I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.Maya Angelou
In May, I started this blog, hot and heavy. I was in the long process of telling my story and things just…stopped. I couldn’t write anymore. Honestly, the things that I was writing about were painful and hard to dredge up. I thought I was ready, and I am ready to share my story, but maybe not so fast and not in so much detail, just yet. I talked to my therapist and she agreed that it would be best to discontinue the blog for a period of time.
I went through quite a lot with my mental health, and my anxiety in particular, in the time between the end of May (when I published the last post) and the beginning of October, when I decided to put all of those old posts on private and work on moving forward.
The past is important to the path forward
Alas, where I’m coming from is important and it is imperative to what I am trying to do that I try to explain myself, to some extent. My childhood was not easy. To hear my parents tell the story, *I* was not easy. That line of thinking was harmful and tragic for me.
I had my first panic attack at 15 and my first “anxiety fugue” (that is not a technical term…I just made it up, on the spot) and was medicated for the first time at 17, triggered by a traumatic miscarriage. By the time I was 21, I had barely made it through my first serious depression, in which I was introduced to the part of my brain that produces intrusive thoughts. I explain intrusive thoughts in a bit more detail, here, but my first experiences were frightening. My sickened brain would tell me to drive into walls or hurt myself in other ways. I got on depression medication for the first (of so many) time and I survived.
By my mid-20s, I found myself in the worst depressive state of my life. Some days unable to get out of bed or shower and brush my teeth. I was always sad to the core of my soul and I had no idea why. People don’t often understand what it is to live in emotional and mental anguish almost all of the time…to have to live in society, work, and be a productive and functioning human being.
I was lucky then because I had people in my life that cushioned me when I fell. They were loving and understanding and accepting and there is no doubt that I would not have survived myself during that time had it not been for my amazing and beautiful web of family and friends. But, somehow, I did survive.
For the next several years, I lived a fairly normal life. I even got married and had a tiny human of my own. I stepped in and out of my illnesses, during that time. Sometimes I could see it, other times I could not. Another miscarriage, before I had my daughter, sent me reeling. Dealing with that was sad and lonely and it was the first time I had seen a form of my depression that would become familiar over the years…I still looked, acted, and functioned normally, but I could not do anything outside of my absolute responsibilities.
I sat on the couch for hours each day and watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Every season. And then I watched all of Angel. It was not the first time that the cast of Buffy has been my comfort blanket during a crushing depression, so big shout out to those guys. Anyway, it was bad. My relationship suffered, but I couldn’t bring myself to just tell him that I was dying inside. It felt too big, too scary. Surely he would run for the hills. Yet somehow, in silence, I survived again.
And then she broke
In my early 30s, my life was shaken to it’s very core. It is not something that I am ready to fully talk about, but it rocked me. It made me question everything. Everything that I believed. Everything that I loved. It was the kind of trauma I had never been through and, if I’m being completely honest, my brain broke.
Yet again, I looked and sounded normal. I acted normal. I took care of my child and I, somehow, went to work every day. On the inside, though, I was shattered. It was the first time that I disassociated and it lasted for 2 full weeks. It was not the last time that intense emotional pressure would lead me there, but never for as long. I was a broken woman.
The trauma in my life led to broken relationships. I lost friendships. There are family ties that are forever frayed; they’ll never be fixed. I was stuck there. For years. In need of help, but not knowing what to ask for or who to ask…drowning in my own trauma and unable to move forward. Some people couldn’t be patient with me and that is okay. But I had to let them go.
So, for the last seven years I have been grappling with this illness that, quite literally, took me over for a while. I lost myself completely in that time. I cannot stress enough the totality of my erasure. I absolutely did not know how to move forward, but I knew that being stuck in that was not on option. I started having intrusive thoughts about hurting myself again and my doctor was finally able to find a medication to treat my treatment resistant depression.
Once I was back on my feet, I took a step forward and then another. Every day, I started searching myself. Who do I want to be and how do I become her? Where do I want to be and how do I get there? Every day, another step toward not just existing, but actually living this life.
My story: The path to recovery
That brings us here, to an official diagnosis and a path to recovery that I never even believed existed. The anger that I feel for all of the injustices and unfairness in my life has led me here. Telling my story. Hoping that I help someone else. I still only exist, but I exist with hope and with passion. With a lot of hard work and a lot of tears and a lot of determination, I’m going to walk this path and I’m going to start living my life. And I’m going to tell you about it along the way, if you don’t mind.
Love and light and fight the good fight!💜☮
Writing about living with ADHD and mental illness and my journey down a thriving path forward. Breaking stigmas and creating community, one post at a time.