So, when I was first getting treatment for my anxiety and depression, I was pretty vocal on Facebook about it. The symptoms. The treatment. My abusive ex Mandie. All the things that lead up to me being where I was at that point. And then I started taking the meds. I had intended on giving an update every few weeks; map out my progress. Give myself a way to look back at how far I’d come, while giving others an insight into what it’s like; whether they suffer from similar experiences or just want a better understanding.
That didn’t happen. For the longest time, nothing really changed. I went from regular euphoria (which was really hard coming down from) from the new meds kicking in, to leveling off to just finally feeling “normal”. Like, not every little thing being life or death. Not having my chest start pounding when I’m just lying in bed watching TV. Not having tremors shake my hand when I try to eat or scoop out coffee in the morning.
Nothing. Just…living like anyone else.
So I said, great. I got lucky. I found a pill that works. I’m cured, and yeah, eventually we’ll ween me off, but things are great. I had succeeded at losing 80 pounds. I finished school. Things were going alright.
Here we are. I don’t know where I’m at time-wise; I’ve honestly lost track, but I feel like it’s been about a year. The pills aren’t working as well. I’ve gone from 152.5 pounds to 170. I’m doing ok freelancing, but I’m still not where I’m trying to hit. My book still isn’t finished.
The feeling of failure in so many aspects can be crippling. And what’s even crazier is it’s not even “failure”; I haven’t lost anything in this process. But I’m perceiving it that way. And that’s where I feel even more nuts, and that’s how I know the meds aren’t doing their thang anymore.
I’m finding my symptoms getting triggered easier. The feeling of breaking down and crying when I get too stressed is starting to creep back. Getting swamped with work can send my chest pounding. Too much loud, exciting noise sets me off.
We had company, and there was loud talking. And then a phone call being made. And it was put on speaker. And the dishwasher running. And the TV on loud over all of it. And I just had to go. I shut myself away. And I hated myself for it. I knew I was coming off antisocial. I knew it was going to be met with mutterings of “what’s his deal?” But I couldn’t help it.
I’ve read and heard that over time, your initial set of medicine stops working. I’m seeing my doc again on the 12th, and hopefully he either bumps up my dosage (I’m only taking 50 mg, which is nothing) or get me on something else.
It’s just hard to not beat yourself up. It’s hard to think you were on the road to recovery, and then find yourself still just as broken. It’s tough the feel scared that you’re going to let yourself get out of control and balloon back up to 230 pounds. It’s tough feeling like you can’t get out of your own head or out of your own way.
My friends will tell me what a great time they just had with their significant other, and rather than me being happy for them and grateful that they have a good relationship, it makes me tailspin. It makes me feel lonely; unloved; hopeless. It keeps me from being the friend I should be, and then again, the feeling of failure. The feeling of I should be better. I should be a better friend. A better son, a better brother. And that wears on you.
So if you don’t know what it’s like, if you are lucky enough to not have these demons, it’s a daily struggle for us. We hate coming forward because mental health is still only mentioned in hushes and whispers and by quirky, insane characters on TV and movies. You don’t know what it’s like to doubt every thought and action, or to hear the words coming out of your mouth and desperately trying to make yourself shut up because of how stupid you sound.
Anxiety is more than just being nervous. It’s more than just being the meek kid in class. It’s literally your Fight or Flight being left on. It’s having that mechanism having a brick being placed on the gas pedal. It’s melting down over every little thing, and feeling the weight of the world. It’s literally crying over spilt milk.
People with anxiety don’t have it for the attention. No one wants to live this way. And we put ourselves through enough punishment and scrutiny and self-deprecation that we don’t need it from anyone else. What we need is patience. What we need is understanding. What we need is to not be treated like a freak, because we already feel that way.
I know a few people struggling with this themselves. They’re scared to get help, because they hate the stigma. Or they hate the feeling of being weak. These are your friends, your family, your coworkers. We need your support. We need to know it’s going to be ok, and that getting help isn’t a sign of weakness. We need to understand things change. Meds change. Symptoms might even change. But that doesn’t mean we’ve failed. So even if you see us, and we’ve managed to put on a smile that day, genuine or otherwise, give us a hug. We need it.