On my worst days, Brian would scoop me up and hold me close to his chest. He would rub my hair and kiss my forehead. He'd wipe away my tears and tell me everything was going to be okay. Then we'd sit together in silence that was occasionally broken by sniffles or my broken breathing patterns. Sometimes, when my panic attacks are particularly bad, I find that I'll forget to breathe which will leave me choking and dizzy. Brian would eventually ask if I'd like to go into the living room to hang out with our roommates or if I'd like to play with Gatsby or if I'd like to go for a walk to take pictures. I could never respond with anything aside from "I don't know, I can't move". There is nothing worse than they way my body feels right after an attack. It feels like I've run a marathon while wearing a lead suit. After awhile, Brian has to get back to his life so he kisses me on the cheek and tells me "If you need anything I'll be in the living room. You should try to come out if you can." I honestly consider it, but decide to sleep instead.
I've become so use to this feeling of sadness and anxiety. It started mildly at first but as I got older turned into this monster that I couldn't stop. I went to doctor after doctor and was put of medications with doses so high that I became an emotionless shell of myself. At one point I became rebellious and tried to medicate myself with drinking and other risky behaviors. I would push my depression and anxiety into the back of my head and wouldn't talk about it to anyone. This would backfire on me when I would be alone and everything came spilling out, creating a flood I would drown in.
I've been dealing with these illnesses for about 11 years now and the past couple of months have been really tough for me. Although everything in my life has been going wonderful, I have been unexplainably sad and my anxiety has been at an all time high. I began to crumble into myself. I would only go where I felt 100% safe and where I knew people wouldn't ask me over and over again if I was ok. I didn't want anyone to know how I was feeling because I was ashamed but the more I pulled back, the more questions were asked.
"Why are you not coming out tonight?"
"Why don't you come over to my house instead of just staying home?"
"You never come out anymore, what is up with you?"
I couldn't find the right way to simply say
"I'm sorry I can't stop crying today, I can't get out of bed." or
I just want to go somewhere familiar."
This is why this I'm coming out with this post. I'm not ashamed anymore. I've finally been getting the help I need and while it's a slow process I can see some small results. I'm starting to learn how to control my anxiety and keep moving, even if I'm down. I hope that this post can make someone who also suffers from anxiety and depression feel as if they're not alone. You're not, which is sometimes important to hear. Don't be afraid of yourself anymore. While we're fighting an illness it does not make us less of a person than anyone else. It has taken me about 11 years to come to that conclusion and I hope others can realize this too.
My doctor likes to remind me time and time again that we are not defined by our symptoms. I needed to be told that because I can't remember the last time I didn't start with "anxious"or "nervous" when describing myself. I sincerely hope, from the bottom of my heart, that if you suffer from anxiety and depression that you get the chance to truly love yourself. I'm slowly getting to do it and it's divine. You'll find you'll be able to love others around you so much more when you're not carrying your world on your shoulders.
At this point you might be wondering what the photo above all of the text has to do with anything. The photo is inspired by a poem I came across on tumblr called "How to Love Your Depressed Lover" By Donna-Marie Riley
Brian has been there for me throughout all of this madness in my head. He does all that he can to let me know that I'm not alone. I'd feel guilty many times because I could see him trying to fix a problem that he simply could not. He would try anything to make me better when the only person who could fix that was me. Since we live together, he would see the hardest part of my illness. The part where I am safe at home and just crumbled.
Brian, I love and appreciate everything you have done for me these past few months. You are a wonderful man.
How to Love Your Depressed Lover
Last night I thought I kissed
Last night I thought I kissed
the loneliness from out your belly button.
I thought I did, but later you sat up,
all bones and restless hands, and told me
there is a knot in your body that I cannot undo.
I never know what to say to these things.
“It’s okay.” “Come back to bed.”
“Please don’t go away again.”
Sometimes you are gone for days at a time
and it is all I can do not to call the police,
file a missing person’s report, even though
you are right there, still sleeping next to me
in bed. But your eyes are like an empty house
in winter: lights left on to scare away intruders.
Except in this case I am the intruder and you
are already locked up so tight that no one
could possibly jimmy their way in.
Last night I thought I gave you a reason
not to be so sad when I held your body like
a high note and we both trembled from the effort.
Some people, though, are sad against all reason,
all sensibility, all love. I know better now.
I know what to say to the things you admit to me
in the dark, all bones and restless hands.
“It’s okay.” “You can stay in bed.”
“Please come back to me again.”