The fact that I landed on depression as the topic of this blog is a bit funny to me since I have been suffering from anxiety longer, and much more severely, throughout my life. When therapists ask me how long I’ve had trouble sleeping my general reply is “since I left the womb.” However when I write about anxiety, it’s a much more incomprehensible thing to me.
It manifests in small ways that my close friends have probably noticed; touching my hair and face all the time, clenching my fists, other tics that I sometimes don’t even notice. Internally, I repeat phrases in my head and obsess over every move I’m going to make seemingly forever. In some ways it can be helpful. I obsessively budget, plan out my clothes for the week down to my socks and make plans with friends far in advance. At the same time I can barely make decisions or make decisions haphazardly so I don’t have to deal with the anxiety that I know I’ll build up otherwise. But it’s my life and I’ve worked it out pretty well thus far.
That’s a pretty huge oversimplification of my experience with anxiety. Anxiety attacks, panic attacks, insomnia and manic episodes all happen and are just the worst. I’ve been to the emergency room when I haven’t slept for a week. I’ve had a panic attack on the Esplanade, crying and unable to move, while a nice runner/stranger stopped by to make sure I was ok. I’ve cried in a lot of ubers and still maintained a 4.8 customer rating! This certainly isn’t representative of my day to day but it’s something that happens and up until this point I’ve always made it out the other end.
Anxiety and clinical depression very often intertwined. I don’t know many people who have mental health issues that only deal with one or the other. They often feed into each other, making for an even more fun journey. I’ve had good luck treating anxiety with medication (Celexa for anyone that’s curious) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Treating my depression has always been harder for me because it’s not always there. I’m certainly in a state of depression right now, and given some personal circumstances that I’ll write on later, I will be for a while. So the new goal is learning how to tackle that, which is scary, but luckily for me I have all of the support in the world.