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Forums / Staying well / Trying to win the fight-My story...

Topic: Trying to win the fight-My story...

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. sammi3110
    sammi3110 avatar
    1 posts
    15 April 2013

    This isn't about getting sympathy or hoping people will feel sorry for me. It's about telling my story.

    My story I am sure is similar to others, but anyone who has suffered anxiety & depression knows that no one in the world can truly know exactly what you feel or think, what monsters hide in the cupboards of your mind, what creepy crawlies scatter through your everyday thoughts. For me, it didn't just happen, nothing horrible happened to me, no traumatic life changing experience bought it on, I guess over time it just gnawed it's way into my life until it got so unbearable that I had no other choice but to face it.

     

    I was first diagnosed with depression when I was 16, it feels so long ago now that I can barely remember it all happening. I know I didn't want to go to school, I cried most days and found it extremely hard to concentrate. I was drinking, smoking and doing drugs, like all teenagers do but I guess I was pushing the limits a bit. I was on a medication for 6 months but due to the excessive drinking etc I found that it made me feel worse so I stopped taking them. Over the years I got more into partying, binge drinking and taking drugs most weekends and sometimes to get me through the weeks. I was constantly striving for some form of attention or acceptance whether that was through friendships, work, family or relationships. I was in bad relationships with men who did not at all help my already crumbling self esteem. I remember feeling lost all the time, like I was wondering this earth with no idea of where to go or what to do. I made it worse by masking my issues with smiles and laughter. I was a social butterfly and whilst I felt so totally alone, I had a million friends. Life continued like this for some time until the breakdown of another toxic relationship forced me to realise that I couldn't live like this anymore. I packed my bags and moved home to my parents where I hoped to find myself a little and reboot.

     

    It took me months to put weight back on that I had lost, to rebuild my self esteem, to see the light in most days, to really feel like I had a purpose or that I was worth something. I still wasn't in the place I wanted to be but at least I started to climb out of the deep hole I had been in for many years. During this time I met someone very special. He made me find the light in myself that had gone out many years before. I felt alive and like I was on a natural high everyday so both with our own baggage we started a relationship which I am happy to say still continues today.

     

    Don't be fooled in to thinking that I was cured and that I lived happily ever after. This wasn't the case. Depression & Anxiety followed me into my new happy light filled life. It sat quietly dormant in the corners of my mind while I laughed and smiled and enjoyed all of the new experiences coming my way with my new best friend. It sat there waiting for the perfect time to launch it's full attack. Just when I couldn't be more happy or content, I tripped and fell into that big black hole. The hole that makes you analyze everything, question your life, your relationship, your career and mostly yourself. The hole that makes you push people away, makes you feel so hateful towards yourself that you don't even want to look at yourself in the mirror. The hole that makes you not want to get out of bed in the mornings, makes you cry at the drop of a hat and the hole that grinds your thoughts away until you can't even think rationally anymore.

     

    This episode was so much worse for me because I was happy and sad at the same time. I couldn't have been more content with my life and I had a great partner who I wanted to be with forever yet I couldn't get a grasp of myself emotionally and mentally. I was so confused as to why this was happening, why was I so sad when I had not one reason to be sad at all. I had minor anxiety through out my younger years but mostly was able to control it and push through but I found that my anxiety levels started going through the roof. I found it hard to make friends, I found it hard to make the effort to go for lunch or dinner with the friends I already did have. I stopped answering calls and responding to texts, I didn't want to go do anything anymore. It was one of the hardest times of my life. Not only was I suffering but I was putting a major strain on my partner. He didn't understand depression and didn't understand why I couldn't 'just snap out of it'. He struggled most days to have a normal conversation with me because I was always accusing him of not loving me or constantly asking for reassurance. For reasons I still don't know, he stayed with me. For that I am forever grateful.

