  Of course, this brings me to my anxiety medication - clonazepam. I didn't want to take it, because I'd heard so many scary things about it.  Except, I had to do something, since I was having panic attacks all the time.  So, I took a little bit of the pill and it seemed to help. I realized that I didn't have to be scared of the clonazepam, so I took the whole dose and let me just say - whoa, nelly! I felt completely out of it, drowsy, and beyond mellow. It was frightening that a pill could make me forget my anxieties, but at the same time make me feel doped up. Cripes! I didn't like it one bit. So, I stopped taking the clonazepam after about a month.

The weird thing is that about the time I was getting frustrated with my therapist and the meds, I had started to read Joel Osteen's books.  My mom is a huge fan of his and she is always suggesting I read his books. Well, I finally started to read them and let me just say - I wish I hadn't waited so long.  I've watched his sermons on TV from time to time and I've always enjoyed them. I get his daily devotionals delivered to my inbox every day.  And, I even went to his church in Houston, TX and got the opportunity to meet him. So, I suppose that I've always been a bit of a fan, too. I just never got around to reading his books.   Anyhow, right about the time I was feeling really low and super anxious, I picked up one of his books and started reading. The more I read, the more my mind became focused and it felt like a fog was lifting.  I started to feel more positive and optimistic about my life and future. 

Joel's books are about positive thinking and they were exactly what I needed (and still need).  His words made me realize that my depression is not a forever state of mind.  I don't have to live an unhappy life.  He made me see that I was not living my life, I was merely existing.  I was too busy dwelling on the negative and letting my anxiety take over to fully understand that I was the one stopping myself from doing well in my own life.  It was like something in my brain just clicked and ever since then I've felt more like myself.  I started to see my depression as an infection that needs to get wiped out.  I realized that my depression is temporary and rooted in fear - fear which is "false evidence appearing real".  I started to think about my life and how I used to want so many things out of it and how I had stopped wanting those things. I had just resigned myself to living a depressed life.  I couldn't believe that I had allowed myself to accept that label "depressed" and allowed it to stick.  I was shocked and disappointed in myself.  And then I realized that I could change my narrative. I could tackle these feelings head on.  Being anxious and depressed was something I was going through right now, but it was not my future.  Nope, my future was bright and filled with all of my dreams - writing short novels, buying a house in a small town, falling in love and getting married.  Dreams that have stayed with me for so long, because they are still what I want.  I realized that just because my life had veered off the path that I had drawn up for myself when I was in my early twenties, didn't mean that my dreams had to end  - it just meant that I would get to them a little later than I had originally planned and that was just fine by me. 

Once I started to see my depression as an infection and started looking toward my future with optimism, I've found myself able to bat away my anxiety a bit more easily.  These past few months have been really hard and emotional, but I feel like I am on the right path and that I'm ready to help myself move forward. I definitely plan on finding a new therapist, because I do think it would be helpful to have someone to talk about all of this with.  Especially, since I've come to realize that learning about my AIH (a life-threatening illness) at 23 seriously fucked up my mental state - like, finding out that it was a really rare disease and that someone had died from it at 45. Talk about freaking me out about my own future.  I've also come to see that my self-esteem is not up to par and hasn't been for some time.  So, yeah, I have some issues to work through - plus, I do think they contributed to my depression and anxiety over the years.  Suffice it to say, you can see that my mind has been on more than just books lately. 

Now, don't worry, bookish posts will start to come again soon enough. I have never stopped reading during this time, I've just found myself reading in spurts instead of regularly.  I'm just happy, that I've been able to keep reading - books are my refuge and I've needed them so much these past few months. My blog will still be about books, but I might occasionally throw in a personal post or two.  Anyhow, I just wanted to share where I've been and catch you up. 

Thanks for reading this post.


Ti said...

Aw hon, it's rough. I know. I wish you had reached out. I know you've mentioned the anxiety before but seriously, if you ever need to just blurt stuff out, I am a very good listener. The problem with depression is that you eventually get to a point where you can't help yourself or you feel like you can't, anyway. No blame should be placed on the victim because it's just like any other illness... it takes over if it's not stopped but sometimes you don't have the means at that point in time to do much about it. Just "keeping yourself afloat" ends up being a good day and what measure is that for a good life?

Depression is an illness and it often needs medication. It's a chemical imbalance. I think it takes a really good doc to find the right dosage to address your particular needs though. Someone with a careful hand, someone who is in-tune with her/his patients will figure this out. You just haven't found the right doc yet.

It's interesting that you turned a corner after reading those books. Everyone always says to hand it over to God but it's true. He already knows the outcome of your situation. You just have to be comfortable enough to do it.

I'm here for you. I can't wait to see what happens in this chapter of your life.

Lark said...

Sorry you've had such a rough go lately. Depression and anxiety run in my family, too, so I know a little tiny bit of what you've been going through. I'm glad, though, that you've found something that helps! I like a lot of what Osteen preaches. His positive messages are something we all need more of. I hope they continue to help and that life brightens up for you. Your blog is one of my favorites; I love your posts and chatting with you about books. Hang in there! I'll be sending good thoughts your way and keeping you in my prayers. :D

Brandie said...

Nadia, first of all, thank you for sharing this. I know it's not easy and what you've been going through is so hard. It means a lot that you're sharing this with us. I've thought about you several times the past month and I'm glad to see that you found something that is helping you. That is so wonderful. You are SO deserving of a wonderful life and I hope you continue to know that. Have you picked up Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis? That book helped me and I think it has a similar message. I'm just really glad to see your post and hear that you're doing okay.

Lisa said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you've been going through this. I would never push meds on anyone but do know that there are a lot of different meds for depression and anxiety; different ones work for different people. My daughter took one that after three days actually made her suicidal - which came on in just a few hours, very scary. The meds she's on now don't solve the problems entirely but they help. And the rest is much of what you're doing - working to rewire your brain by the way you think about things. Best of luck to you as you find what works best for you!

Bellezza said...

Nadia, my friend, you are so very brave to share this so openly. Depression is so destructive, sent from the enemy straight from th depths of heal. I love how you recognize that we are in charge of our own narrative, and ultimately, I believe, our Father watches over us. May He bless you and keep you as you continue to find your path. My love to you, Nadia.

Nadia said...

Thank you so much for all of your supportive, encouraging and kind words. They mean so much to me and really touched my heart. Life has been so hard lately and I'm just so grateful that you all read my post and responded with such kindness. You are the best! Thank you!

Nadia said...

Ti, thank you so so much. You are such a great friend. I know you are there for me and for that I'm grateful. I've booked an appointment with a new therapist, so we will see what happens. I'll definitely keep you posted. And I really appreciate what you wrote - thank you!

Lark, thank you. I love your blog and chatting with you about books, too :) I'm happy to have found another fan of Osteen :) I'm really enjoying his books, they really seem to connect with me at the moment. I find myself nodding along to so many passages - its crazy :) Thanks so much for the prayers - I really appreciate it.

Brandie, thank you so much! I love what you wrote, it made my heart smile. Sounds like I need to add another book to my TBR pile :)

Lisa, thanks so much for sharing with me about your daughter. That is beyond scary. I'm so glad she has found meds that are able to help her. I wish her the best. And, I know you are right - some meds will help, while others won't. Its a journey trying to find the right ones. I'm meeting with a new therapist soon, so we will see what happens next. So far, I'm really trying to rewire my brain to push out the negative and focus on the positive. Thank you!!

M, dear friend, thank you. I'm with you and believe that He watches over us. So, I know I'm in good hands :) Thank you so much for your kind words. XO