It’s Always a Test

The difficult days are starting to out-number the good. Hence why it’s been two weeks since I’ve posted.

For some reason, even though I’ve started working out more consistently and I’ve actually been watching what I eat/drink…I’m in heightened amounts of pain without relief, and I’m only able to sleep about 2-3 hours (as confirmed by my fitbit) a night.

My anxiety has been off the charts, and I’m never able to fully relax. When I do actually fall asleep, I wake-up feeling very disoriented and my pain is so bad that the thought of getting out of bed is excruciating. I can tell immediately that while my mind may have slept for a little bit, my body did not. I feel the remnants of a night long battle that drudged through a brutally cold night; my jaw is almost trapped shut and my neck/shoulders can barely move.

I’m constantly trying to stretch the stress away. Constantly trying to think of new things to help…to find even 5 minutes of release.

I feel as though I’m one of those rubber-band balls. Doesn’t matter if you take 20 rubber-bands off…there’s still a hundred layers of tightly wound wraps, clinging tightly around me.

After a few weeks of this tiresome, worn-out record…the depression was able to creep back in. Today I just felt so far away. I was alone. I started ruminating on the fact that all I am is a disappointment. Thoughts that I don’t do enough for my family, that I am failing them, that I have never amounted to anything, are so absolute in my mind…they are truth.

How’d I get through the day? Mainly, I stayed busy…pre-occupied my mind with checklists and chores.

Anxiety See’s No Age

My daughter seemed to be having a difficult day, more-so than I. Oddly, when she’s struggling, my personal battles go right out the window and my full focus becomes her. I already see that she is an over-thinker (at 4 years old). She already starts to stress out, at times, about the probable domino affect that could possibly happen because of one minuscule thing. She starts to harp and stress-out on one tiny little thing and gets so worked up that you’d swear the world was coming to its demise in the next 5 minutes!

I become calm. Otherwise, all I’m going to do is feed the fire. I have to remain calm. I am down on my knees, eye-level with her…letting her know that I understand how she feels; reassuring her that it is okay and we’ll figure it out together. I’m showing her how to calmly breath, the tension in my face dissipates and my eyes are locked in on hers. Soon, her body starts to relax, the worry in her eyes disappears and she is regaining control.

What triggered this? …she was extremely over-tired. She still struggles with the new “rise and shine” routine of being woken-up at 6:30am. She had already complained that she didn’t get a nap because the baby’s were making so much noise (the little ones at daycare), and she had a situation with one of the other kids during the day that had left her upset and made her feel a little bit invisible. Needless to say, she had a rough day.

Common Ground

I’m reminded that all of us are constantly in one battle or another. Some days they don’t seem so problematic, because we’ve gotten the proper amount of sleep, we weren’t in pain, we didn’t have poisonous thoughts running through our minds…the stars had aligned! Some days, everything falls into place nicely…and some days they don’t. No matter what, I never want to be the cause for someone else’s bad day…no one should be afflicted just because I am.

…and if I’m able to shield or help one person, for one minute from pain or troubles, then all of my tribulations are worth it. While some days will be burdensome, and my battle might be apparent for all to see, I will always try to do better and I will do anything in my power to help ease someone else’s troubles.

There are Valley’s Low Enough

It’s been a while since my last post…let’s just say that life got crazy.

No matter what change you agree to, or how happy you are about it; it can be difficult. For me, I believe that the anticipation and stress gets amplified because of the anxiety. Somehow I manage to “pick up my feet” and get it all done, but I’m not too sure that’s a good thing.

What change did I bring on myself? Well, I had my Essure tubal ligation, started a new job and had to switch to an Android phone (having had an iPhone for 5 years). When you list them out, they seem pretty simple. However, each of these changes had huge emotional and physical impact on me, which seemed to be amplified because they were all happening at one time.

I’m not sure that I can explain the reasons why, without them sounding like excuses to so many people, and maybe to some degree they are (the jury is still out on this). However, I have definitely noticed a trend with the highs and lows in my life.

A Personal Hypothesis – Stages of Depression

It almost seems like depression comes in waves or stages, similar to the stages of grief.

The Calm Before the Storm: I’ll have calm waters where I feel great, healthy and positive for a few weeks, maybe even a few months. I get a feeling of hope, like “maybe I’m on my way to getting rid of this disease”!

Survival (Fight or Flight): Suddenly, out of nowhere a hurricane hits and it takes everything in me to survive a day at at time. It feels like everything is coming at me 90 mph from every direction; I can’t make out a singular thought. I’m struggling to get my head above the water.

Anger: I get angry at myself or worse, those around me. Chronic pain spikes, making exercise unbearable. I can’t concentrate and I am unable to communicate complete sentences…often times, incapable of remembering basic words (or even the alphabet). I get extremely irritable and things that don’t normally bother me, become the bane of my existence!

Numbness/Hibernation: I start to shut-down, turning off emotions, saying “no” to outings, projects, chores. Everything in my day become a series of un-emotional task lists. “Took my daughter to school?…check”. “Eat something…check”. I become a robot and the thoughts that my life will always be like this, start to become acceptable.

A New Hope: This one seems to vary for me, in each cycle.

  • Sometimes my daughter nudges me into this stage of healing. A certain smile, laugh, a question she has or even witnessing a moment where she has learned/experienced something new, will remind me of why I’m here.
  • Sometimes my stubbornness will pull me out of my “funk”.  As though I’m taking a stand against myself and refusing to go down without a fight. I finally regain my strength and move forward.
  • Sometimes it will be a church service, reminding me that God has a plan…and even though I can’t see it or understand it, there is purpose and hope.

What Causes the Stages?

I know stress does.

I’m also starting to believe that the shear volume of stimulus that humans receive on a daily basis puts us into overload. I think we push ourselves too far with expectations of income, material items, self-image. We require instant information at the push of a Google search. We want instant gratification/results, with little to no effort required from us. I think we are are experiencing brain exhaustion…and I plan to dig into this topic more and share my findings!

 

 

 

 

 

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