     

    One day I finally crumbled in a heap on my bedroom floor. I was home alone but felt more alone than I ever had in my life. I cried and cried and cried until I could not even open my eyes anymore. I looked in the mirror and wanted to die. Not literally take my life, but I wanted to disappear, I wanted to just not think or feel or be this way anymore. I knew I was bordering suicidal which really really scared the shit out of me. I did NOT want to be that person. I called Lifeline and spoke to a lady, we spoke for about an hour. We spoke about everything, she made me realise I wasn't alone and made me realise that there was help out there. She told me to book an appointment with a doctor and helped me through my own thoughts until I finally could see and understand what I needed to do to save myself and to save my relationship. I booked a doctor appointment and was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety and was prescribed medicine(again). I walked out of the doctors feeling good, feeling like I had just taken the first step to life again. To actually being a human again. I started the tablets and had a pretty rocky start, it is really true about what they say...'it gets worse before it gets better'. The tablets made me extremely unwell, made me dizzy, made me feel high and stopped me from sleeping for some time. But after about 3-4 weeks I started to see a change. I wasn't crying as much, I wasn't over analyzing every situation and my partner and I weren't fighting. I started feeling positive about my direction in life and wanted to keep improving. I started exercising and eating healthy and I really did start to feel genuinely happy with everything. It was the most amazing feeling and something I dont think I remembered feeling for years. Many people criticize medication but for me it turned my life around. I even started to help friends of mine through some dark times in their lives by offering support, a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to that understood exactly what it felt like to be in such a dark place.

     

    I basically felt like I had finally overcome my depression and anxiety and that I had full control of my life and my emotions. There were still days I would get down but I would be down just for that day, not for weeks and weeks to follow. I often found myself pushing negative thoughts out of my head and looked for the positive ones. I finally had control

     

    Or so I thought!

     

    Today I sit here, with puffy eyes from crying, a sore throat and runny nose from sniffling myself to sleep, and that horrible numb feeling I know all to well. It has snuck up on me again. I feel like running and hiding but I know wherever I go it will be right behind me. I am wondering how this happened. My life is going in the exact direction I want it to, I have a million things to look forward to and yet I can feel that sadness, stress and anxiety feeling wash over me. It crept in a few weeks ago and although not obvious to me has been obvious to all the people I care about around me. The irrational thoughts started, the irritability started, the mood swings kicked in, the insomnia begun and that fucked up feeling of I hate myself jumped straight back up on that horse.

     

    I am scared because I dont want to have to go through this all again. I am terrified that maybe this time I might push people to the limit and mostly I am scared of what permanent damage I am going to do to myself and to the relationships around me. How did I get here again? What is wrong with me? Why is this happening to me? Why dont people understand how hard a life like this is? Why cant I be normal?  What am I supposed to do? Someone please make it go away?.....these are some of the thoughts that are running through my head right now. But the main question I have right now is.How many times am I going to fall before I cant get back up again.

     

    I am trying to fight my way through the negative thoughts, and I am hoping I can beat this episode like I beat the last one. I feel stronger than I felt last time but does that mean my depression and anxiety is stronger too? I try to look forward and to all the amazing wonderful things in my life and they do offer some comfort but am I going to lose all these things?.....I guess time will tell. I am back to reading and researching as much information as I possibly can on depression and anxiety but mostly on depressive episodes. I can see that depression and anxiety is something that never really goes away for the sufferer, they just have to find ways to defend themselves when they feel it creeping in. I guess that I am trying to accept that this is something I am going to have forever. Its something that I have to live with forever and ever and that thought scares the shit out of me. I dont want to have to struggle through every day. And although most days are fine, the bad days are so horrible that I wouldnt wish them upon my worst enemy.

     

     

    Today is a bad day but I only hope tomorrow is a good one. I am scared but prepared to get through this again. I got my ammo and Im ready to fight. I know I am a good person deep down. Depression & Anxiety might be a part of me but I am determined to not let it rule me.

  2. HighlandGirl
    HighlandGirl avatar
    30 posts
    15 April 2013 in reply to sammi3110

    Hi Sammi, I have only just realized that my illness is a fluctuating one too.  I think it's rare for anyone to be on an even keel.  It's important to realize that we are doing ok even when the illness rears its head; as long as we seek the help we need then things will improve again.  I think I can cope some days much better than others and I've got mood fluctuations that cycle fairly rapidly now.  I can clearly see that my behavior isn't due to my personality per se, but due to my illness changing the way I view the world around me and therefore colouring and impairing my judgement.  It's not something I choose - it's not something I'd want anyone else to go through if I could prevent it for them.  But I've learnt that I'm not a bad person - I'm unwell, and in realizing this, it has helped a little. 

