The Faces of Depression & Anxiety: We Are Not Alone

Faces 2

It is my gratitude and honor to include the beautiful faces of women I call friends, who also battle anxiety and/or depression. We are not alone. Please see below for their names and links to their social media sites.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I’m not alone when I say I’m struggling. I’ve been struggling and the day came to finally do something about it.

Anxiety has had a presence in my life since I was a young girl. Unfortunate circumstances and stressful times dealt me a hand of heavy responsibility and crowded emotions. We all have a story, one that’s left us helpless and scrambling. That story isn’t the focus of this, however relevant it may be, the damage is done, and time ticks on. Life carries on. And here we are.

There I am, a young adolescent, moving through the drudgery of life. As I look over my shoulder, I build a defense so the past never repeats itself. A wall sturdy and strong. While I calculate my plans and analyze those in them, I steer clear of any opportunity to feel pain, or hurt. I am being introduced to anxiety, although I won’t know it until my late 20s, it’s there from a young age, and grows as I grow.

Anxiety feeds me insecurities, and fear. It gives me sweaty palms, and a racing heart. It keeps sleep from me and wakes me with thoughts that don’t make sense, but they somehow do in the dark quiet of the night. It depletes relationships and group gatherings. It hinders my role as a wife and mother. And it takes from me my confidence, all that was left of it anyway.

Depression introduced itself to me as a young adult. I’m maneuvering through my 20s, feeling like the world is my oyster (if only I could manage this anxiety better). When my nerves get the best of me and my anxiety gouges me with fear, depression is there.

Depression, hovering over me like a fog. A fog that has the potential to develop into thick, dense, rain clouds. Showers pour over me without knowledge of why it is so dark. I search for light, and when I find it, the clouds eventually follow. This feeling is foreign, yet familiar. Reminds me of darker times as a child, I want to run from that feeling as fast as I can.

But it always catches up.

Depression feeds me anxiety and irrational thoughts. It engulfs me in overwhelm. It gives me sadness and loneliness. It keeps me isolated and unproductive. It takes me away from my family both physically and emotionally. It provides me a dark hole to hide away in. In pain and achy from stagnation. It places me in the dark, gives me back to the light, only to return again. And again. And again. To take me away.

I’m tired of leaving. I’m tired of missing out on life, because ‘I just can’t.’ I’m exhausted.

I see myself suppressing the anxiety and depression. Everyone else sees my smiling face. My mask I wear it so well. I see myself running on a hamster wheel, trying to keep going. Trying to keep my mind busy from the thoughts that attack me time and time again.Everyone else sees a woman who is accomplished and can do it all. The pressure is suffocating.

I see myself running the rat race and beating myself up when I fail. I see my abilities and potential flying out the window, landing on the opportunities that pass me by, because there’s just no way I could attempt anything more than I’m doing, which feels like absolutely nothing.

I see myself rationalizing the feelings, and dismissing them as if they’ll soon be gone with each passing circumstance. After I finish school I’ll be fine. After we move, I’ll feel better. After this, after that, everything will be ok. But it’s not.

And I’m not alone.

I finally hit bottom, sitting at the edge of my bed alone with my thoughts of failure as a mother and failure as a wife. I pick up the phone and call my doctor.

I walk into her office sweating, on the verge of tears.

I sit down with a racing heart and blood pressure so high, you’d think I had just taken 5 shots of espresso.

I sit in her gaze, crying, and asking for help as she compassionately asks me the hard questions.

She confirms that I am a therapist. “Yes, an intern,” I affirm. “Wow,” she replies. “You should feel so proud of yourself for taking this step,” as she writes my prescription.

I am proud. In this moment I am more of a helpless child, but proud I am. As long as it’s taken me to get here, it’s not because I think I am exempt. It’s not because I don’t think it can happen to me. It’s not because I am embarrassed. I needed to have a moment of clarity, a moment of realization that I can’t actually “handle” this, or “manage” this on my own.

It was an emotional bottom that no one sent me into. Not my kids, not my husband, not family or friends. It is no one’s fault. It was my depression and anxiety. They ganged up on me and attacked me all at once. And I thank them for that. If it weren’t for that bottom, I wouldn’t have made the gigantic step I did.

