Tag Archives: Anxiety

Changed.

We were talking and joking and I said something that made you both laugh. My comment made you both agree that nothing has changed. That I haven’t changed.

This was a little concerning to me. My mind spun for a moment before I drew myself back.

I haven’t changed? In over a year since you haven’t seen me, nothing has changed? I’m worried by that sentiment because I know where I was a year ago. I’m coming to one of three conclusions:

1.) I hid it a lot better than I thought I did while I knew you. I must have isolated myself to the point where you really don’t see a change in me since then. Maybe I put on some sort of mask when I was with you and didn’t let anything I was feeling leak from me. The anxiousness and irritability and sadness and utter emptiness… Maybe I kept them all and more from you undetected.

2.) Maybe you saw all those things and still see them now. And that’s concerning because I don’t feel them now. At least not as consistently and constantly. I didn’t feel them sitting there with you two days ago. So if you continue to see those things in me, I’m confused as to how.

3.) You ignored everything I’d said to you in the past. You ignored the pain in my eyes and wrote me off. Even when I told you it was there, you still chose to see only the good things I presented. So of course now I look no different. Of course now I sound the same. Because you aren’t listening. You’re choosing what to hear. You wrote off my depression as just me whining or complaining or being pessimistic. A year ago, you were ignoring… me.

You know, the third point is the one I’m afraid is correct. And that sucks. When I was severely depressed, there were a few people around me who … hurt me. Not intentionally. Not maliciously. I would highly doubt they even know.

I had someone reproach me for not getting enough sleep at a time I was afraid to go to sleep because I’d have bad dreams and it would end in me waking up and having to face yet another day. I had someone tell me how much they cared about me only to never make time for me again. I had people talk down to me, belittle me, and offer a lot of challenge and little to no support. When I told someone I’d been hurt by others during that time because of all of this, she replied, “Well, what do you want them to do?” or “What do you expect them to do?” in a condescending tone. I even had someone, after I told him people never cared enough to follow up with me, promise me he would follow up.

He never did.

Now, I don’t know exactly what I needed or wanted from these people. I guess I wanted to know I was cared for. Because they would tell me they did care for me but then there was never any evidence to support that.

I don’t know what my point is. I guess if someone tells you they are depressed or severely depressed, know they chose those words carefully and they know what they mean. Know that talking down to someone is hurtful and makes them feel like you think they’re worthless. Know that when someone tells you something incredibly painful, you should probably follow up, not act like it never happened.

Know that I have changed. In the year since you’ve seen me, I’m not the same person anymore. The depression is mild and the more severe bouts come in waves that are far apart from one another. I’m not drowning anymore. Breathing comes easily a good, fair amount of the time now. I’m not suffocating anymore. There are still incredibly hard days and some of those days turn into weeks. But now the good days outnumber the bad and, when you last were with me, the good days were so few and far between that I couldn’t remember what they tasted like.

I’m afraid that the fact that you don’t see that change means you were never really looking to begin with.

-Melissa

Superwoman.

I think there’s a superwoman in my head.

Really, I do. I think she takes charge and gets stuff done and pushes forward. I think my ideas come from her, my grit comes from her, my strength comes from her.

I think she gets defeated sometimes. I think she goes to battle with the other voices and forces in my head and she looses. Before I know it, she’s buried beneath the debris of the fight and I can’t find her anywhere.

It’s in these moments (or days or weeks) that I’m at a loss. It’s when I find myself taking every possible minute to myself. When I find myself giving all that I can to my job but that’s almost nothing. It’s these moments that I find myself desperately trying to figure out what to do, searching things on the internet like “how to deal with depression at work” and “should you tell your boss you’re depressed.” It’s when I look up therapists in the local area, only to come to the conclusion that I can’t get myself to spend that much money.

I’m tired and I’m sad. This day is no where near over and I can’t find superwoman.

