Trigger Warning: this post may contain content that can trigger a shift in mood, comfort, or mental status. Proceed at your own risk.
I used to be a pretty passionate and vocal person. I would get angry at work whenever I thought people weren’t being treated fairly, weren’t taking situations seriously, or who flat-out denied that we needed things like replacement parts, spares, and that sort of thing. I spent a lot of time angry, and used that energy to fuel my creativity and help me stay focused when I was working on difficult things.
Then, in 2012-2013, things changed. Any efforts I put in at work were undercut by new management that was laughably unorganized and who cared about nothing but saving money. This wore me down, and after a while, I found I could no longer get angry. The only two emotions left to me were antipathy and anxiety. I cared about what was going on but emotionally, I was drained.
My lack of emotion was affecting my relationships with my family, too. Everyone but me saw that something was wrong but whenever they mentioned it, I was not willing to listen. They could see me turning inward and becoming less and less willing to talk about things. J suggested I go and see someone but I thought I was fine and didn’t need any help.
Things got steadily worse over the next few years until I broke down one night and said to J that I wished I would suffer from a massive heart attack and die so I didn’t have to deal with all the crap at work anymore. That set off alarm bells for her and she doubled her efforts to get me to accept some help, whether it was talking to a professional or using a self-help book. Again, I refused.
It was getting harder to get out of bed in the mornings, and things like showering and brushing my teeth felt like they took a monumental effort. My home and work relationships suffered, and my output at work steadily decreased until I was producing barely a trickle of what I used to. At home, I would eat, play computer games, and go to bed.
J, bless her heart, stood right beside me through all of this.
The first time I had a panic attack was in bed. My chest tightened up and it was hard to breathe. I was frightened but didn’t want to move or wake J up just in case my dreams had come true and I was having a heart attack. When it eventually faded I was disappointed that I was still there. Panic attacks quickly became more frequent and when each one ended, I was always exhausted and disappointed that I was still alive.
Eventually, my depression met and decided to hang out with my OCD and anxiety and things went downhill very quickly. I couldn’t sleep, was having constant panic attacks, and was starting to alarm my friends at work. J was still supporting me and I soaked many a t-shirt of hers with my tears and snot.
Finally – when I could no longer pretend that I was dealing with something I could handle myself – I asked J for help finding someone I could talk to. She pointed me to a directory of professionals in the area and that’s where I found Dr C listed. Our first several appointments were difficult but I realized once I was there that I needed to be there.
Unfortunately, I’d waited too long. About two months later, the wheels fell completely off and I ended up in the hospital. Three months later, I was out, heavily medicated, and still hoping for that heart attack to finish me off.
My depression is still with me. Some days I just can’t get out of bed, or if I do, I return to it quickly. Other days I just can’t motivate myself to do anything, even if it’s something I enjoy. I’ll wander the house, looking at this or that, and saying, “nope, not interested” all day. The slightest bit of difficulty I have with a task totally derails my concentration and I can’t finish it. Sometimes I won’t shower for days. I have no appetite and must eat by the clock. I also have no off switch for eating so I will eat everything in front of me until it’s gone. I have to set timers to remind me to take my medication because I have no concept of time.
Am I better than I was a year ago? Absolutely, but I still have a long way to go. Every day I wake up and feel like I can take on the world again is a treat, and I’m working hard to make more days like that.
If you’re feeling depressed or feeling like you don’t matter, please seek professional help. Don’t make my mistake and wait until the dam is already leaking before getting help!