And I’m not alone.

I’ll never be alone in this struggle. I do not stand alone. I stand with a brave and courageous legion who fight for their lives every day by using therapeutic interventions and medicine. We stand (now) together to fight the stigma.

We are not alone.

Depression and anxiety does not discriminate. Every gender, every race, every size, and culture suffers from these debilitating disorders. And it’s ok. Because we aren’t alone, we have each other, to rid the shame and embarrassment from our minds, and the stigma from our society.

I am not ashamed. We are not ashamed. And you don’t have to be ashamed.

Because you are not alone.

*******************************************************************

Please find my courageous fellow writers’ and bloggers’ social media links below:

Alison Tedford at Sparkly Shoes and Sweat Drops

Bianca Jamotte LeRoux at Real Mommy Confessions

Jorrie Varney at Close to Classy

Christine Suhan at Feelings and Faith

Susanne Lewis Kerns at The Dusty Parachute

Mary Katherine at Mom Babble

Emily Krawczyk at The Laughing Lesbian

Kimberly Zapata at Sunshine Spoils Milk

Bonnie Guy at Unrestrained Laughter

Sara Farrell Baker at No Purple Walls

Ashford Evans at Biscuits and Crazy

Denise Scott Geelhart at Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy

Eran Suds at Good Mother Project

Kathryn Leehane at Foxy Wine Pocket

Jill Eitnier Silvius Dinos, Daydreams and Lollipops

Gina Marie at Stage Too

Alyce Kominetsky at One Word at a Time

Jenny Ball Tufford at The Happy Hausfrau

Shannon Parry Johnson at Joy in the Works

Jennifer Bly at The Deliberate Mom

Mary McLaurine at Sassy Lassie

Chelsea Nelson at Mommy Makes

Steena Hammer at The Angrivated Mom

Elizabeth Broadbent at Manic Pixie Dream Mama

Kristen Flerl Eleveld at The Plucky Procrastinator

Rachel Bledsoe at The Misfits of a Mountain Mama

Jessica McNeill Azar at Herd Management

Glynis Ratcliff at The Joy of Cooking (for Little Assholes)

Sam Wassel at Between the Monkey Bars

Kristi Rieger Campbell at Finding Ninee

 

 

4 thoughts on “The Faces of Depression & Anxiety: We Are Not Alone

  1. On A Writer Note says:

    This could be a diary entry for so many of us. My anxiety began as a young child and continued through into my 40’s complete with panic attacks that nearly drove me insane, followed by a depression that I only barely remember. During this time I was also going through a divorce, though not the reason for my emotions, but I had no life jacket and was Literally hanging onto my sanity by my fingernails. Of course it took its toll on my body, ravaged by weight Loss, headaches, shaky and sweaty hands, and constant fear of everything. Keeping it all a secret only made it worse.

    I finally saw a Psychiatrist who realized, like no one had before, despite years of therapy, that
    I had a chemical imbalance causing my flight/flight mechanism to be revved up so my adrenaline was pumping through me at an insane rate. He also suggested I had PTSD stemming form issues I’d suffered as a young, young child.
    He placed me on medication and within a week I felt like myself……yes, NOT a medicated zombie, but like I’d Imagined others to feel who seem happy and not afraid of everything constantly.

    I cannot stress this enough…..medication is not for those who just become a bit down, or a bit anxious in isolated situations. For those of us who have suffered for years with debilitating anxiety, or depression…..we know this is different. As I’ve said for years, you cannot OVERCOME anxiety or depression if your body has a chemical imbalance, despite how much exercise, Yoga, meditation you do. It simply will not work, though I do advise all the above for general health. You cannot overcome myopia by looking harder at the page…..you need glasses, right? You cannot overcome a thyroid disorder by wishing it away, you will need medication. The same is true for your mental health.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bee | Better than busy says:

    This is so similar to my own story and so beautifully written. You have a real talent.
    It was only recently that I realised I had spent decades building up walls to prevent pain, in learning to let them down I’m finding so much freedom. I resisted medication for so long because I thought I had to be “strong enough” to not need it, in fact I had to be “strong enough” to embrace who I am and accept my struggles with depression and anxiety.
    Thank you for sharing your story. You have a beautiful page.

    Like

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