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2019 New Year Fresh Outlook

2019 New Year Fresh Outlook Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

2019 New Year Fresh Outlook

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you all were able to come out on the other side of the holidays unscathed. For a moment I didn’t think I’d make it through my mini mental breakdown. Don’t get me wrong, while I look forward to Christmas, at the same time I can’t wait for it to be over. The last couple of weeks were so awful I gave up any pretenses at appearing happy. Since I was practically in a vegetative state from binge-watching Netflix I toyed with the idea of becoming a professional procrastinator.

2019 New Year Fresh Outlook image description is in the body of the post.
Stones, Balance, Harmony

While it is not my intent to bring anyone down I wanted to share my experience and end on a positive note:

  1. Depression lies and tempts me into believing I’m worthless, my life doesn’t matter, and possibilities die.
  2. Fuzzy thinking clouds clarity, I lose focus and magnify unimportant elements in my life.
  3. Guilt as a by-product of my depression would have me think I MUST be… (fill in the blank).
  4. Anxiety causes me to be in a constant state of high alert and triggers panic attacks.
  5. Comparisons, as well as unrealistic expectations, are fruitless efforts and thieves of joy.
  6. Self-preservation is key and during these moments I must have solitude.
  7. Listening to my body by disconnecting, resting, and being brutally honest is healing. This recent episode actually called for an impromptu hiatus away from all social media, my computer and cell phone.
  8. Time really isn’t the enemy and I took all the time I needed to regroup and restore a fresh outlook.
  9. Change, like time, I cannot control and it’s the one thing in life that is and will remain constant. I will continue to adapt and move onward.
  10. It’s okay to not have all the answers, I’m only human.

Being Human Can Suck Sometimes

We humans are such complex creatures aren’t we? At times I look at Mollie, my dog, and kinda envy her because she only requires love, food, and water. She doesn’t have to get a job, care for an aging parent, grandchild, or worry about what to post on her website. Oh wait, she doesn’t have a website cause she’s a dog, DUH!

As a proud INTJ, I admit at many times I’ve lived to work. When I’m attached to a computer my life is full. Combine my love for work with my passion for advocacy, and the two can become a lethal combination. To some degree, the increased urgency brought about by getting older and moving closer to my expiration date causes more anxiety. Even though I realize I have no control over my life expectancy I’d like to leave my imprint on the world.

I constantly worry that I can’t keep up with the changing times but I’m dedicated to giving my all to the task. One of the my areas of focus in 2018 was simplicity and somehow it slipped from my grasp. The great thing about fresh starts is just that; I can begin anew.

Will my depression and anxiety go away? Probably not, I’ve lived with this all my life. I have periods where I lose direction and feel lost but I’ll continue to hopefully come out on the other side more enlightened.

2019 New Year Fresh Outlook Featured Image Description:

A green street sign that says “Time for change.” In the background is an outdoor clock.

Additional Image:

Stones, Balance and Harmony is a photo of three stones balanced atop one another with a skeleton key on top.

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Coping With Confidence Draining Chronic Illness

Coping With Confidence Draining Chronic Illness Featured image quote is in the body of the post. The quote is white text on a black background.

Coping With Confidence Draining Chronic Illness

“I am confident because I can admit who I am, what I’ve done, and love myself for who I’ve become.”

For close to 50 years I’ve lived with chronic depression. Being on medication for many of these years I don’t have a point of reference for what “normal” feels like. Yet “normal” is the one thing in life I’ve desired most.

One would think it would get easier living with a chronic illness for so long but it’s just different. I’ve only learned recently how to identify some of the triggers which send me into a downward spiral.

How It Feels

It [depression] begins with a feeling like something isn’t quite right but I can’t articulate what’s wrong. The more I try to figure out what’s causing my angst the more apprehensive I become. This pressure begins building in my chest making it almost impossible to do the simplest of daily tasks. Things like getting up, making the bed, taking a shower, heck, even breathing are difficult. I’m hyper-aware yet at the same time paralyzed.

I feel overwhelmingly exhausted and I’m experiencing panic attacks. Thinking to myself, ‘not again, I can’t do this, I can’t be feeling this way because I have so much to do.’ No amount of telling myself to ‘calm down, it’s only a panic attack’ helps. I can feel my heart rate increasing as my anxiety continues to grow.

Anxiety Takes Hold

There are so many thoughts like rapid fire running through my head. Unfortunately, it’s the feelings of self-loathing, guilt, helplessness, and hopelessness that threaten to take me over the edge. Oddly enough when it’s a beautiful day I feel worse. Something inside of me is telling me I should be energetic, I should soak up the sun and feel alive. But I don’t want to, yet at the same time, I do. I know it sounds crazy and I wish I could get out of my head but I’m so tired and so incredibly sad. What’s worse is remembering I’m a fighter but I feel so weak, so depleted.

I try to recall past struggles I’ve overcome but it’s just too much and I just want to stop thinking. No matter how many times I go through these episodes they scare me. I feel like I’m hanging by a strand and one more thing might cause it to break, cause me to break. It can last one day or five and I really don’t know what ends the cycle and I don’t care I just want it to lift. Coming out of it is almost as scary as being in the midst of it because it’s a tentative thing. I mean, what if it comes back? It’s important for me to take it slow to avoid getting sucked back into the vacuum that is depression.

The Way Back Home

Today I feel a little better but I’m still hesitant. Life is so fleeting. It’s miserable that something as despicable as depression can suck all the good out of me but it’s a process. I hold onto the hope that it won’t last forever and I’ll come out on the other side replenished. Life isn’t a fairytale and it isn’t the perfect pictures we post on social media.

When I was younger I thought my depression resulted from my childhood experiences but now I’m not so sure. The one thing I do know is it certainly wrecks havoc on the confidence I’ve so carefully honed. Or just maybe accepting depression as part of me makes me confident?

There is no shame in living with a chronic illness. The only shame, in fact, is believing we have to pretend we are okay when we’re hurting. Do I like being labeled as someone with depression? Not particularly, my depression is a part of me but not all of me.