“You’re not depressed, you just think you are…”

…said the well meaning person as they watched me take my antidepressants. “You seem absolutely fine”. Of course I do. I’ve been pretty well medicated for the past 5 months. I’ve spent hours talking to a therapist, learning different coping mechanisms and I have to actively work on seeming “absolutely fine”.

But I’m worried that I’m not fine. I’m worried that I haven’t actually made any progress at all and it’s only the medication keeping my depression and anxiety under control. It stresses me out that my prescription is coming to an end soon and I’m not sure if my script will be renewed as my Doctor doesn’t like extending scripts long term. I’m worried that all the little tips and tricks I’ve learnt to keep the anxiety at bay are simply band aids, and that I’m not actually managing my anxiety, I just think I am.

Perhaps the pandemic has helped my depression and anxiety more than I had realised. In the before times, I would go to work and then come home and deal with my kids while stressing about work. Now I go to work, come home and work out/study/have fun with the kids and don’t think about work at all. Every weekend is packed with activities, I’m having proper quality time with my family. I have filled my days with things that make me happy. My relationship with my daughters have improved so much and our home life is so calm and peaceful.

The question is, has the medication allowed me to get out of my own way so that I could finally apply all the things I learnt in therapy? Or is the progress only due to the medication. Obviously I’m hoping that the meds have helped me to make the initial changes and that by the time I start weaning off of them I already have the tools to cope. But that’s not something I can worry about now, for now all I can do is keep taking my meds and hope for the best.

Being nicer

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a nice person. Sure I can be nice, but I’m not a nice person. Apart from suffering from social anxiety, I’m also an introvert, and a very sarcastic person. This is not a good combination

My tactlessness has caused a great deal of discomfort to my family over the years, add the social anxiety on and you really have a problem! I’ve decided to work on being a nicer person in 2021. I have no idea how I will accomplish that but I’ve put it on my “to do list”. That fucking list is so long already, one more thing won’t really matter. Well, that wasn’t nice was it? I can see that I will have my work cut out for me!

Where do I want to be at the end of 2021

Happy. I just want to be happy. Not content or complacent, but happy with where I am in life and what I have achieved. I want to be proud of myself and my achievements. I struggle to be proud of myself, I find it hard to admit when I’ve done something well. I find it very easy to see faults and shortcomings. In 2021 I want to acknowledge my achievements and learn from my failures. I guess I want to more well rounded, I want my life to be more balanced and not feel like I’m on a tightrope all the time, scared to fail, scared to take chances.

I want to be brave. Take chances, take risks, face the outcomes whatever they may be. I want to pick myself up when I fall and carry on fighting. I want to be the hero of my own story, I’m tired of being the damsel in distress. I guess I want to be the protagonist for once, and not feel like a secondary character.

I want to be healthy, in my body and mind. It’s a lot to ask, considering that I’ve been struggling with my work-life balance for a very long time. 2021 is going to be the year that I let go of things that I have no control over. I cannot control the actions of others, only how I react to them.

Random moment of clarity

Sometimes your best isn’t just enough, it’s all there is. You have no more to give, there is no room for improvement. And that is a hard lesson to learn. Sometimes we are just ok, not spectacular, not the best. But that’s all you have to give, so you just have to deal with it and move on.

Goals and bucket lists

I’ve never been a good athlete. In fact, I’ve never really been an athlete at all. I struggle with motivation, so the thought of training for an event and then not doing well is something that terrifies me.

Last year I set out to run a half marathon before my 35th birthday . I don’t remember why I decided that I need to run 21km but I wrote it on my to do list. The training didn’t go very well, I struggled with injuries and staying motivated. But I did it, less than 2 weeks before my birthday I completed a 21 km race. I won’t lie and say I enjoyed it. I really didn’t. And I’ve only done 3 more since then so it’s still not my favorite thing in the whole world. But I did it. I set a goal for my self and I achieved it. I haven’t put anything else on my list, instead I’m working on improving my running times and distance. I’m hoping that by removing the set goal that I find it less stressful and it will help me to stay on track.

Bodies

A year ago, I would never have been able to type this post. I hated myself. Not the “inside me”, rather the “physical me”. My actual body. All the bits and pieces that allow me to exist. I don’t actually know when I started hating my body, I don’t remember disliking it when I was younger. I guess it kinda creeped up on me when I wasn’t paying attention.

I suppose I could trace the start of my dislike to when I first discovered social media. The pressure to always be perfect is not easy, but I don’t think that that is where the rot started. It more than just not liking how I look, I don’t like my organs, bones, vessels, skin… my actual body. If I’m truly honest with myself, I stopped trusting my body after my first miscarriage. I started hating my body after the second. It’s not an easy thing to admit. Up until that point, I had taken my body for granted. It just did it’s thing and carried on. And then it didn’t.

I wish that I could say that I had an easy answer, that I suddenly woke up and loved my body. But I don’t. I don’t hate my body anymore. I’ve accepted that the are certain limitations to my body. I can’t regulate my hormones so staying pregnant is hard, I have terrible skin and bruise super easily, I gain weight very quickly and struggle to lose it, I get debilitating migraines at the drop of a hat, I have anxiety and depression, and I’m allergic to cats. All of those thing are just part of my body, they aren’t the whole thing. I don’t have a long list of things that I like about my body, I guess the main one is that it keeps going even though it misbehaves sometimes. Hopefully I will have a super long list of positives someday soon. But today, just existing is enough.

I forgot

I’ve been doing really well since I stopped therapy and anti depressants. But today I forgot.

I’ve forgotten what anxiety attacks feel like. Either I’ve gotten really good at managing my anxiety, or I just haven’t been in a situation where I felt anxious. Today I spiraled. It was a small thing, I asked my husband a question and he didn’t answer. And I stressed and fretted about the non answer till I exploded into a mess of emotions and heart palpitations. Because obviously it’s my fault that he didn’t answer me. Logically I know it wasn’t my fault, he is a notoriously bad communicator. But I still stressed and freaked out.

It sounds stupid, but it was simply the last straw. There have been a lot of things completely out of my control the last few months and the pressure has finally got to me. None of the things are particularly stressful on their own, but combined they are doing my head in.

So I’m taking a step back tonight. I’m not available. Don’t ask me questions and don’t expect anything from me. I’ve forgotten that I’m not superhuman. I’m not a one-man-band. I can’t do everything on my own and I have to remember that I’m allowed to rely on others. If they let me down it’s not a reflection of my skills, it’s them. I’m not responsible for everything all the time. Especially not tonight. Tonight I’m only responsible for me.

Progress

I woke up the other day and I felt sad. No reason. Just sad. A few months ago that would have really worried me, I would have spent ages trying to pinpoint the source of my sadness. Instead I convinced my daughter to bring me coffee in bed and I carried on with my day. Sometimes progress is big, other times it’s coffee.

A random rant

This past year has been difficult. And it’s still difficult.

I’ve been trying for a few weeks now to find the words to write this post, then I realized that I don’t need to find the words. I don’t have to explain my thought, feelings, and experiences to anyone else cause they’re my thoughts, my feelings, and my experiences. I guess that my anxiety has made me so used to justifying my very existence that I can’t even allow my innermost thoughts to be my own. I have to curate them to be “perfect”. My blog posts can’t be too honest cause then people will know how messed up I actually am. Even my journal has been pretty heavily censored. All that stress and effort, just to create this impression that I’ve got all my ducks in a row. And for who? For people I don’t know and will never meet in real life? For myself? I know how messed up and confused I am, why am I hiding it?

And now that I’ve come to that groundbreaking realization, I actually have nothing to say.