I’ve written several times before about my own personal struggles with depression and anxiety and tried to shed insight into some of the myths about these diseases that are still alive and kicking. One of the worst offenders, in my opinion, is the “Just change your situation/ get rid of whatever’s upsetting you and you’ll be just fine”.
In many ways my life right now is the best it’s ever been. I’ve been married 10 years to an amazing man. I work for a great company and I have a job I enjoy and that challenges me every day. I have hobbies. I have friends. I have my niece and nephew who I adore. Life is good.
Yet in spite of all that, a week ago I had the first panic attack I’ve had in ages. It scared the living crap out of me and I immediately got on the phone with my doctor. But once I started really thinking about it, there were signs for several months that the insidious fog of mental illness was starting to creep back into my life. Those old voices in my head telling me I’m not good enough. The utter lack of motivation to do, well, anything. The inability to concentrate. The ability to sleep for 14 hours and still be sleepy. The feeling that, wherever I was, that I wasn’t as important as everyone else. And even worse, that everyone else could see I didn’t belong there too! Those old feelings and routines crept back in so slowly I didn’t even notice them.
For the most part I’ve been able to hold it together when I’m out and about. I have moments and entire days where I still feel pretty good. I felt great all day when I was at the Minnesota Blogger Conference, but in spite of that I almost skipped the after party. I was very tired, but I was also scared. Scared I wouldn’t fit in. Scared no one would want to talk to me. Scared I wouldn’t be good enough. But, my dear husband talked me off the ledge and I had a great time once I got some liquid relaxation (aka wine) in me.
To be clear, my mental health is not great right now, but it’s not dire either. I am not suicidal. I am still light years ahead of where I’ve been. I am (mostly) confident that with help from medical professionals I will get through this rough patch and back to (mostly) mentally healthy again soon so can continue to fully enjoy my (mostly) really great life that I wouldn’t change for anything.