I've been gone for a long time.
It's already November and it hit me the other day, that we passed the 1-year day for when my depression "started". I put started in "-" because depression isn't really something that you get from one day to the other. It's a long process. I'm not sure why I've been so embarrassed to talk about it. Usually I just talk about it as me being "sick for a while" which isn't wrong at all, but I feel that it's a little misleading. And I spoke of it that way on purpose because I was ashamed. Not only of letting my illness get that far but also because I feel weak for giving into it. Now, 9 months into recovery, I can tell you - with a smile on my face - that I am doing so much better.
I was diagnosed in January 2014 with severe depression triggered by stress - I was MISERABLE, suicidal and just a complete wreck. I lost a lot of weight and I looked awful. If you follow me on YOUTUBE, you may have noticed that I deleted my most recent vlog - for the mere reason that I felt really uncomfortable watching it. I thought I was doing really well when I made that video, but looking back now I was not myself. I looked terrible. I looked sick, and it scared the shit out of me to see that. So I got rid of it.
I started therapy in the beginning of February and it was a struggle to gather the courage to open up to my therapist and just let it all go. However, I set my mind to NOT giving up. I refused to live a life that miserable. I refused to hate myself and I refused to be ashamed of me. I wanted to rid myself of the pressure that I'd put on myself, I wanted to smile again and enjoy being with friends and family. My ultimate low was on New Year's Eve 2013, and I will never forget that night. That was when it really dawned on me that I needed help.
I've come a long way for the past 9 months and I'm finally ready to tell you all what has been going on. I suffered from severe stress and depression, I had daily panic attacks and I was unable to perform normal daily tasks - even figuring out what to eat was stressful to me, so I usually ended up not eating at all; causing me to lose the weight. I was punishing my mind and punishing my body for something that was never my fault. I always had a tendency to be very much in my own head, but when you finally stick your sensors out of your head, out into the world.. it's fucking terrifying! All those feelings that I was never aware of! The way people behaved, how social conduct was done, all the things you weren't allowed to say or do or feel because "oh no, that's politically incorrect". Well you know what? FUCK THAT.
A huge part of my recovery has been to stop "earning" things that made me happy. I have a slight OCD that causes me to have to have all chores done for the day before I am allowed to say; watch TV or eat food. I still feel that way a lot of times, but I've gotten better at saying "Hey? Why the fuck do I need permission to do things that I like to do and that make me happy?" And the thing is - I DON'T. It's this weird idea that I somehow planted in my own head.
The OCD part isn't the only thing that's gotten better. I've become much better at avoiding situations that make me uncomfortable. This is especially important because my anxiety is still pretty bad. I used to not really have much anxiety at all. Of course I'd get elevated heart rate and sweaty palms when speaking in public, but never to the extent I'm at now. I went to the doctor's today and the verdict on my current condition?
I went from stress-induced, severe depression
- to moderate anxiety
I knew that I had anxiety (the severe panic attacks spoke for themselves) but I never knew that it was actually this bad. However, looking back at the type of things I avoid in order to keep my anxiety in check? Yeah, those should've been a clue, alright. There are many things that I am able to do because of therapy, taking time off from uni, finding a new, better job etc. But there are also many things that will take me a long time to be able to do again. Maybe months, maybe years. Either way, while it's really difficult for me, I'm gonna have to be patient about it.
I'm not really sure why I'm telling you this. Maybe I needed to get it off my chest. It helped a little, at least. Hue hue. For so long I was really embarrassed about this whole ordeal, but after getting the results in today that I now have moderate anxiety. Yeah.. recovery is not easy - but it's damn worth it! I can't remember the last time I was this happy. I have a very particular system when it comes to managing my time between uni, work and friends. Admittedly I love working, going to class and then coming home and being just myself. If you've never hated yourself full on for years on end, I don't think you'll understand how big an accomplishment it is for me to actually be able to tolerate my own company. I enjoy my solitude. Not in a depressing way, but in a "I'm good enough to hang with"-kind of way... if that makes sense....? I don't dread the silence or the lack of people present anymore. Actually, people being around makes me more anxious than being alone does. Ahh~ now all I need is a cat :') *side-eyes mom* (Hehe, she won't let me get one. I live on my own and am an adult, but I respect my parents' opinions on things a lot.. so yeah)
Also, speaking of my parents, I guess this is a great opportunity to thank them. Not only thank them for helping me seek help, but for providing the help and support I needed, when I was still in denial about being depressed and in serious need of help. They picked up the pieces of me when I was literally scattered all over the floor and put me back together. I would not have been here if it wasn't for them, and I'm not sure that they know that. So mom and dad; I thank you. From the bottom of my heart I want you to know that you saved my life. No words will ever be enough to express the love and gratitude I have for you and what you've done for me. Jeg elsker jer! ♡
Phew, that got a little emotional..
I guess what I'm trying to say with this is that it gets better, but it's your choice to take the first step towards getting better. People can hand you all the tools in the world to fix everything, but if you don't want to pick up and utilize those tools, you can't move forward. You have to be willing to take a chance. What do you really have to lose? My thoughts when I stepped into that doctor's office were "Fuck, this is terrifying what do I do aaarghhhhhhfsgkll!?!?!?!" but after that "Well, I don't have anything to lose. Cause this sure as shit can't get any worse."