    I've just been granted the Disability Support Pension after being on the dole for 18 months with a reduced work capacity.  I am very relieved as being made to work and job-search when I'm not well has been very stressful but so has the lack of money - it's been a vicious cycle of feeling pressured to work to survive but being too sick to work enough hours to get by.  So I fell in a heap again and asked for more support. 

    Unlike you though, I did have a number of really horrific things happen to me which over time, caused my illness to grow and develop.  But I would have been prone to it anyway as I have a strong family history of psychiatric illness (both parents, my sibling, two grandparents and a cousin all have depression and anxiety disorders).  I'm seeing a new psychiatrist next week and I hope with his help, I can start to really process and get over the trauma that I suffered...because I'd like to move on from it as best I can...so far nothing has helped with getting past some of, ok most of, what I've been through. 

  3. geoff
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15562 posts
    16 April 2013 in reply to sammi3110

    dear Sammi, well it would nice to offer you sympathy and to feel sorry for you, I know that's not why you posted here, but after reading your story, you are certainly entitled to it. People here need to know that we were once in the same spot as you or anyone else, and unfortunately I didn't have a pc when I was depressed so I knew nothing about this site, I wish I did.

    We all have different ways of how we can try to numb our depression, mine was alcohol, but I didn't do the other things that you did, maybe that's by chose or availability.

    Depression can happen because of circumstances, or it can gnaw away at you, just like it has for you. Your letter is very well documented, and the general basics of it seems to happen to all of us. When we meet someone new and this relationship clicks straight away the depression is still there but it's hidden under the love we have for someone, this love or devotion holds our depression for re-surfacing, it's still a fragile situation though, and after a while the depression is too strong, our hand can't keep it down, and slowly it begins to raise it's ugly head again, your partner can't seem to know why you have suddenly changed, maybe nothings happened or maybe something small may have occurred, but isn't too small for you to get depressed, that would seem to be absurd and stupid, 'why are you depressed it's nothing important, don't be so stupid'. They just don't understand anything about this illness.

    Contacting Lifeline was a terrific decision because it could make you understand again that you needed help, and it's important to realise that when we are bouncing up and down from depression and that we finally start to feel better, is that WE DO slip backwards and then regain ourselves again, and that it would be unusual to overcome this illness straight away, with out any hiccups. I don't know how many times my psychologist said to me 'you look good today', or 'you seem to coping OK', but then bang down I would fall, this happened to me for a few years, and I'm only speaking for myself and what happened to me, others may not have had to endue these years.

    Sammi today is a bad day for you, but your hoping that tomorrow maybe another day and that this could be better, to me means that your on your way to recovery, and I certainly hope so. Please keep in contact with us, I would like to know how you are getting on. L Geoff.

  4. Kitty
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Kitty avatar
    10 posts
    16 April 2013 in reply to sammi3110

    Thank you for sharing your story Sammi. I see what you are saying in your last comments. Depression and anxiety are a part of us - but they are not who we are. We are not "depressed" people - depression is something that we have to cope with at different times in our lives. 

    I am currently experiencing an 'episode' - i think that is a good way to describe it. when you put everything down in writing you can look back at it from a different perspective. You realise there are many good times, and many times when depression doesn't have its terrible hold over you. I too have battled episodes in the past - and managed to climb over that mountain and down the other side again. Where everything seems to go back to normal, everyone thinks you are all okay. But then it rears its ugly head again. 

    Im feeling this is one of my worst times. Today is an okay day - the last couple of days were not. I got nothing done. Well, i shouldn't say that. I am managing i suppose. The kids are fed, the animals are fed. There are clean clothes to wear and dishes to eat off. My kids got to school. Today i am in a different place. But then i know it can come crashing back down again. That scares me. 

    Sammi, keep going. Go back to those things that helped you before. Don't listen to people who are negative about medication - or whatever treatment it is that we try. Everyone is different, and every persons depression and anxiety manifests in different ways. What is going to work for one person might not help another. But we shouldn't judge them (or be judged ourselves). I am trying meditation. I want to change my diet, but my mind cant get around that at the moment and I am leaning towards what is easy. 

    Thanks again for sharing. Having forums like this helps too, other people just get it. Their journey might be different, but their awareness is just that little bit closer to your own.

      

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