Living with the heartbreak of Anxiety and Depression

you know what I hate almost as much as I hate cancer? (and you all KNOW how much I hate cancer)Навес из дерева своими руками

Depression, Anxiety

I fucking hate anxiety and depression. (yeah, its gonna be that kind of post. I’m gonna cuss, if that bothers you…cover your eyes now)

I’ve had far too much in my life. I’ve experienced both myself and I have stood by and watched people I love be tortured by one or the other or both. Either way its a helpless feeling. Whether you’re in the pit yourself or sharing the foxhole…IT SUCKS!

I’ve lost relationships to it. I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost time. Time that I could have been enjoying and can’t get back. What I regret MOST is the time in which I was depressed and did not enjoy my children. That was probably my darkest time.

I was on anxiety meds for years and struggled with depression off and on. I haven’t been on anything for about a year now and the level of anxiety I deal with is minimal compared to before.

It is still there. It is never all the way gone. It stands off to the side waiting. Some days its like a toddler that wants something…wants my attention…wants me. I’ve gotten ridiculously good at noticing it for what it is and politely (some days not so politely) declining its invitation. I know its tricks and I know it stands right on the edge of depression, its seductive friend.

I didn’t always know I had a choice. I did not always SEE it for what it IS…something SEPARATE from myself. I thought it WAS me.  I was a victim to my moods and my mind and I often felt helpless and under attack. Now, even in times when I’m in the midst of something, that might have previously sent me into a downword spiral…I know I have a choice. I HAVE feelings…I am NOT my feelings.

I can do things to help ensure my anxiety does not take over. I may FEEL anxious, yes… but feeling it and LIVING in it, is quite different. WALLOWING in it, is a decision and sometimes, I won’t lie…like any parent whose ever gotten tired and given in to a toddler…I choose to just give in…but never for long.

Some things that have helped me immensely –

AWARENESS: This is THE KEY! I said it above but let me SHOUT IT!!

YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS or FEELINGS!!!

Yes, they are your thoughts and feelings, however they do not define you, you do not have to accept them. You CAN  change them and you certainly do NOT have to live your life victim to them.

Action: …of any sort, you may not feel like doing something when you are already down, but if you can… any little thing will give you something to feel good about. Build on those little victories.

Pride: In yourself for those little things. some days…that might be nothing more than praising yourself for getting out of bed when you would rather hide from the world or dwell in a dark place. Again BUILD on it. Today, get out of bed. Tomorrow, get out of bed and go for a walk or have lunch with a friend.

Reach out: I know you would rather disconnect. Many times that is a HUGE sign. Stay connected. It’s important. Tell someone close to you to check on you when you seem to have pulled away.

Meditate: Meditating has been a wonderful tool for me. It was not something I ever believed I would be able to “do”. Turns out its not about doing, its about being and when you are riddled with anxiety just being…can feel almost impossible, painful actually. I suggest starting with a guided meditation. It tosses that pesky voice in your head a bone to play with while you get down to the business of learning to find calm. There are a ton of free resources available on youtube/google.

Exercise: Anyone surprised I suggested this? Again, I know its hard to even consider this when you are in a dark pit and don’t feel like you have the energy for anything BUT…it truly makes a world of difference. It changes the chemicals in your brain and gives you more happy and more energy. There is a reason for the saying Just DO it! It does not need to look any certain way. Go on a walk, a jog, a hike, do some yoga, or hula hoop…just get moving!

two important things that I have done in the past, and would do again if none of the above is working for me –

See a Therapist: This may or not not be hard for you. Everyone has their own ideas about it, but talking to someone who is trained in what you are going through may end up giving you tools you never knew existed. You don’t have to continue going forever and its not a sign of weakness to need help. Its a sign of strength to be vulnerable enough to accept it.

Take something: If your therapist thinks it will help you, it is NOT a failure, YOU are not a failure if you need something to help you get out of a bad place. It IS hard (or was for me) to accept that you cannot do it on your own. Ask yourself if the quality of life for you and the ones you love is important enough to try it. You may not need med’s for forever, I was on them for a few years and am not now.  As you change, as your life changes, as you learn more about yourself and some coping mechanisms you may be able to navigate anxiety (and/or depression) without. Everyone is different and personally I am grateful for the advances which provide tools to help.