One year later it feels like that "me", the really sick and tired and exhausted me, existed centuries ago. Sometimes I even feel like it wasn't really me at all, but someone who took over my life for a while and then gave it back to me, ruined. Now that I'm back on the other side.. I feel relief. I'm content for the first time since... I think since I was 9 years old. Isn't that incredible? I've gone through so many childhood memories and issues that I created in my head. I've worked through it all and all I can really think about it now is "You silly, little girl." I guess the danger of being in your own head is that you tend to not express your feelings until they really boil over. And I still have to work on that. I have awful mood swings, my impatience is numbing and my intolerance is.. ridiculous, lol. But I'm working on that. I'm dealing with it because bottling shit up isn't worth it.
When people say "Ugh, I'm so depressed today" all I have to say to that is "Oh, only today? Aren't you the luckiest of all!" because when you patronize and make little of someone's illness like that, it makes people feel like utter shit. Stop acting like depression or anxiety is some sort of "fashionable" defect, cause it fucking isn't. It's crippling! It's not something to be glorified as if it's some rare, vintage record. People with depression don't need your half-assed attempt at advice. They don't need "Oh, cheer up!" or "Why can't you just smile more?". I's a clear rejection of an illness that people cannot help.
Would you kick someone with a broken leg over the shin and go "Just get up and walk on it, will ya'?!" because guess the fuck what, YOU CAN'T. No one expects someone with the flu and a fever or a broken leg to run a marathon, because that illness is physically there. They can measure it with a thermometer or document it with an x-ray. You can't do that with depression. Mine was only taken so seriously by my acquaintances because I lost so much weight that I started looking.. well... fucking terrible. They could TELL, physically, that I was not well. And that made it easier for them to relate to - therefore it was fine. But before I lost all the weight, before I turned deadly pale and before my hands were all shaky and weird from the anxiety.. who would send me texts and Facebook messages like these "Dude, why are you skipping class? You need to know this!", "Seriously.. You skipping again?", "Dude just come by for ONE hour, seriously", "Let me guess, you're not coming?"? - they would. And those snarky-ass comments? You can SHOVE THEM.
I didn't need them. Nobody needs them and even if I was skipping class because I was lazy - guess what? It ain't your damn business. You are in no position to judge. Just because I don't live my life according to your reality it does NOT give you the right to judge me or my existence at all. I was in pain, I was suffocating and you were kicking dirt in my face because at least you went to class? Well what a fucking accomplishment. You will definitely go places in this world. My god.. because of people like you, my mom had to tell me SO MANY TIMES (and still to this day she tells me this often): "You would not go to class if you had a fever, you would not run a marathon with a broken leg and you would not force yourself to play tennis with a broken arm. So stop forcing yourself to do things that you're not comfortable with or capable of, just because you cannot "see" your own illness. It's there. It's legit and it's okay. Stop pushing yourself!"
My mom is an incredible woman (and my dad an incredible man!), okay. Just saying. Anyway, speaking of the flu and a fever.... I actually have the flu, lol. I've been feverish and red-cheeked all weekend and I was having a crazy hot-flash at the doctor's today. Luckily no pneumonia is on the way, so it's just a matter of relaxing and getting sufficient rest. The joint pain is the worst, tho. My god, it kills! I'm taking the next two days off from uni to focus on recovering.. Hopefully I can get back into working out, eating clean and going back to class next week. And after that.. maybe youtube videos? ; D hue hue hue. We'll see. I really wanna start making them again! I miss editing.
I'm sorry if this entry didn't make much sense. I randomly felt like spilling this word-vomit all over the internet and if there are any odd sentences - blame my fever-burnt brain ok. lol. It's taken me two days to convince myself that staying home from uni tomorrow is okay. -sigh- I'm a very restless person, okay? So sitting still, relaxing and doing "nothing" is literally torture for me. I can sit still for a bit.. but if my brain has nothing to do, I get crazy restless and antsy. It drives me crazy. It usually drives me into doing dishes, laundry, cleaning and sorting through my things just to have something physical to do. Sadly this leads to my flu getting worse and lasting for much longer. My colds can last up to 3 weeks because of this!
But for the first time since.. well, Buddha knows when, I'm allowing myself to take some time off from school to actually recover 100%. So yay me!
Also, did you guys know that the reason, your joints and muscles hurt so bad during the flu, is because the white blood cells, who usually repair and rebuild your muscles and joints on a daily basis, are redirected to fight off the infection? So they're neglecting their muscle- and joint repair in order to fight off the nasty flu. The body then raises its temperature in order to hopefully purge out the infection! HOW COOL IS THAT? Knowledge, you guys. Knowledge.
My god, my head's about to explode. Let's call it a night, shall we? Hopefully an ibuprofen or two before bed will kill the worst of the joint pains and actually let me sleep tonight >__< phuu~
When I feel better, I will get to back to blogging.
I HAVE MISSED YOU ALL SO MUCH