-Melissa

Torment.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

I felt tears growing in my eyes at the words. They were harsh, bitter. I thought about how I could do just that – keep my mouth shut and not infect those around me with my own irritability. I really should just listen and not add anything to the conversation. I mapped out conversations, wondered over how I could successfully deflect, agonized over how unhelpful I’ve been, worried over how much I revealed about myself.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

I couldn’t argue with the words. They were true, weren’t they? I did need to talk less. Everyone would say I needed to talk more but, I mean, what do they know? They don’t know me like I know me. They don’t know my thoughts. They don’t know the kind of person I am. Because what good do my words add? And if they add no good, why say them?

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

And I don’t need to talk. No, people need to be heard. That’s one of the only things people want – to feel heard. So I should give that to them. I should listen. That’s all I should do. Let them talk. Prompt them to talk. Give them my undivided attention. And I should stop giving advice or adding my input; it’s not helpful and they don’t need it. What if it’s even harmful? I should just keep my mouth shut. They don’t need my input. They don’t need me.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

The words, harsh and bitter as they were, were also silent. Your own thoughts often are after all. And, I don’t know what your thought life is like, but mine isn’t always pretty. It’s so interesting to me that, when thoughts like that fly through my mind, no matter how painful, you just… keep moving. You smile, you hold you head high, and you keep walking, even through the torment.

“Just keep your damn mouth shut; they don’t need you or your negativity.”

-Melissa

Professor.

The sky is turning black and the page is blank.

My eyes locked on the darkening window as soft voices drifted in from the open door.

Can you accept something and still be sad?

Ah, yes. Wow, that just connected to far too many parts of my life.

You see, professor, I can’t finish my paper. I can barely lift my hands, let alone a pencil. You see, professor, my head leans against the back of the couch and it’s hard to lift it again. You see, professor, I’m finding it hard to concentrate.

No, professor, I am not tired. Yes, I’ve been getting enough sleep. Yes, I’ve been paying attention (when I can) in class. Yes, you will get your paper on time. No, professor, it will not be my best work. And you see, professor, I can’t care.

You see, professor, this classroom becomes too small. I feel suffocated by the lack of…I don’t know– life? in this classroom. You see, professor, my classmates keep talking about how challenge needs to be paired with support. But you see, professor, they’ve forgotten to pair support with challenge. Professor, their challenges weigh down on me and I fight to not grow bitter against them. Because, you see, professor, they don’t see into my life. They don’t see my loneliness or these days (and days) when I’m unbearably sad. You see, professor, I’m not really close to them. They forget about me. They don’t ask me how I am. And you see, professor, that makes the loneliness so much stronger.

But professor, you don’t see.

And I’ve accepted that this is the way it is for a while. For a while, I will struggle to breathe. I will passively drown. But I wonder if I’ll ever swim again.

I used to be so good at swimming.

Don’t worry, professor. I’ll finish your paper. I’ll make something up. You’ll get it in time.

-Melissa

Dreaming.

I don’t really ever expect to sleep well.

That’s probably not good. I mean, there’s most likely something true about wishful thinking. So I really shouldn’t say things like that. Or then again, maybe I’m too superstitious.

Either way, in saying that, it’s not really a surprise to me that I haven’t slept through the night this week. It hasn’t been bad at all though. Usually I wake up and turn off my mp3 player and then fall back asleep. No big deal. So really, I’ve been sleeping pretty well this week. The actual sleeping hasn’t been a problem.

The problem is the dreaming.

I used to dream a lot, or at least a good amount compared to others I would talk to. And I used to remember a lot of my dreams and analyze them endlessly. I liked that. I wouldn’t mind doing that again.

But I can’t really remember the dreams I’ve had in the past week. It’s more of the fact that I remember the feelings they invoke in me.

How weird does that sound?