 

If you are watching someone you love struggle with these things, please be patient, be supportive but remember it is NOT something you can *fix*. I’ve been on both sides of the fence and I know how hard it is to watch. Just be supportive and understanding and remember to take care of you.  If you are lucky enough to have never suffered through anything like this yourself, it may be really hard to grasp but it is NOT something someone can just “SNAP out of” or “get a grip on”. Getting mad will only make things worse. While frustration is understandable, try to remember and communicate your frustration is with the situation and not AT the person. If possible attend a therapy session (if applicable), or pick up a book to try and help you understand what they are going through.

In love,

Hope

 

Hope Fato

Hope Fato is a Lifestyle Coach focusing on Health & Wellness. This Mom of 3 strives to help others receive the support they need in making positive changes in their health and in their life. Whether you are struggling physically, financially, or emotionally she is here to help you bring out your BEST inner self and help you achieve real results.

 

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15 Responses to Living with the heartbreak of Anxiety and Depression

  1. George says:

    As someone who has anxiety and depression, along with family members who also suffer, I cannot stress enough how important speaking out and getting help is. I also really love how you put emphasis on how asking for help or getting medicated does not mean you’re a failure. This is all great advice!

    • Hope says:

      Thanks for the comments, George!! I know personally how hard it is and how it CAN make you feel like a failure sometimes. Speaking out helps you and others realize you are not alone!

  2. karen mcconnell says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts in a way and language that I can understand and relate to. I have a fantastic teenage daughter that has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She was passing out at school from hyper ventilating and we had to put her on independant study. We tried prozac and it made everything worse. I am just trying to do as much research as possible to support her and reading this was very helpful. Keep writing and thank you.

    • Hope says:

      Karen, I am so glad it helped even in a small way. My teen daughter has also been struggling. I know HOW much it hurts a Mama’s heart to feel helpless. Keep researching and supporting and just being there. ((hugs)) I will try to write more on the subject soon.

  3. Good for you for having the courage to talk about something most people won’t. Unless people have been through it, as you say, they truly lack the skills to empathize and well meaning advice is often the opposite of what a person needs. Thank you for being real, in-depth, and reaching people on both side of this issue. xo

  4. Hope, very strong of you to talk about this subject.

    It is so hard for someone to get their head around this topic and help a loved one. I use to sell medications that helped anxiety and depression and schizophrenia and just as you said just as you said, “it is NOT something someone can just “SNAP out of” or “get a grip on”.” People suffering these aliments need help, understanding and support from those close to them. And those close to them also need help, understanding and support.

    You are helping so many people by sharing! – T

  5. Charlene says:

    Your word are real, true, raw and touching. I, like so many others have struggled with anxiety and depression and ALL of the tools and resources you mention we’re helpful in some way to me. Connecting with people, exercise and awareness are so critical. Thank you.

    • Hope says:

      You are welcome, sister! Though I know ALL of these things, I still need the reminder for myself every now and again and I hope others will benefit.
      ((hugs))
      Hope

  6. Ruby Uhart says:

    Thank you for being real. 🙂 <3 Very helpful post 🙂

  7. Brianna Nash says:

    This is pretty touching. I know people that battle with depression and anxiety and rely on medication. It’s so sad because there are alternatives out there to help lessen the feelings.

    • Hope says:

      Far too many people struggle with this, and sadly many do it in secret and alone. I would rather not be on meds but a HUGE advocate for taking them to help get your quality of life back if nothing else seems to be working. Sometimes you need help to get ahead of the curve 🙂

  8. Tiana says:

    Hope thank you for sharing your honest thoughts and journey. I myself have always struggled with anxiety. What has got me through it is #1 prayer and bible study to focus on what’s truly important and that God created me and loves me. Then also reading anxiety books with useful tools of self talk like positivity and empowerment. Also I find eating healthy, clean and exercising daily help keep the toxins moving and out of my body which helps me literally think and feel better. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Hope says:

      I am 100% sure I would be on med’s still if it were not for exercising regularly. I agree that a combo of activity and a healthy diet is KEY!
      I think prayer is VERY helpful, for me meditation is the same thing, though I realize not everyone feels comfortable with one or the other (or either). I have also found repetitive things help, like crocheting 🙂

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