Thursday, January 30, 2014

Coping with my major depressive episode

For those that don't know me well or those I've lost regular contact with, it's important that I preface all future blog posts with the following information:

Starting right after the 2013 holiday season, I began to suffer through what I consider to be a nervous breakdown/major depressive episode. The best way for me to describe what I went through and continue to go through is to compare it to having the rug physically taken out from under you. My breakdown is basically that, but more all-encompassing - a constant wave of shame, fear, guilt, anguish and vulnerability.

Some good has come from this. I plan to discuss that in future posts. But since December 27th, 2013, I have been out of the house rarely, except for a few grocery store visits or rides to pick up takeout meals. Most of those short excursions have been with my partner in crime and in life, my Michael. He has been my caretaker, my therapy and my complete support. I am eternally grateful to him for all that he has done to prove that he is here for me in sickness and in health.

Aside from Mike and my parents (and random folks I see in grocery stores and restaurants), I have not seen anyone except for medical professionals and my neighbors in passing. It's a vicious cycle because I know that being around others will make me feel better, yet I am scared to be around people - my mind automatically flashes to Fat Bastard in the "Austin Powers" movies when he states that, "I eat because I am unhappy, and I am unhappy because I eat." I am thankful that I have some shreds of humor left in my system through all of this.

The good news is I think I am slowly getting better. I am using a series of different tools to help me through this, but the bad news is there's no quick fix or easy cure. Generalized anxiety, panic attacks, depression and OCD symptoms are something I've always dealt with on and off throughout my life. This episode is merely a culmination of the lack of care I provided myself with when things were bearable. My mind and body are tired of pretending everything is OK.

I am tired of lying to people about this major part of who I am and the life I live. From this point forward, it's almost as if I have to re-learn how to do so many of the things that used to be second nature. It's daunting - I have plenty of crying fits, panic attacks, mornings where I don't want to wake up and so on. But weirdly enough, it's brought a lot of good things to the forefront. For that, I am and will continue to be thankful. There are so many blogs and stories out in the internet universe from anxiety/depression survivors that focus on the negative and I think that focusing on the bad hasn't been doing me any good. So even on the bad days, I'll make a point of it to look at the positive effects of this fragile time in my life.