I wake up feeling… fearful I think. Maybe a little disgusted. The kind of feeling that makes you shudder. It’s like my mind won’t completely wrap around the feeling, I just know I don’t like it. I also wake up feeling guilty. Like, really guilty. I don’t know why. The first dream had to do with my sister- like I had wronged her in some way and I felt horrible. The first night was the worst. The nights following haven’t been as bad but I’ll remember the feeling randomly later and kind of cringe. I don’t know what set these dreams off. I don’t know why I’m having them. I don’t normally have bad dreams. And these certainly aren’t nightmares by any stretch of the imagination– I mean, clearly, I can’t even remember them. But I don’t feel good when I think about them. I even got kind of anxious thinking about going to bed last night. I didn’t want to deal with another dream. And last night wasn’t fun because of that. I was just watching tv and guilt was consuming me. I couldn’t think of anything to do. I wanted to make something but I don’t have anything to make things with. I finally settled on my drawing pad and a pencil and I doodled designs for over an hour and that helped me calm down a little bit.

I just wish I wasn’t so sensitive to things sometimes. Dreams you can’t even remember shouldn’t effect you.

But I’ve never been prone to make sense.

-Melissa

Two.

I do much better in the daylight.

But it was dark. And cold. All the curtains were drawn so that no one could see in. It was meant to keep them out. But I was kept in. And I was very aware of my heartbeat.

Calm down. You’re fine.

I was fine. I’m fine. I. am. fine. My breath though… it was more shallow than normal. My heart rate was speeding up.

Would you stop? You’re fine. 

Yes, I had to stop. But my head felt funny. I couldn’t think straight. Why couldn’t I breathe like a normal person? Why could I feel my heartbeat so clearly? Am I okay? What should I do? I can’t sit hear anymore. Pacing. No stop. I’m fine. Am I safe here? I can’t stand anymore. Sitting. The floor.

For goodness sake. You’re fine. You know you’re fine. You’re being dramatic. Just breathe.

Just breathe… I can’t! I can’t get enough air. Why is my breath so shallow? Aren’t I breathing? My chest hurts. Should I… call someone? Text someone? What would I even sa–

No! You are fine. You are in control. You do not need to get a hold of anyone. No one would be able to do anything anyway. And you know that it’s no big deal! You’re working yourself up for nothing! It’s all in your head. You are fine! Pull yourself together. Why are you so dramatic?! Just breathe like a normal person!

How do I calm down? I want something… comforting. Something warm.

Tea.

Tea… Tea. Do I have tea? Why didn’t I bring tea! Why didn’t I bring enough of anything?! I’m supposed to be more prepared than this!

Your backpack. Are there still some tea bags in your backpack?

Backpack…. Yes! There’s tea. Lemon.

Good. Go make it and calm down.

Calm down.

Calm down.

-Melissa

Outburst.

You know what absolutely sucks? Leaving bad things behind.

It’s not that part that sucks, really. It’s the fact that when you leave bad things behind, you inevitably leave good things behind too. And the good things.. let’s be honest- not things, people. When you leave the good people behind, they don’t really know why you left. They don’t know how much the bad things hurt you or how much it hurts to leave the good people. They don’t understand the pain that fills you when you think about going back. They don’t know you can’t let yourself think about them because it hurts much too much to do so. They don’t know how much you had to fake it or the kind of front you put up just so you’d survive.

And then you feel bad because you left them behind. And you know, you know, you know, you know, that you can’t go back. And you can’t do that again. And it’s the reason part of you is dead. It’s a piece of you that your body literally would do better without because it’s trying to infect the parts of you that are still alive. But still. You feel bad. Because you were good. You just had to be so freaking good to some people that now that you’re gone, they miss you. And leaving people like that really isn’t in your job description because you know what it’s like. And you want to be there for everyone if only they weren’t there. You know, that place you can’t go because… well you don’t know why.

But you know that you have to go back soon and the thought strikes you with fear and makes you crazy. Because why would you want to return to a place that saw so much of your pain? Why would you want to return to a place that stole hours and hours and hours from you that you’ll never get back? A place filled with emotion and pain and hurt but also with comfort because, hell! it’s all you knew for four years of your life. But at some point, a home turned into a prison and, for crying out loud, you still can’t figure out which one is it.

You just feel bad because you left all the good things along with all of the bad things. And you just wonder how long they’re going to keep hurting you.

-Melissa