Simply Nerdy Mom: The Truth About Anxiety & Depression

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Truth About Anxiety & Depression



What exactly does anxiety and depression do to you? I think the more appropriate question would be, what doesn't it do to you? Everyone has suffered through depression or anxiety at one point in their life. For the lucky ones, it goes away; for us unlucky ones, we are stuck with it for life. Constantly trying to manage it and a lot of the time, trying to hide it. 



What is it really like to battle within yourself daily? The truth is, it's a mess, but we have become so use to it; mastering the art of acting "normal". 


It's Physical
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Anxiety and Depression aren't just mentally draining, it's physically draining. Days when you cannot get out of bed or off the couch, and it's not because you are lazy, it's because you literally cannot move. Your muscles ache, you get headaches, you are more prone to getting sick, you lack any energy at all, and you often get chest pains. Let's not forget that your physical appearance suffers as well. Goodbye clear skin. Hello dark rings and under eye sagging. You look like a zombie and feel like you are falling apart. It ages you. I noticed this in myself so much, that I did a before and after photo comparison one day. In one year's time, I looked like I had aged 8-10 years. My hair was no longer healthy and smooth; my skin wasn't either. You also either don't eat at all, or you eat more than you should and things that you shouldn't. Sometimes you yo-yo between the two. There's drastic weight loss or weight gain. 


It's a Vicious Cycle of Highs and Lows
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Some days are so decent that you almost forget you have it. You start to feel normal again and everything is right with the world. That is until it's not. Anxiety and Depression can hit you like a ton of bricks and knock you out for an undisclosed amount of time with absolutely no warning what-so-ever that it's coming to visit. I call it my dark passenger. While my dark passenger is nothing like Dexter's, it's still there. Always along for the ride in the backseat. Sometimes it speaks up briefly and quietly before sitting back and enjoying the ride again. Other times it crawls front and center and takes the wheel. Really anything is fair game for your dark passenger. It will have you angry for no reason, crying for no reason, hysterical for no reason, and sick with worry for no reason. Those high points, though? They end up being the points in your life that you remember the most. If for anything other than because you finally have a moment that wasn't ruined by your illness. 


It Effects Everyone Around You
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Yes, it effects you the most, but have you thought about what it does to everyone around you? Your co-workers, spouse, kids, even friends and neighbors are all effected by your illness. Listen, it took me a long time to realize this myself because sometimes it's just not that clear. My husband would come home from work and sense I was feeling some type of way and knew there was nothing he could do about it. That bothered him. It stressed him out just as much as it did me. Think about what it must do to children as well. The people around you can pick up on your feelings even when you try to hide them. Have you ever worked with someone who was always in a bad mood, and even if you didn't work with them directly, it still put a damper on the entire work environment? That's how anxiety and depression effects those around you. Your energy resonates to others. They can sense it and if it's someone you are particularly close to emotionally, it can hurt them. Even physically. Consider what stress, anxiety, and depression does to your body. It will do that the ones you love that worry about you. 


Forget Sleep
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Do you remember what it was like to sleep peacefully and wake up refreshed? Yeah, me either. That's what it does to you, and unfortunately it can get far worse than anyone could ever imagine. You can suffer from insomnia so badly that you'll be lucky if you get an hour of sleep in a 4 day period. You can take melatonin or other sleep aids, but they don't really work. Then the next day you need to up your caffeine intake to stay awake because you are sluggish from lack of sleep. If you do manage to get some sleep, it's not quality sleep. You'll still wake up tired and fatigued. So you end up rotating between sleep aids and energy supplements daily. Universe forbid you end up in a manic state. Sure, you'll have all this energy all of a sudden, but you'll crash super hard. I've been there. The longest I have went through a manic state was 4 days. 4 days straight of no sleep and an odd increase in energy. When I finally came down out of it, I slept for almost a full 24 hours, and even so, it just restarted the cycle for me. 


The Things People Say 
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Stop me if you've heard this one before: 
"Have you ever tried just relaxing and clearing your mind?"

Sure, some people mean well with their suggestions, but I mean come on! We've tried everything. Then there are those who will try to use your anxiety and depression against you, because they are just crappy human beings.

 "She won't do XYZ because she's mentally ill. She's admitted it herself!"  

Like having anxiety and depression is somehow such a terrible thing that it's almost used as a derogatory statement to make you seem like a terrible person, and universe forbid you admit to having it! Those crappy human beings also come in the form of people who don't even believe that your anxiety and depression are a real thing.

 "You're obviously doing it for attention." 

Assuring people that you would never choose to suffer like this is pointless. Most just don't get it. You think how great it must be to have never experienced such a low point. Truth is, as I said before, every person has at one time or another, some of us just never truly rid ourselves of it and get back to the way we were before. It's a chemical imbalance in your brain, but you can't tell other's that. If you do, they start to treat you like you should be locked up. 


Plans Change
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Good luck having any sense of a normal life outside of your illness. You'll make plans to go somewhere or do something and your dark passenger will rear it's ugly head. Before you know it, you are hyperventilating and canceling said plans. You really want to go shopping with your best friend, but then your anxiety starts to talk to you from the shadows and reminds you that you don't do well in public. You can't leave your house. Your anxiety has you chained up inside your own mind, and you cannot escape it. It's even more of a struggle when anxiety's friend, depression, is in on the torture. 


The truth about anxiety and depression is that it's some of these things, it's all of these things, or sometimes it's things that aren't even listed here. It changes more than the seasons and it isn't ever going away. So we learn to live with it as best as we can. 

4 comments:

  1. This is such an amazing post. I've had someone very close to me struggling with depression and I understand how awful it can be. Thank you for such an important post x

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  2. I love this post things like this need to be said so people can understand what people who suffer from anxiety and depression go through! X

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  3. This is such a good post and on a topic I can definitely relate to :) xx

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  4. Absolutely love this post as depression is something I've struggled with and even more so since starting university! I relate to the plans change part so much, I've tried overcome it, doing better but I know with time things will get better hopefully.
    With Love Yossy x

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