I’m holding my breath as if it were going to be my last. I’m pushing my lungs to feel the pressure of the air held deep inside of me. I’m holding my breath tightly to remind myself that I’m still alive because the numbness inside of me is taking over. I slowly allow the warm air to escape my partly opened lips. My bright blue-green eyes are now blood-shot and swollen from the tears that I can no longer fight from flowing down my face. They steam down my cheeks leaving behind a muddy trail of mascara in its path. My eyelids are clutched down while begging my mind for mercy from all of this anxiety. Flashes of images from memories flow through my mind like a slow motion picture. My broken heart remembers each and every scar left behind as the motion picture plays on.
I grasp the steering wheel so tight that my knuckles begin to turn white and my fingertips start to tingle. Re-feeling each memory like they were all yesterday, I remember why I swore to keep my heart protected from ever being broken again. I have kept it locked away and it has only grown colder and harder everyday. My heart has had all the loving it can stand to experience. It can’t take another good-bye, another broken promise or another disappointment. You can not comprehend what it feels like to go through your entire life with absolutely no support from any of those around you that should have been there for you. What it is to feel utterly alone and loneliness is the only thing you truly know.
My mind has gone into an emotional self-defense and it is my heart that I can no longer trust. I don’t want to feel anything and the numbness inside of me has began to wear thin. My body trembles when I lay down in my bed feeling the warmth from the blanket that is doing nothing for the coldness I feel. I hold onto a pillow like a life support device and cry uncontrolled tears until my eyes finally find sleep. That night I dream of a daddy who didn’t leave us or beat us, a mommy who was there for us and didn’t have addiction problems, sexual abuse that happened to many times and of the death of my oldest son Dylan. When 3:30am rolls around my eyes open and I’m not sure if it is because I can’t handle my nightmares or the restlessness now taking over.
As I crawl out of the bed I feel fragile and in need of strength. I tell myself that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I remind myself how far I have come and that those days are behind me. I am reminded that I have two children to live for. I’m healing myself day by day, rediscovering myself and mending the scars left behind. I find much needed daily motivation in the fact that I’m starting over, I’m stronger than anything I have dealt with and will not let anything hold me back.
The reason why I am sharing this experience is so that others can understand what it feels like a little bit to deal with anxiety and depression. This does no justice to extreme anxiety attacks, but it is a small glance at what it kind of feels like.
I have suffered from anxiety and depression off and on for many years. Each day that passes it’s getting slowly better. For most people, they cannot imagine what serious anxiety and depression feels like. They can’t fathom why people struggle from anxiety or depression or why we can’t just flip a switch to turn it off. They don’t understand the emotional struggle that we are challenged with. To them, everyone experiences hardships, disappointments and heartache. Sadly, a lot of people have no compassion for others who struggle with mental health disorders. They can’t have compassion for something they do not fully understand.
Everyday I have to force myself to process my feelings, emotions, moods, and daily experiences. I force myself to step out of my shoes, so I can fully see the complete picture. To look for at least one positive thing that I can take away or learn from. I surround myself with positive and uplifting things. I have removed everything and anyone who impacts me negatively. Negative and positive attitudes are both contagious. I take responsibility for my own happiness and life, so I choose to fight for the type of life I deserve. I tell those fighting this frightening and very lonely battle that it does get easier. The struggle will remain for a long period of time, but it is a common disorder and treatable. I still have anxiety attacks and moments where I feel physically and emotionally drained. Now when I say drained, I mean more than just tired. It is an overwhelming, irrational dread of waking up and just dealing with whatever life is going to throw at you. It’s the kind of drained where you have no interest or motivation to deal with whatever is already on your plate. Depression and anxiety disorders are when you physically and mentally feel broken, discouraged, hopeless, sad, lost and alone.
I would highly recommend those dealing with this struggle to seek help. Obtain a primary care doctor to explain your symptoms. A doctor can assist treating you and if needed medication may be required. They can also assist with different types of therapy. There are different support groups and many resources available in most communities and/or online.